Wolves never came close to showing the kind of quality they unfurled at Old Trafford – not remotely, but once again the determination, superb work-ethic and the organisation that epitomises this increasingly admirable outfit won the day.
Southampton departed no doubt frustrated that their performance merited some reward and certainly when they hit the woodwork so late on, they must have been cursing their luck. They are a decent team and we were indebted to the magnificent Jose Sa who bailed us out with a brilliant save shortly after the Jimenez penalty.
It takes something a touch special to beat Sa these days and James Ward -Prowse certainly delivered it! It’s easy to be magnanimous towards the opposition when you are basking in the satisfaction of victory; but this was something else.
I’ve been watching football on this ground for sixty plus seasons and this strike rates as one of the most superlative free-kicks that I have ever witnessed. It was beyond outrageous; a staggering piece of technique that briefly threatened to derail us as we appeared to be coasting to victory.
Soon afterwards there was an injury break; Jose Sa wandered a long distance from his goal and studiously peered at the white spray-mark left by the referee’s aerosol indicating the exact location of the ball before Ward-Prowse struck with such venom. Jose turned and looked at his goal-posts way back in the distance somewhere on the route towards Bushbury.
Like the rest of us, our keeper looked utterly bemused; absolutely incredulous that any player could launch a stationary ball past him from so far out with such awesome power and accuracy. No recrimination necessary; I’m glad I was sitting in the Stan Cullis seats to appreciate it; more in retrospect than at the time perhaps but truly, quite brilliant!
But all credit to Wolves; already missing the considerable influence of Romain Saiss to lose Ruben Neves late on was a body blow. He is in superb form and his absence sorely restricted us, but every credit to Toti Gomes who did everything that could reasonably have been expected of him.
Coady and the imperious Kilman may have helped Gomes with their coolness and composure but the young man didn’t have to lean on anybody’s shoulders. He made a fine contribution in his own right being steady and competent throughout never resorting to panic or to over-playing. He kept it simple and it was a very effective performance.
Bruno Lage astutely introduced the dual Fabio / Traore late substitution that had proved so effective in Manchester. They provided the drive and the energy boost that helped significantly to see us over the line.
The win was delightfully capped with the Traore goal. We were all muttering outrage when he blazed over a chance to settle the match so to see his composure after being cleverly released by Ait-Nouri was genuinely satisfying. I hope it isn’t his final goal for Wolves; he still generates excitement regardless of his many eccentricities.
A fabulous result; never at our best but a thoroughly committed professional approach deserving of reward. Great being a Wolves’ fan right now; nothing beats winning not even that free-kick but I won’t forget it in a hurry. What an excellent afternoon!
For the neutrals – a great game. For the purists - a fantastic Ward-Prowse free kick but for the rest of us another step in the right direction despite the lack of the latest Covid patient, Ruben Neves and a debut for the previously unknown Gomes who let no-one down.
Kilman was immense again as was the captain who deserved his goal.Up front all three caused problems and this was continued when Fabio Silva came off the bench to great effect.
All in all a great performance and result against one of the country’s form sides. Smiles all round.
At times it was a struggle to be honest. Our typical start on the back foot, at home, saw us defending a string of corners.
Sending our latest wonderkid from Portugal to Switzerland to acclimatise to our climate worked a treat.
The surprise selection of Gomes proved a pleasant one.
He slotted into our defence like it was part of a master plan.
There were quite a few surprises overall.
Southampton spent over an hour going through the motions. Long throws, petty fouls, slowing the game down and not looking particularly interested, or that threatening really. After a quiet start Wolves began to move the ball around smarter and quicker and create openings. Podence in particular looked lively along with Trincao but both played just a few too many tricks and flicks that failed to come off.
The referee was doing us no favours – he was certainly giving several decisions that he saw differently to me. He saw nothing wrong with a challenge on Ait-Nouri in the box but thankfully VAR came down on our side for once. A penalty, how rare was that. Despite Jimenez’s recent poor form he still knows how to score a penalty.
We were indebted to Sa though for it still being 1-0 at the interval after he made a fine save. On the hour it looked like we had put the game to bed. A clever free-kick from Ait-Nouri was deep enough to take their keeper out of the picture and a Kilman header was put away by Coady from his kind of range.
Instead of thinking we could relax though Southampton started to gamble, attacking and spending more time in our half. Sa and our three centre halves, all of whom could be MOTM, stood up to the added pressure.
