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Wolves 2 Aston Villa 1 - Report and pictures

By Rosie Swarbrick | Sport | Published:

Ruben Neves emphatically ended a 16-game goal drought to fire Wolves to a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Report

Neves' curling effort from the edge of the box opened the scoring in the 41st minute with Raul Jimenez's 84th-minute effort sending Wolves on the way to a derby victory.

Trezeguet popped up with a late consolation but that injury-time strike could not stop Nuno Espirito Santo's side picking up their third Premier League win of the season. 

Wolves boss Nuno had made three changes to the side that beat Slovan Bratislava 1-0 on Thursday night.

Ruben Vinagre, Pedro Neto, and Max Kilman all moved to the bench as a refreshed Diogo Jota, Jonny and Romain Saiss returned to the starting line-up.

With Willy Boly still unavailable due to his ankle injury, Leander Dendoncker continued on the right of the back three. 

In the Villa camp, Dean Smith made two enforced changes from the last-gasp defeat at Liverpool. Keeper Tom Heaton and centre-back Bjorn Engels, who had both started the first 11 Premier League games, missed out due to injury.

Jed Steer dusted off his gloves to make his first league start of the season with Ezri Konsa making first Premier League start alongside Tyrone Mings in central defence. 

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Before the game commenced both teams formed a guard of honour to welcome veterans and serving members of the armed forces onto the pitch.

Molineux fell silent to mark Remembrance Sunday and the Last Post was played before the ground became a cauldron of noise.

As soon as respects were paid the noise levels heightened and it was Wolves who made the brighter start in their 3-4-3 formation.Skipper Conor Coady nearly marked his 200th appearance with a rare assist.

The centre-half picked up the ball in his own half and chipped the ball up to Doherty in the box.But the winger could not give Wolves a perfect start as his strike deflected out for a corner.  

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Doherty was given too much space and room on that right flank in the opening exchanges and he was encouraged to push forward in support of ex-Villa man Traore.

Doherty galloped down the wing and nearly got his goal from a cross.His looping effort whirled towards goal and left Steer flapping.

It collided with the woodwork and the Villa shot-stopper fell awkwardly as he back-peddled towards his goal. He received treatment on the pitch but was unable to put weight on his right leg as he limped off moments later. His bad luck paved the way for Orjan Nyland to make his first appearance of the season off the bench.

Given that enforced blow at the back, you'd have expected a Wolves onslaught and Nuno's men sensed blood.

The chances flowed but Wolves could not find that golden touch.Jimenez sent the ball fizzing past the right post with Joao Moutinho blasting a Jimenez knock-down way over the bar.

Traore crossed the ball in from the right but Jota nodded tamely at Nyland under pressure from Frederic Guilbert.

Jota tumbled but his cries for a penalty were waved away by referee Anthony Taylor though Wolves kept going. 

Neves stopped a rare Villa attack and released Jimenez but his effort flew off target again as Wolves failed to turn their dominance into goals.

Villa sent out a warning message as Wesley nodded straight at Rui Patricio but Wolves kept pushing forward.

The tackles and fouls flew in with referee Taylor dishing out a host of early cautions.

Targett tussled with Doherty as the Wolves man stormed into the box but the referee waved away another penalty claim from the hosts.

Jota carved out another chance but Wolves finally got the goal their first-half play deserved in the 41st minute.

Mings raced out of defence to cynically chop Traore down with Moutinho picking up the dead ball.

He opted to fizz the ball sideways to the unmarked Neves who needed just one touch to end his 16-game goal drought.The Portuguese midfielder gave Nyland no chance as his sublime strike curled home. 

El Ghazi limped off but was able to play on, though Targett would make way in injury time as he was unable to play on after his earlier tangle in the box with Doherty.

Villa's Douglas Luiz tested the palms of Patricio from distance but the half would end with Wolves in the driving seat. But with Wolves having just one goal to show for their eight attempts, Villa regrouped. 

Neil Taylor had replaced Targett just before the break and was nearly an unlikely hero for Villa.

