Watford 0 Wolves 1 - Report and pictures
Vicarage Road is a ground which holds many fine memories for Wolves boss Kenny Jackett.
And tonight he was provided with another one to savour as Wolves won for just the second time in nine games.
It was a thoroughly deserved three points, though it was not achieved without some nail-biting moments, as Wolves held onto the slender lead given to them by returning striker Nouha Dicko 12 minutes into the second half.
A combination of poor finishing and superb goalkeeping from Heurelho Gomes had denied them from going ahead much earlier and what would have been a comfortable win.
Dicko was guilty for perhaps the worst miss in the opening half but made no mistake when he was found six yards out by the excellent Rajiv van La Parra.
Watford hit the bar twice in the final 20 minutes through substitute Odion Ighalo but an equaliser would have been cruel on the visitors.
You did not need to be an expert in mind reading to guess Jackett's thoughts when the sodden head coach appeared on the stadium's big screen with ten minutes remaining in the first half.
It came just moments after Nouha Dicko had missed a golden chance to put the visitors ahead after being sent clean through on goal, the final glaring chance of a half where Gomes had denied Dave Edwards, Rajiv Van La Parra and Bakary Sako.
The latter was a world class save as he somehow gothis fingertips to a 25 yard drive which was about to creep under his bar.
It was the kind of moment which made you wonder if it would be Wolves' night, before Dicko made sure it was.
As expected, the striker was back in the starting line-up for the first time in more than two months after finally seeing off a hamstring problem.
Danny Graham dropped to the bench, while Jack Price replaced James Henry in Wolves' only other change.
Watford made three changes and – contrary to some reports in the build-up to the game – former Walsall hitman Troy Deeney was fit to play.
The 26-year-old partnered Albion flop Matej Vydra up front for the Hornets.
It was Vydra who had the first effort of the game with a shot which was blocked by Richard Stearman after Price had been robbed in midfield.
Wolves were asking soon asking some serious questions of the home defence and went close to breaking the deadlock on now fewer than six occasions inside the opening 20 minutes.
First van La Parra side-footed inches wide after Sako had won possession out on the left flank and found his fellow wideman in space on the edge of the box.
Youngster Dominic Iorfa then should have done better than hook the ball over from eight yards out after exchanging passes with Kevin McDonald inside the box.
When Dave Edwards did test Gomes moments later, the keeper proved equal to his first time shot and tipped it round the post.
The Brazilian, as he has so often done his career, nearly followed the sublime with the ridiculous as he made a hash of gathering Sako's scuffed corner with no Wolves man able to force the loose ball home.
But he was soon back on his game, producing a wonder stop to tip over Sako's 25 yard drive which looked destined for the top corner.
His early work wasn't finished there and moments later he was down again to tip a Van La Parra snapshot round the upright.
From the corner, Edwards got his head to the ball at the near post but again Gomes was there to push the ball away.
After having done all the attacking, Wolves were suddenly asked to do some defending as Batth blocked from Daniel Tozser. Juan Carlos Paredes also had an effort deflected wide as the hosts served notice of their own attacking threat
Yet the best chances kept coming at the other end and just past the half hour mark Dicko squandered a golden opportunity to put them ahead.
Van La Parra found Sako in the middle of the park and having spotted the run of his fellow Mali international, he weighted the perfect through pass to put the striker in the clear.
But Dicko fluffed his lines, sliding his shot past Gomes but also wide of the post as the half ended goal-less.
Wolves were quickly into their stride early in the second period and Van La Parra should have found Dicko in space inside the box but under-hit his cross.
Carl Ikeme was then called into his first save of the game as Vydra bounced a volley into his arms, with the hosts switching to four at the back in a big to negate the influence of van La Parra and Sako.
It didn't work, as van La Parra played the major role as Wolves finally broke the deadlock three minutes before the hour.
The winger drove into the left-hand side of the box and squared for an unmarked Dicko, who simply couldn't miss from six yards out.
Watford might have drawn level when Deeney headed into the box and several players seemed to miss the chance to bundle the loose ball home.
Bassong then should definitely have levelled things up but failed to make clean connection from three yards out after Wolves failed to clear a corner, allowing goalkeeper Carl Ikeme to gather.
Deeney then fired an effort which Ikeme was able to watch round the far post.
The goalkeeper was called into action to deny substitute Odion Ighalo, pushing his rasping effort onto the bar as Wolves began to sit deeper and Watford pressed for a leveller.
The closing stages saw a three minute substitute appearance from Tommy Rowe before Ighalo lashed an effort onto the bar from 12 yards out as the clock ticked into time added on.
But Wolves held on to extend their unbeaten run to three games ahead of Brentford's visit to Molineux tomorrow.
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