Despite arguably edging proceedings for large parts at St Mary’s Stadium, Wolves suffered defeat to Southampton by three goals to one. Willy Boly’s fourth goal of the season came in vain on the South Coast as the Saints punished their visitors for not making chances count.
Wolves’ start was disastrous, as Nathan Redmond put Southampton ahead after just two minutes, but Nuno Espirito Santo’s side responded positively and once Boly powered home Joao Moutinho’s corner, they looked set to kick on.
However, it wasn’t the case as Redmond restored Southampton’s lead instantly when racing clean through, and Shane Long came off the bench to punish some uncharacteristic Wolves defending and seal the win, with the visitors unable to find a way back into the game.
Much like on their travels at Burnley a fortnight ago, Wolves made things hard for themselves by falling behind after a matter of minutes. Josh Sims was the creator wide right, cutting across goal for Redmond to fire into the roof of the net.
To their credit, Wolves responded quickly and Ruben Neves’ vicious effort was likely to have found the back of the net, had it not been for a Southampton deflection, before Leander Dendoncker rose highest to meet Moutinho’s free-kick but could only head wide.
Following the goal, Wolves were the better team and the front two were earning sightings of goal, with Raul Jimenez testing Angus Gunn with a low drive. The pressure was continuing to mount and once Matt Doherty’s dangerous cross was cleared, Wolves would finally be rewarded.
Moutinho’s corner was good, but Boly still plenty to do, however the Frenchman was up to the task, powering a header back where it came from to level things up.
However, for all their graft in drawing level, Wolves fell behind for a second game just a minute later. This time Danny Ings played the impressive through ball and Redmond was on hand again to clip over the onrushing Rui Patricio.
Sims should have made the visitors pay even further too, but curled wide after racing onto another Ings pass. The chances were coming at both ends of the pitch, with a real entertaining game unfolding, as Neves fired wide of Gunn’s near post not long before the break.
Half-time: Southampton 2 Wolves 1
The Wolves dominance continued after the break, but they were struggling to really test Gunn – Jota left frustrated at firing over the bar. Jonny was then denied by a deflection, before Adama Traore took the place of Doherty at right-wing back.
The visitors were asking all the questions at St Mary’s but were remaining deserted by their finishing, as two Saints defenders collided in the box, but Jimenez failed to profit from it, horribly slicing his powerful attempt out for a throw in.
Then came the sucker punch, as Wolves failed to clear a corner and Maya Yoshida’s overhead kick fell nicely to Long, who’d been played onside by Traore, allowing the Irishman to nick the ball through Patricio’s legs for three.
The third goal rocked Wolves, who were lucky to avoid conceding a fourth soon after. Another set piece caused all sorts of problems at the back, but fortunately Patricio spread himself big to deny Jannik Vestergaard from close range.
From there Wolves looked a beaten side and the introduction of Helder Costa late on in place of Jota did little to alter proceedings, as Nuno’s side left empty handed.
Full-time: Southampton 3 Wolves 1
Southampton: Gunn, Valery (Stephens 84), Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard, Bertrand, Hojbjerg Ward-Prowse, Sims (Romeu 61), Redmond, Ings (Long 61).
Unused subs: McCarthy, Targett, Armstrong, Austin.
Wolves: Patricio, Doherty (Traore), Saiss, Coady, Boly, Jonny, Neves (Gibbs-White 70), Dendoncker, Moutinho, Jota (Costa 87), Jimenez.
Unused subs: Ruddy, Bennett, Vinagre, Cavaleiro.