Stan Cullis

Wolves 2-1 Brighton Match Report

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. 

 

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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. 

 

Key Moments 

Dunk Goal

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. 

 

Traore Goal

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. 

 

Gibbs-White Goal

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. 

 

Final Thoughts 

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.

 

Ciaran Barker is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.

Billy Wright Stand

Wolves 2-1 Brighton: The Debrief

Morgan Gibbs-White, he’s one of our own. It seems a lifetime ago since those sounds rang across the same Molineux stands that now sit so barren and lifeless.

 

Isn’t it great to get that winning feeling back? Until the youngster stepped up to smash home a deserved winner, it seemed like the 10 men of Brighton were destined to leave with a point. 

 

It could’ve all been so different had Lewis Dunk not grabbed Fabio Silva’s shirt, which in turn yanked the chain of the gold and black generator, causing Wolves’ afternoon to suddenly splutter into life.

 

The start was refreshing and vibrant, putting Brighton on the back foot immediately. That was until Dunk himself popped up and headed the away side in front. Neves and Gibbs-White appeared to have been given the task of stopping him. Perhaps one should have perched on the other’s shoulder to try and obscure the man mountain’s path to goal.

 

Brighton are a neat and tidy outfit. The passing is crisp and free flowing. As BBC commentator Danny Murphy remarked, “They’re dangerous every time they come forward.” 

 

Moutinho’s passing range and overall ball control was lacking. Ait-Nouri’s silky runs often became blind alley treks. The passing moves were textbook but ineffective, all done in front of a solid Brighton back line.

 

It looked like a training match, it felt like a training match. Even the synthetic cheers and whistles of the BBC sound machine failed to achieve any semblance of reality. Pressing the “boo” button at half time would’ve made things more believable.

 

Losing at home to a team beginning with B, on a Sunday afternoon, all seemed eerily similar to the 4-0 Burnley battering. Danny Welbeck was enjoying himself. The nearly man of the Premier League was physically strong, quick and willing to lead the line.

 

Again, it was difficult to see who Wolves could turn to off the bench. Dendoncker up front maybe? Otasowie at left back? Give Corbeanu a debut in a holding role? When the script got flipped it was a Brighton player who was the main antagonist.

 

Silva raced though. Dunk had a sneaky tug. Time stilled briefly. The big man’s head dropped; his departure inevitable.

 

Nuno suddenly sensed an opportunity. The beard stroking became more vigorous. Eyebrows steadily raised like Leonid Brezhnev. It was time to shake up the baby oil bottle, release the beast and let Adama Traore run loose. Already the recipient of an Adama roasting earlier in the season, Dan Burn no doubt twitched nervously as his tormentor reappeared for round two.

 

Rueing a gilt-edged opportunity minutes beforehand, to his credit Morgan Gibbs-White did not let the miss get him down. Often pinpointed as transfer fodder, as the exit door flapped open Morgan refused to be dragged away. 

 

He stepped up when it mattered, instigated some late notice drama and bagged all three points for his team. Brighton games aren’t supposed to be this way. A 3-3 draw in January and an entertaining 2-1 win that bucked the bore draw trend. Neal Maupay was determined to add to the drama when he went ballistic after time and made it two red cards for the Seagulls.

 

At half time a large percentage of fans might have happily swapped the managers around and accepted Brighton’s head honcho with open arms in to the home dugout. 

 

The red card undoubtedly swayed the game. In the end though it was Nuno, that grizzled old wizard, who had the last laugh over fresh young Potter.

Steve Wellings is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here 

Steve Bull Stand

Wolves 2-1 Brighton Player Ratings

Wolves earned their first win in three weeks as they came from behind to beat Brighton 2-1 at Molineux. After Lewis Dunk gave Brighton the lead from a corner after 13 minutes, the Seagulls’ captain then swung the game in Wolves’ favour when he was sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity early in the second half. Substitute Adama Traore drew Wolves level with a quarter of an hour left, before Morgan Gibbs-White’s first league goal for the club earned Nuno’s side three points in the last minute of normal time. 