Silva and Traore came on to put the icing on the cake. However that was delayed somewhat by as good a free-kick as you will ever see. An amazing strike from midfield that you can’t even blame the keeper for.
A slice of luck followed as a far post cross saw an unmarked Saints header thankfully hit the woodwork and stayed out.
Added time had Traore go from zero to hero inside a minute or two as he blasted a good chance over before placing the next opportunity neatly into the net. Finally. The noise level was not just for clinching the game, but for getting that monkey off his back. He has deserved his moment of celebration after so many disappointments in front of goal.
This was the sort of fixture that Wolves have often slipped up in previously, so it was good to get the win. Without Saiss and Neves, two key contributors recently, we could easily have come unstuck against a team who scored four in midweek.
Whoever helped get Gomes Premier League ready deserves a pat on the back. Sterner tests will come, but he slotted in seemlessly.
Well, this wasn’t a classic, by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m absolutely thrilled with both the performance and the result.
Time and time again, when expectation starts to increase following some good results, we manage to lose a game when most expect us to win. Southampton are a hard working team, and with many of our players unavailable, this was a real banana skin game.
Yes, we missed Neves who is in a tremendous run of form, but so many others stepped up and gave their all for the cause. We all thought we would miss Saiss too, but Bruno sprang a real surprise with Toti. He came from nowhere for his debut and put in a fine display. I hope we can see a lot more of him in the weeks ahead and make a mockery of the clamber for us to sign another central defender.
Kilman was immense. Never flustered in defence and willing to take the ball forward when the opportunity presents itself. He was unlucky not to score with his header coming back off the post. He gets my vote for Man of the Match.
Podence is also in great form. His tenacity causes havoc across the front line. A big shout out to Moutinho who is amazing me with his energy. He did more than fill the gap left by Neves.
Things can change quickly in football. All of a sudden it seems we have players on the bench who can come on and impact. Traore and Silva both managed to do this again.
Ait-Nouri had a great game. He’s exceeding expectations right now with his progress. Semedo is a class player. Probably better going forward, but I think his defensive game is improving all the time.
I have no words to adequately describe Coady, except to say I was delighted to see him score. What a leader he is. His celebration says it all. So does the fact that every team mate on the pitch made their way over to the North Bank to congratulate him.
What becomes very clear is that Bruno is improving all of this squad.
Jose Sa is a revelation. He is the reason we have won so many games from so few goals scored. He kept us ahead in this game when we were leading 2-1. You could see how much he was hurt by the Ward-Prowse free kick.
Southampton huffed and puffed, but I never felt any danger of losing the game. Even when they had corner after corner, they didn’t create any real danger.
Finally, it was good to see Traore get his goal, especially as he had missed an almost open goal moments before. I hope this is not our final memory of him. It looks like he will be moving on. I just hope he goes back to Barcelona and maybe not until the summer.
Wolves scoring three goals in consecutive games, it’s a madness! In all seriousness it was great to see us create more big chances and put some of them away.
Southampton were unlucky to be 1-0 down at half time, we defended well as a unit but going forward we weren’t anywhere near our best. We had some good moments but not enough of them.
The penalty was clear as day, I don’t see how the ref needed VAR to see that but it didn’t surprise me considering how poor he was. Raul doing his penalty tactic as per usual, so calm and it’s even easier when the keeper goes down early.
Jose Sa kept us in it at times, the save from Salisu after our goal was fantastic. I don’t see many weaknesses from Sa, it seems like he’s very good at most things.
We improved a lot in the second 45 and it felt like we were limiting Southampton a lot more to long-ranged shots. Getting the second goal was crucial, what a moment for Coady scoring his first league goal for Wolves at Molineux.
Just when you think you’re in control and everything is going well, James Ward-Prowse steps up to a free kick from 35 yards, knuckle balls it into the top corner and all of a sudden it’s panic stations for the next 10 minutes. In all fairness it was probably the best free kick I’ve ever seen live, the swerve was ridiculous.
Hearts were in mouths when Southampton hit the bar late on, then for Adama to fluff a huge chance didn’t make it any easier. Brilliant work from Fabio Silva for that chance though.
Finally Adama scored a goal in the end, calm and composed which are two words you don’t normally associate with him.
The defence were phenomenal again, Kilman absolutely has to be in the next England squad and a brilliant debut for Toti Gomes who I hope we keep for the remainder of the season. Ait Nouri and Semedo are playing at the top of their game currently and Podence is just doing whatever he wants on the football pitch.