A game that should have certainly fulfilled the demand of many fans for a more complete and intent performance. Bertie Kamara gives the lowdown on the game.
Wolves (4-3-3): Patricio, Semedo, Kilman, Boly, Ait-Nouri, Neves (Neto 70), Traore, Moutinho, Dendoncker, Podence (Vitinha 85), Jimenez
Subs not used: However, Marcal, Silva, Otasowie, Ruddy (gk).
Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy, Walker-Peters, Vestergaard, Bednarek, Bertrand, Armstrong (Diallo 90), Ward-Prowse ©, Romeu, Walcott, Djenepo (Long 79), Adams
Subs not used: Stephens, Obafemi, Tella, N’Lundulu, Forster (gk)
Neto Goal (76), Walcott Goal (58)
With Coady’s England absence following self-isolation, the sad news of the passing of Max Kilman’s father and the Dendoncker Belgium scare. On top of that, a late mystery absence of an unnamed player due to contact with coronavirus. The Wolves team for the first time in a while was a difficult one to predict pre-kick-off.
It was surprising when the team was announced and even more so one minute after kick-off. Wolves lined up for the first time under Nuno with a four-man defence, despite the official line up graphic indicating otherwise. Saiss was named as the mystery man and Coady not playing due to a lack of match fitness making it his first league game missed since October 2017. The team faced a more attacking approach. Adama coming in for Neto to ask questions of the Saints defence as well as Ait Nouri keeping his place instead of Marcal were the highlights of this.
The beginning of the game started with a rather shaky opening minutes for the reshaped defence. However, this defensive changed allowed a more attacking Wolves side in the opening exchanges which saw a Mccarthy double save five minutes into the game after Semedo’s fantastic strike was parried to Dendoncker who couldn’t find the net from close range and McCarthy redirected the ball over. This wasn’t to be the tale of the game though as the front three suffered from a lack of matches together and couldn’t seem to click after this for a long period.
A Southampton spell saw Walcott who was put through by Armstrong, have his effort saved by Patricio after Boly was caught out of position. After this Kilman superbly tackled Adams in the face of danger after Neves cheaply gave the ball away.
It took 29 minutes for Adama Traore to get his first piece of action picking the pocket of Romeu but shooting from 30 yards likely to the frustration of many Wolves fans with Podence free down the left with an ocean of space. Soon after, Armstrong narrowly shot wide after being put through by Che Adams. This pressure only continued with Boly blocking Adams shot inside the box.
The next Wolves chance came from a free-kick won by Adama after a powerful run. Whipped in by Moutinho, the ball found the smallest player on the pitch in Podence whose effort was saved by Mccarthy. The final minutes of the first half saw Neves and Adama booked for late tackles.
Half Time Wolves 0 – Southampton 0
The second half began slowly with Adama showcasing his talent with an excellent run but unfortunately with no end product on the cross. Shortly after this Podence found himself one-on-one with the Saints defender and managed to force a shot on target but not to trouble the Saints goalkeeper too much.
Poor defending by Wolves was punished after a pinball-like period of play in the Wolves box. Che Adams managed to squeeze the ball across the Wolves defence to find Walcott to make it 1 – 0 after Semedo was caught fast asleep at the back post. Southampton should have made it two shortly after, but Theo Walcott couldn’t find the target after being put through by Che Adams.
Wolves kicked up a gear as Moutinho’s ball beautifully played through from a free-kick found Jiminez who all alone just couldn’t control the ball. Neto found himself with space in the box but unfortunately, his shot was heroically blocked by a Saints defender. Adama then went on another powerful run to find Podence but the ball was too powerful to control.
After this fantastic spell, a nice play by Moutinho found Raul on the edge of the box, whose shot hits the post but was followed in by Pedro Neto to equalise. Wolves thought they had taken the lead moments after this when Jiminez’sheader from a free-kick found the back of the net but he was rightly ruled offside. Wolves pressure only continued as Neto looked to make it two but his effort was saved by Mccarthy and Podencehad a shot deflected with a plethora of options available.
Despite the strong spell in the final quarter of the game, in added time it was Southampton who looked the more likely scorers with Ait Nouri beaten down the left but Patricio calmly claimed the cross.
Walcott Goal (58) Neto Goal (76)
Referee Andre Mariner
Full–Time Wolves 1 – Southampton 1
Overall, with an improvised team, Wolves played a Southampton team unbeaten in six with a lack of fear we rarely see. With some fantastic attacking displays but equally some worrying defensive showings. Gaining a point which could’ve been three left Nuno a rather happy man and rightfully so.