Anwar El Ghazi fired home a stoppage-time penalty as Aston Villa claimed a 1-0 victory over Wolves at Molineux on Saturday lunchtime.
After a tentative start, Villa saw a shout for a penalty turned down after a VAR review, the ball striking Romain Saiss’ hand.
Ezri Konsa almost found the corner of the net with a flicked header from a Matty Cash throw-in.
A quick break then saw Pedro Neto burst forward, before he cut back for Daniel Podence, whose shot was deflected wide.
That set Wolves up for a spell of sustained pressure.
Emi Martinez was then forced into an excellent low save to keep out another strike – this time from outside the area from Podence.
Martinez was then on hand to keep out another fierce shot from Leander Dendoncker. That was spilled by the Argentine, but Tyrone Mings was alert to slide the loose ball clear.
A mistake from Jack Grealish then gift-wrapped a chance for Podence; his shot took a deflection and flashed narrowly wide.
It was Villa who started the second half on the front foot, with Douglas Luiz dragging a shot wide.
At the other end, a probing run and shot from Adama Traore drew a comfortable low save from Martinez. Similarly, a fine run and drive from Neto also had Martinez scrambling with his 20-yard effort flashing across goal.
Rui Patricio also made an excellent low save to push out a deflected Ollie Watkins shot.
Fabio Silva goes nearest to a goal so far in this afternoon's encounter ❌
The Wolves striker hits the post after a neat team move… pic.twitter.com/4etkdv1vCw
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 12, 2020
Pricey recruit Fabio Silva then saw a shot beat Martinez but bounce off the inside of the post following a neat team move.
Martinez then produced the save of the match to keep out Dendocker’s volley from 12 yards.
A late attack for Villa saw the visitors awarded a late penalty, after Nelson Semedo brought John McGinn down in the box. El Ghazi then fired powerfully into the corner to win the points for Dean Smith’s side. It was a nice way to mark his 500th game in management.
Mike Dean reaches 3,000 yellow cards
Truth be told, it was something of a drab affair at Molineux. Although not an ill-tempered affair referee Mike Dean handed out a total of 12 yellow cards. Two of these turned to late reds for Luiz and Joao Moutinho to leave both teams with 10 men.
Those cautions pushed the ref through the 3,000 yellow-card milestone over his long career. That was almost enough to ensure the referee took the headlines away from Villa; not that the Villans will care after a fourth away win of the season.