Villa looked for an early leveller as they made a bright start to the second 45.

But Taylor's effort was too high and Wolves soon regained control. 

Adama Traore's thunderous right-footed effort left the right stick quaking while Jimenez saw another effort fly wide of Nyland's goal.

Neves let fly once again but his effort cannoned off a Villa man for a corner. 

Though, as Wolves pushed forward for a second Villa looked a threat on the counter with Wesley wasting a golden opportunity to fire over.

Villa continued to build momentum as the second half wore on but Wolves' fire-power still looked like it would be too hot for Smith's men.

Jota stung Nyland's palms as Wolves tried in vain to get that all-important second.

Though as Wolves continued to waste opportunities Villa grew in confidence.

Mings met a John McGinn set-piece up the other end but could not quite make a clean connection as the visitors started to ask serious questions of Wolves' defence.

Trezeguet tumbled under pressure from Jonny but the Wolves man had won the ball cleanly.

Wolves had their own penalty appeal quashed, this time by VAR after Traore's cross was blocked by Taylor.

The officials ruled it was a fair block and the incident galvanised the crowd and Wolves' players.

Though it was Villa who kept probing with McGinn's strike blocked by Saiss and Wesley's dangerous ball in just cleared by Coady.

It was a tactical shift by Nuno that would stem the wave of Villa attacks.

He threw Neto on for Jota in the 83rd minute and Wolves would find an immediate response.

Despite his fresh legs, it was the other two front-men who found a way past Villa.

Traore surged forward down that right flank before fizzing the ball to Jimenez at the top of the box.

The Mexican hit-man needed just one touch to make it 13 for the campaign and make up for those wasted chances.

But Villa finally got the goal their second-half display warranted in injury time.

Saiss looked to have cleared Trezeguet's strike away from danger but VAR ruled that the ball had crossed the line.

The muted celebrations from the 3,000 strong away support said it all.

In the end, it was just a consolation as Wolves marched up the table to eighth. 

Key Moments

05 - Early Villa injury! Doherty is up for it for Wolves. After seeing a strike deflect wide, his attempted cross almost finds the top corner. Steer manages to tip it onto the crossbar, but lands awkwardly and has to be replaced by Nyland.

41 - GOAL! Nuno's charges take the lead - and in sublime style! After several misses and a penalty call, Neves thumps the ball into the corner from the edge of the box after a clever free-kick from Moutinho. That is special.

44 - Another player is forced off for Villa. Targett, who took a knock to the head earlier on, goes to the ground dazed and is unable to continue. Taylor comes on for him on the stroke of half-time.

56 - A warning sign for Wolves. El Ghazi sprints down the right flank and does well to find Wesley on the edge of the box. The Brazilian should at least force Patricio into a save, but he balloons the shot well over. Poor.

84 - GOAL! Wolves get the second to ease the nerves! Traore leaves Luiz for dead with immense speed on the right before expertly pulling the ball back to Jimenez, who tucks it into the far corner. The Molineux faithful go crazy. 

90+2  - GOAL! Villa pull one back late on through Trezeguet, whose effort from an acute angle is confirmed to have just crossed the line by a buzz of the referee's watch. Muted celebrations from the travelling supporters. 

Teams

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Dendoncker, Coady (c), Saiss; Doherty, Moutinho, Neves (Bennett, 85), Otto; Traore, Jimenez (Cutrone, 89), Jota (Neto, 82)Subs not used: Ruddy (gk), Kilman, Vinagre, PerryGoals: Neves (41), Jimenez (84)

Villa (4-3-3): Steer (Nyland, 8); Guilbert, Konsa, Mings (c), Targett (Taylor, 45); Nakamba (Lansbury, 66), Luiz, McGinn; Trezeguet, Wesley, El GhaziSubs not used: Chester, Elmohamady, Hourihane, KodjiaGoal: Trezeguet (90+2)

Attendance: 31,607 (3,008 Villa fans)Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)

Rosie Swarbrick

By Rosie Swarbrick
@rosieswarb

Wolves correspondent for the Express & Star.

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