 

Rui Patricio

Had very little to do besides picking the ball out of his net and didn’t face a single attempt of any kind in the second half. Could have relieved Wolves of some first half set-piece pressure by coming off his line, but that just isn’t his style. 6/10.

 

Ki-Jana Hoever

Not his finest performance in a Wolves shirt. Coped well enough defensively but his attacking output was almost always ineffective. His crosses from open play or the simply horrendous short corners always either flew into the empty stand or hit the first man. His time will come. 5/10. 

 

Conor Coady

Did well. Failed to keep out Dunk’s header in front of the far post but was otherwise pretty much unchallenged by Welbeck or Maupay, but did get a yellow card for clumsily taking down Zeqiri off the pitch. His distribution was solid. 6/10. 

 

Max Kilman

Enjoyed his first league start in three months and two days and did well. Wolves’ defence looked hugely improved when compared to their last outing at Molineux against Burnley, and Kilman was a big part of that. Was relatively untroubled except for set-pieces, which he and Wolves finally got a grip of after Dunk’s dismissal. 7/10. 

 

Rayan Ait-Nouri

A second straight impressive performance for Ait-Nouri, who has done his chances of a permanent move to Molineux no harm. Was constantly up and down the left-hand side and had no problem with Jahanbakhsh and later Moder. 7/10. 

 

Ruben Neves

Not his best performance.  Wasn’t able to dictate play in the way he’d have liked following Dunk’s goal, with Wolves being hugely ineffective while the Seagulls were a goal up in the first half. Not a surprise to see him withdrawn as Nuno looked to attack following Dunk’s red card. 5/10. 

 

Joao Moutinho 

Clearly wasn’t at full fitness following his two-game absence. Was run ragged by Brighton prior to the dismissal, while his insistence to play the ball short to Hoever at corners was questionable to say the least. Nevertheless, Moutinho should have had an assist after his through ball was woefully mis-controlled by Jose at 0-1. 5/10. 

 

Morgan Gibbs-White

His best game in a Wolves shirt by far. Was given just his second league start since returning from Swansea in January and was clearly determined to make an impression. The 21-year-old was popping up here, there and everywhere trying to win the ball back and deservedly picked up his first league goal for Wolves at a crucial time. Thankfully, that meant we can gloss over his shocking open goal miss just five minutes earlier. 8/10. 

 

Vitinha

Wasn’t as influential as he was in the Black Country derby on Monday, but still offered Wolves a link from midfield to attack that they lacked so badly in February and March. Wolves’ gameplan seemed to go through Gibbs-White this time rather than Vitinha, as Nuno tries to see what all his young players can do ahead of a big summer. Was still surprising to see him withdrawn for Dendoncker after Traore’s equaliser. 6/10. 

 

Daniel Podence

Hasn’t had a good few weeks, and that continued against Brighton. Minus one good turn from a short corner early on Podence was completely ineffective again. He seemed more intent on trying to argue with Ben White than provide a goal or assist, which is becoming a running theme. Withdrawn for Willian Jose midway through the second half. 5/10

 

Fabio Silva

Had another good game. Looked threatening in the second half, broke free down Brighton’s left-hand side on a couple of occasions and provided a brilliant assist in a tight space for Traore’s equaliser. After some struggles in the winter months, Silva is beginning to show glimpses of why Wolves spent £35m on him. 7/10. 

 

Adama Traore

Played just 30 minutes, but was Wolves’ man of the match. Everything went through Traore and he was asked to almost single-handedly break down a stubborn Brighton side, which he did so with ease. His equaliser was built up, and taken, superbly, while he was a constant threat as Wolves pushed for a winner. With rumours of contract talks ongoing, Jeff Shi needs to present Traore with a blank piece of paper and let him write whatever numbers he wants on it. He is crucial to this team. 9/10. 

 

Willian Jose

Was fairly anonymous minus his poor touch when put through by Moutinho. Wolves would be mad to pay £20m for his services in the summer. 5/10.

 

Leander Dendoncker

Did nothing of note as Wolves pushed for a winner and then looked to hold onto their three points. N/A. 

 

James Wynn is part of the Talking Wolves editorial team – you can follow him on Twitter here.