Wolves produced a fine second half display to come back from a goal down and see off Brighton at Molineux. Lewis Dunk had given Brighton the lead and could quite easily have added to it with Wolves unable to deal with the away side’s physicality at set pieces. But Wolves came on strong in the second half with goals from Adama Traore and a Premier League first for Morgan Gibbs-White sealing all three points.
Wolves (4-2-3-1): Patricio, Hoever, Coady, Kilman, Ait-Nouri, Moutinho, Neves, Gibbs-White, Vitinha, Podence, Silva (Subs Used: Traore, Jose, Dendoncker)
Brighton (3-5-2): Sanchez, White, Webster, Dunk, Burn, Jahanbaksh, Gross, Bissouma, Trossard, Maupay, Webeck (Subs Used: Mac Alister, Moder, Zeqiri)
Nuno once again put his trust in youth after a promising outing in tough conditions at West Brom. One of the youngsters who impressed in the Black Country derby, Owen Otasowie, missed out through injury. Ki-Jana Hoever replaced Nelson Semedo, while Max Kilman came into the back four in place of the out-of-form Romain Saiss. Joao Moutinho returned from injury while Daniel Podence was also back in the starting line-up. Morgan Gibbs-White adopted the wide right position that Otasowie played at West Brom, with Vitinha starting centrally behind Fabio Silva. Wolves started the game brightly and managed to get in behind Brighton early on, Vitinha forcing a good save from Sanchez. However, following a promising opening to the game Wolves lost control and fell behind due to their inability to defend corners. This worrying trait continued throughout the first half, with Rui Patricio forced into one excellent save to deny Dunk a second form a corner.
Having gone in level at the break it was clear Wolves needed to inject some energy, and they did so with Adama Traore coming on with half an hour to go. Wolves were now also up against ten men after an excellent interchange between Fabio Silva and Vitinha which saw Lewis Dunk bring the Portuguese striker down when he was in on goal, dually shown the red card by Jon Moss. Traore immediately stretched the game, with Gibbs-White now moving into a more central position, looking to support Fabio Silva. And after a number of good situations which Wolves failed to capitalise on, Traore finally had his goal after a neat one-two with Silva in a crowded penalty area, he fired beyond Sanchez with ten minutes to play. Gibbs-White continued to flourish and was having an even greater impact in the centre of the park. Traore chased Sanchez down and stole the ball wide of the goal. He cut back into the area with the keeper stranded but teed up Gibbs-White who fired over. It looked like that elusive Premier League goal was still to come for Gibbs-White, but as the clock struck 90, he redeemed himself as the ball fell nicely in the penalty area after good work from Ait-Nouri. Gibbs-White’s fine finish ensured the win for Nuno’s men, much to the youngster’s delight.
Pascal Gross’ fine delivery was met by the head of Lewis Dunk whose firm header into the ground went beyond Patricio to give the Seagulls the lead. Dunk was marked by Ruben Neves and Morgan Gibbs-White, a poor mismatch which ultimately cost the goal and could quite easily have cost more.
Dunk Red Card
A smart piece of play from Fabio Silva who took the ball down in midfield before finding Vitinha. Silva continued his run beyond Dunk and Vitinha’s perfectly timed ball had Silva through on goal. Dunk took no chances and pulled Silva back, denying a goalscoring opportunity and was given his marching orders.
Entering a crowded penalty area Traore played a neat one-two with Silva and managed to fire the ball home between a cluster of Brighton defenders. The power and accuracy of the shot gave Sanchez no chance and set up a frantic final ten minutes.
Patient build up play around the edge of the box before the ball made its way out wide to Ait-Nouri. He took on Ben White and got the better of him too. The deflected cross fell to the feet of Gibbs-White and at the second time of asking, he curled a beauty into the top corner to seal the win. The delight on his face was there for all to see.
Man of the Match – Morgan Gibbs-White
The Stafford born midfielder has come in for much criticism in recent seasons having burst onto the scene aged just 16. His progress stagnated, and he had terrible luck early in the season with injury hampering his impressive start to a loan spell at Championship side Swansea City. But in 4-2-3-1 Gibbs-White certainly has his place, having been somewhat of a square peg when used in a 3-4-3/3-5-2. Gibbs-White’s energy and enthusiasm injected belief into the Wolves side that they could come back and win the game. In the second half he linked well with Hoever on the right-hand side, before enjoying the freedom to roam between the lines in a central area following the departure of Vitinha. This seems to be where he is most effective. His goal was superbly taken, made even more impressive by his ability to pick himself up after missing a guilt-edge chance just minutes before.
It was certainly an enjoyable watch in the second half, far more entertaining than most games we have been served up this season. But it was also a poignant moment as the win is likely (hopefully) the final game at Molineux behind closed doors. I have goosebumps just writing that. There will be a small crowd in attendance for the home fixture with Manchester United on the final day, with the hope that Molineux will be packed to the rafters once more in time for next season. The side have struggled for various reasons this season, some are excuses, others are situations that should have been handled better by the club/manager/players. But all in all, the effort is still there, and the younger lads have come in, injecting a newfound energy and for the most part have been relatively enjoyable to watch. Let’s hope they are continued to allow to showcase their talents and develop in these final three games of the season. The standard of opposition gradually increases, and they will be important learning curves ahead of next season. A great win, an enjoyable moment, and hopefully a sign of the future.