IVAN CAVALEIRO came off the bench and took just 94 seconds to score …. with his first ever touch in Premier League football!
No wonder Wolves fans are convinced their gaffer Nuno Espirito Santo has taken over from his Portuguese counterpart Jose Mourinho as THE Special One!
With the game balanced on a knife-edge and time rapidly running out for Wolves to find a winner, Mark Hughes’ Saints were actually beginning to look as if they were capable of snatching a winner.
Then Nuno pulled a couple of master-strokes.
First, he sent on Spanish speed-merchant Adama Traore for Helder Costa. Then, with 13 minutes remaining he re-introduced Portuguese forward Cav back to his pack after two-months out with a back injury.
Traore showed Wesley Hoedt a clean pair of heels and swept in a low cross which Raul Jimenez held up, before rolling the ball into the path of Cavaleiro.
And the comeback kid steamed in to slam the ball high beyond Alex McCarthy to make his first touch of the ball in the Premier League a memorable one!
Eight minutes later, Wolves killed off any hopes Saints had of mounting a last gasp comeback when they added a second.
Matt Doherty went by Saints’ sub Stuart Armstrong way too easily for Hughes’ liking and the Wolves wing-back had all the time he needed to look up and pick out his mirror image … left-sided wing-back Jonny Castro Otto!
He drove the ball by McCarthy as Wolves two full-backs combined to pull Saints apart.
Hughes’ side made them sweat but Nuno’s men just about deserved the three hard-earned points which leaves them sitting pretty in eighth place.
The Molineux men have now clocked up five top flight games without defeat for the first time since November 1981 and their delighted fans left singing: “Nuno’s the Special One.”
Wolves remain unbeaten at home since January and look the best promoted side to hit the Prem for a while.
“If you ask me if we deserved to win or not I would say: “Yes,” but Mark Hughes would probably say: ‘No,’” said relieved Wolves boss Nuno afterwards.
“It was a difficult game for both teams. It was a tough game. Southampton created us problems but we also created chances and it was a good game.
“In the end, did we deserve it or not? You never know. Southampton had us against the ropes at times.
“What I do know is we are ready to cope with any scenario. Once we scored the first goal I felt we had the game under control.”
Not surprisingly, Mark Hughes begged to differ. He felt his side were dominant for much of the game and Stuart Armstrong missed a snip to give Saints the lead four minutes before the roof caved in.
The Scotland international wriggled free of a couple of markers at the near post and fired in a snapshot but his effort was straight at Patricio and Wolves survived the scare.
Hughes said: “Frustration is the emotion we are feeling. We came here with good intent and a purpose to our play. I thought we were the dominant team and created more chances.
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“Unfortunately the only stat which counts is the ‘goals scored,’ at the top of the page!
“It’s difficult to take because both of their goals should have been avoided and the first came at a time when we looked more likely to score. But on both occasions we let them get the ball in from a dangerous area.
“Stuart Armstrong felt he was impeded and his shirt was pulled at the second goal. But the truth of the matter is we must be better in those situations. We’d had a warning at the first goal and that should have taught us a lesson – don’t let it happen again.
“We are still not getting the key times right. The first 10 minutes, the 10 minutes before half-time, the first 10 after the break and the last 10 minutes. We got three out of four right today but that’s not enough.”