Aiming to move away from the wrong end of the Championship table, Sunderland came to Molineux looking for a point and, playing with a massed defence, they achieved their aim after withstanding a late siege on their goal.
As expected, Ruben Neves returned from suspension in place of Alfred N’Diaye who was named as a substitute. Otherwise Nuno fielded the team that had won at Birmingham in midweek.
Sunderland kicked-off attacking the South Bank end but the home side were soon forcing their guests back and after Barry Douglas’s corner was only half cleared, Ivan Cavaleiro hit a shot from 20-yards out that struck Romain Saiss and was deflected wide.
There was another chance for Cavaleiro who fired wide from the edge of the box after the Black Cats rearguard had failed to clear.
As the game reached the 30 minute mark neither keeper had been forced into a significant save but then Wolves went close when a ball from Neves sent Diogo Jota away on a run into the Sunderland box. From an angle his left foot drive went across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Cavaleiro supplied the cross that gave Leo Bonatini the opportunity to take a crack at goal but although his shot was on target, it hit a defender and the danger was cleared.
Then a great ball from Neves saw Cavaleiro run in from the wing behind his marker. Keeper Robbin Ruiter left his line and although Cavaleiro just got to the ball first, his last ditch pull back went straight to a defender who cleared.
As the half drew to a close Neves was well wide with a shot from distance before a magical piece of play from Cavaleiro took him past two defenders as he ran along the by-line. He laid the ball into the path of Bonatini but the Brazilian sliced horribly wide from 18-yards.
Haf-Time: Wolves 0 Sunderland 0
Within two minutes of the resumption Wolves were awarded a free-kick in the ‘D’ after Lee Cattermole had felled Bonatini. Douglas’s free-kick struck the wall and ballooned behind for a corner that was also taken by the Scot, but cleared from a packed area.
The first booking of the game came in the 51st minute with Marc Wilson the guilty party after a late challenge on Jota.
Lewis Grabbon hit a low 25-yard drive that went straight to John Ruddy in a rare Sunderland attack, before the visitors were reduced to ten men.
Cattermole was yellow carded for a foul on Saiss in the 61st minute and within two minutes he was shown a second yellow and then a red after leaving Jota in a heap on the floor.
After Cattermole had departed to the dressing room, George Honeyman went into the book presumably for something he said in the aftermath of the red card.
Douglas became the first home player to see yellow after he had tripped Lynden Gooch on the far side in front of the travelling fans in the Steve Bull lower stand.
In between N’Diaye replacing Saiss and Helder Costa taking over from Douglas, Jota hit a low shot that was comfortably taken by Ruiter.
Neves was too high from distance twice in a two minute spell with Matt Doherty creating the chance on each occasion.
Ruiter made a flying save to keep out Neves’s powerful hooked shot and the pressure on the Sunderland goal increased as the game neared its conclusion with Willy Boly and Jota having shots blocked whilst Cavaleiro forced another full length save from Ruiter.
In stoppage the Dutch keeper watched the ball go wide as Cavaleiro tried again to find a way through in the five minutes of added time. But there was to be no late drama.
Wolves: Ruddy, Doherty, Douglas (Costa 75), Coady (capt), Boly, Bennett, Cavaleiro, Saiss (N’Diaye 68) , Bonatini, Neves, Jota.
Unused subs: Norris, Batth, Price, Enobakhare, Vinagre.
Booking: Douglas (65 – foul).
Sunderland: Ruiter, Cattermole, Grabban (Vaughan 84), O’Shea (capt), Browning, Matthews, Love (Galloway 80), Gibson, Honeyman, Gooch (Embleton 90+1), Wilson.
Unused subs: Steele, McGeady, Asoro, Beadling.
Bookings: Wilson (51 – foul), Cattermole (61 – foul), Honeyman (63 – dissent), Browning (80 – foul).
Sending-Off – Cattermole (62 – foul – second bookable offence).
Referee: J. Simpson.