Walsall secured a famous victory to end neighbours Wolves’ unbeaten league start to the season at Molineux.
Captain Andy Butler scored the only goal in the 68th minute as Kenny Jackett’s lacklustre side were booed off by their own fans, who applauded the Saddlers for their deserved victory.
There was no denying Dean Smith’s side they earned their second successive three points after hitting the woodwork twice from free kicks from Craig Westcarr then Milan Lalkovic, while they looked more comfortable on the ball throughout.
By contrast, Wolves, who failed to score for the first time in the league since the opening day of the season when they drew 0-0 at Preston, forced just one serious save from Saddlers keeper Richard O’Donnell, who tipped Bakary Sako’s free kick over the bar.
Jackett made one change from Saturday’s line-up that beat Swindon 3-2.
Bjorn Sigurdarson replaced ever-present four-goal top scorer Leigh Griffiths as the head coach switched to a 4-5-1 formation to strengthen the midfield after they were outplayed in the middle of the park at the weekend, leaving Kevin Doyle on his own up front.
Smith opted for an unchanged side from the team that won 3-0 at Crewe on Saturday, sticking to a 4-1-4-1 system.
The Saddlers kicked off attacking the South Bank but it was Wolves who threatened first when Sigurdarson, who was the home side’s best player in the first half with Danny Batth, flashed a first-time shot just wide when Doyle challenged for Kevin McDonald’s cross in the sixth minute.
Walsall were the first team to settle however and they didn’t take long to force a chance of their own in the ninth minute.
Westcarr, who wreaked havoc when he came on as a half-time substitute in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy first round tie between the teams, curled a free kick on top of the bar and over after Lee Evans tripped Sam Mantom 25 yards out.
The Saddlers continued to be the brighter team and were much more comfortable on the ball than a nervous-looking Wolves.
But they failed to really trouble Jackett’s side with Batth in particular a determined figure at the heart of the home defence.
Walsall’s territorial advantage did produce a few half chances however as they forced the pace in a bid for the breakthrough.
Paul Downing – the nephew of former Wolves midfielder and current Albion coach Keith – saw a header deflected wide from a corner on 33 minutes, then flashed a volley a few feet over after the hosts failed to clear another flag kick four minutes later.
But Wolves, who struggled to get any rhythm going in the first period hit back with a 25-yard free kick from Sako that was acrobatically tipped over on 39.
Evans tried his luck from similar distance soon after but his curling effort flew straight at O’Donnell.
Wolves started the second half more positively than they started or finished the first.
But when the opening came, Doyle sent a weak, glancing header well wide from Scott Golbourne’s cross.
Andy Taylor drove wide after Ashley Hemmings’s free kick had been partly cleared by David Davis on 50.
Wolves returned to the attack seconds later but Doyle could only head wide from Matt Doherty’s centre.
Wolves’ anxiety was reflected in them making two early substitutions as Griffiths and Kevin Foley replaced midfielders McDonald and Evans in the 56th and 57th minutes, while Walsall brought on James Baxendale for Hemmings on 65.
But instead of helping them on the attack, Wolves were forced to defend as Mantom wasted a good chance when he sidefooted almost apologetically straight at Ikeme after a bout of pinball in the Wolves box.
And the hosts had plenty more defending to do as they fell behind when a superbly-flighted free kick from Taylor was headed back across goal by Baxendale for Butler to squeeze home from close range despite the attentions of Ikeme and Batth on the line.
And although Doyle saw a turn and shot deflected just wide, it was Walsall who finished the game stronger.
Lalkovic, who replaced Troy Hewitt in the 82nd minute, saw a shot deflected for a corner after twisting and turning inside Batth, who blocked the effort for a corner.
Then as the call went up for five minutes of added time, the on-loan Chelsea forward curled a free kick against the post with no Walsall player in the penalty area.
And despite five minutes of time added on, in the end there was no grandstand finish from Wolves, who were left to lick their wounds as Walsall celebrated.