Wolves 1-0 Fulham: Pedro Neto strike downs Cottagers

Wolves 1-0 Fulham: Cottagers’ nightmare start to the season continues as Pedro Neto strike downs Scott Parker’s side at Molineux

  • Fulham’s nightmare start to the season continued as Wolves defeated them 1-0 
  • Pedro Neto opened the scoring for the hosts with a fine left-footed strike
  • Ademola Lookman offered the visitors hope but they couldn’t net an equaliser

Pedro Neto’s strike condemned Fulham to the joint-worst start to a top-flight season in their history and left Scott Parker in dire need of new players before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Only once before, in the 1951-52 season, have the Cottagers lost their first four matches in a season in the top tier, and that campaign ended in relegation.

Though this was an improvement on their first three displays, especially in defence, Fulham still could not take their chances when they came. Not long after Neto had put Wolves in front in the 56th minute, substitute Aboubakar Kamara wasted a glorious chance to equalise.

Fulham’s nightmare start to the season continued as Wolves earned a 1-0 win at Molineux

Pedro Neto broke the deadlock in the second half for the hosts with a fine left-footed drive  

Fulham keeper Alphonso Areola cannot keep Neto’s strike out after making fine saves earlier

The young winger celebrates after giving Nuno Espirito Santo’s side the lead at Molineux

Wolves (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Boly; Kilman, Neves, Dendoncker, Semedo (Hoever 78); Neto (Traore 82), Podence (Moutinho 71), Raul

Subs not used: Ruddy, Vitinha, Silva, Buur

Booked: Neves

Goals: Neto (56)

Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo

Fulham (4-3-3): Areola; Bryan (Kamara 67), Ream, Le Marchand, Robinson; Cairney, Zambo Anguissa, Aina; Reid (Kebano 81), Cavaleiro (Lookman 67), Mitrovic

Subs not used: Hector, Johansen, Odoi, Rodak

Booked: Le Marchand

Goals: None

Manager: Scott Parker 

Vice-chairman Tony Khan irritated both Parker and his players when he apologised for the team’s performance on Twitter after last Monday’s 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa. Though there was no reason to do so here, a major improvement is required after the international break.

Wolves had barely a month’s pause after their 383-day season finally ended in mid-August when they were beaten by Sevilla in the Europa League, and they have struggled to find top form since winning 2-0 at Sheffield United on the opening day of this campaign.

Against a Fulham side lacking confidence, Wolves looked to make a fast start. From his unfamiliar spot at left wing-back, Romain Saiss swung a cross to the far post when Leander Dendoncker tried to head it back for Raul Jimenez. Luckily for the visitors, Tim Ream was quickest to the ball and nodded it behind.

At the other end, summer signing Antonee Robinson pushed forward from left back and found space in the penalty area only to shoot straight at Rui Patricio.

After conceding 10 goals in their first three games, it was no surprise to see Fulham boss Scott Parker take a safety-first approach here. When Wolves had the ball, there were often 11 visiting players behind it. And when the home side did break through, Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola produced an outstanding double save to keep his team level.

Areola dived to his left to keep out Pedro Neto’s angled drive from 20 yards, and then leapt to his feet to deny Nelson Semedo from the follow-up. No wonder Areola celebrated like an outfield player who had just scored a spectacular goal.

Nelson Semedo went closest to opening the scoring as Areola denied the full back

The Portuguese wing back reacts as he sees his glorious chance go begging in the first half

Fulham new boy Antonee Robinson was making his Premier League debut in a tidy display

Alexander Mitrovic looks to keep Wolves youngster Max Kilman at bay in a close encounter

Wolves moved up a gear at the start of the second half and created two good chances before they took the lead.

Ruben Neves shot just wide from the edge of the box after Semedo and Dendoncker had combined neatly to create space for him, before Max Kilman’s long clearance caught the Fulham defence on their heels and they were bailed out again by Areola, who denied Raul Jimenez when clean through.

Areola could do nothing about the opener, however.

Ivan Cavaleiro is dispossessed by Romain Saiss on his return to his former club on Sunday

Areola punches a Joao Moutinho free kick clear as Wolves looked to double their advantage

Mitrovic falls under the challenge of Kilman and Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves

Maxime Le Marchand did well to block Dendoncker’s powerful strike but the ball rebounded perfectly for Neto, who drove it low across Areola into the bottom corner with his left foot.

Soon after the goal, Ademola Lookman was brought on for his debut after joining on loan from RB Leipzig, and he should have created the equaliser. The winger spun inside his own half and found a glorious pass for Aleksandar Mitrovic, who squared for Kamara. Unmarked and 10 yards from goal, Kamara managed only to guide a weak shot into the arms of Patricio.

Fulham were much better after Lookman came on, running at Wolves for the first time and pushing them back. With time ticking away, substitute Neeskens Kebano powered on to a loose ball 20 yards out before lashing it narrowly over the bar. Fulham desperately need these moments to start falling in their favour. 

Wolves captain Conor Coady looks to organise his side attempted to hold onto their lead

The defeat means Scott Parker’s side have failed to pick up a point in their first four games

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