Kilman and Jiménez punish sloppy Everton and send Wolves seventh

Everton rally in second half but end up suffering a third successive loss

Wolves’ Raul Jimenez is congratulated by team-mates after  scoring their  second goal during the game against Everton at Molineux. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Wolves’ Raul Jimenez is congratulated by team-mates after scoring their second goal during the game against Everton at Molineux. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire

 

Wolves 2 Everton 1

Wolves fans might have been forgiven a moment’s nostalgia when Nuno Espírito Santo’s new team came and knocked them out of the Carabao Cup in September but a run of four wins and a draw has since taken them into seventh place in the Premier League and above Tottenham Hotspur on the day that their former manager was moved on.

Instead, after goals from Max Kilman and Raul Jiménez, Wolves are feeling grateful to be under the guidance of Bruno Lage.

Everton lost for the third successive game but, after a woeful first half, rallied strongly after Alex Iwobi pulled a goal back. But all told Wolves deserved their victory.

Restored to the starting line-up, Ruben Neves had already seen his fulsome volley from the edge of the area brilliantly parried by Jordan Pickford, Mason Holgate clearing the rebound attempt by Conor Coady, as Wolves started with a bang.

Raul Jiménez went on a storming run through the rather soft middle of the Everton midfield before tickling a pass off to Hwang Hee-chan, who at the second attempt stroked his shot in off the far post. It looked as if the South Korean had become the fastest Wolves player to score five Premier League goals as everyone returned for kick-off but the VAR espied that Hwang had been a smidge offside.

It was noticeable how much the Wolves players geed each other up to take encouragement rather than disappointment after that and by just after the half-hour mark, they were two goals to the good.

Everton, notwithstanding their impressive start to the season when they lost only once in their opening seven games, looked punch-drunk from that remarkable collapse against Watford nine days ago.

On paper, this looked an exciting team, with Richarlison returning from a knee injury for a first start in seven weeks to complete a pacy front four. But the trouble was, this left them vulnerable at the back of midfield where Francisco Trincão, Hwang and Jiménez kept finding pockets of space.

The first goal followed another run of conviction by Jiménez that earned a corner. Rayan Aït-Nouri delivered it and Max Kilman rose highest to head in his first goal in the Premier League.

Four minutes later Jiménez was sharp again, reacting most quickly to Ben Godfrey’s back pass that was vaguely towards Pickford. Clean through, the Mexican dinked a sumptuous finish over the goalkeeper for his first goal at Molineux since October 25th last year. After nine months out with that fractured skull, this was a night when Jiménez looked back to his best.

Everton switched to 4-3-3, in a bid to stem Wolves’ flow, and they got their first sniff of goal when Romain Saïss sliced an attempted clearance to offer Demarai Gray a great chance but the forward fired well wide.

Rafael Benitez had never suffered the ignominy of conceding five goals in a game as a Premier League manager before Watford’s visit and this match looked as if it could go the same way if Everton did not stiffen up. Fabian Delph came on for Jean-Philippe Gbamin after the £25 million summer signing from Mainz suffered a nightmarish Premier League debut.

Everton did find a way back into the game. First Coady headed Andros Townsend’s cross-shot behind his own goal then the Wolves captain injured himself in blocking Richarlison from what appeared a certain goal after José Sá, receiving a routine back pass, inexplicably played the ball straight to the Brazilian forward inside the six-yard box.

Having taken heart, the visiting team were able to play higher up the field, and penned Wolves back. Godfrey, coming inside on to his right foot, shot low and powerfully and, when the ball rebounded off Coady, Iwobi shot home. Game on.

Wolves finally came back out of retreat and should have made the game safe. Hwang came slaloming inside and laid the ball off to Trincão who showed superb close control to beat his man for a clear sight of goal only to shoot wide from eight yards.

Martin Atkinson did point to the spot for a Wolves penalty before correctly if belatedly deciding that Mason Holgate’s foul on Trincão came just outside the area. Everton kept pushing for the equaliser, Sá tipping substitute Anthony Gordon’s header to safety.

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