Theo Walcott scores first Southampton goal in almost 15 years in draw with Wolves  

 Pedro Neto strikes to rescue Wolves after Saints took the lead
Theo Walcott scores first Southampton goal in almost 15 years in draw with Wolves  

Southampton's Theo Walcott (left) has a chance to score against Wolves in the Premier League match at Molineux. PIcture:  Oli Scarff/PA Wire

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Southampton 1 

Theo Walcott’s first League goal for Southampton for nearly 15 years looked like putting them third in the Premier League until Pedro Neto rescued a deserved point for Wolves.

Walcott, on loan from Everton, netted his first goal for Saints since a 1-0 victory against Luton in December 2005, 14 years and 347 days ago, when he scored in the 58th minute.

But substitute Neto put Wolves level to hand Nuno Espirito Santo’s side a point.

Wolves bore an unfamiliar look, which perhaps contributed to their defensive uncertainty in the opening stages.

Conor Coady, their captain, was missing for the first time since September 30, 2017 to end a run of 121 consecutive League appearances and there was a switch a flat back four for the first time under Nuno. Coady was absent having had to train on his own despite testing negative for Covid-19, which forced him back from England duty.

Wolves were forced into plenty of defending early on, as their new formation was tested to the max. They were lucky Che Adams wasn’t sharp enough to react to a cross from Ryan Bertrand.

But after weathering the storm, they were only prevented from taking the lead by two outstanding pieces of goalkeeping from Alex McCarthy.

The Southampton shotstopper first pushed away a shot from Nelson Semedo, then pulled off a truly outstanding stop, getting a shoulder to Leander Dendoncker's shot to divert it over.

Southampton continued to look a threat however and Rui Patricio was well placed to cut out an angled shot from Walcott.

Wolves, though struggling to break down Southampton in open play, were a threat from set-pieces, especially with Joao Moutinho restored to the starting line-up.

It was from a Moutinho free kick that the home side created their next opening, when Daniel Podence’s glancing header was tipped over.

Wolves started the second half at a higher tempo. Raul Jimenez’s glancing header flew across goal instead of towards it before Podence’s rising drive was fingertipped over.

But just as Wolves seemed to be building a head of steam, they conceded. Walcott tapped home from two yards out after Semedo was caught out at the far post when Adams crossed.

Soon after it should have been 2-0. A routine ball from Adams caught the home defence napping and Walcott, clean through, dragged his shot just wide with Patricio to beat.

Wolves remained a threat and substitute Neto, on for Ruben Neves, saw a shot blocked after Traore then Podence passed up the opportunity.

Neto wasn’t to be denied in his next however. Jimenez’s shot on the turn hit the base of the right-hand post, but the substitute coolly sidefooted home the rebound.

Neto was a lively customer and he tried his luck again, this time McCarthy blocking his low attempt with his legs after Jimenez fed him on the overlap.

WOLVES (4-1-2-3): Patricio 7; Semedo 5, Boly 6, Kilman 7, Ait-Nouri 6; Neves 6 (Neto 71, 8); Dendoncker 6, Moutinho 6; Traore 6, Jimenez 6, Podence 7 (Vitinha 85, 6).

Not used: Ruddy, Hoever, Marcal, Silva, Otasowie.

SOUTHAMPTON (4-2-2-2): McCarthy 7; Walker-Peters 7, Vestergaard 7, Bednarek 7, Bertrand 8; Romeu 7, Djenepo 7 (Long 79, 5); Ward-Prowse 7, Armstrong 8 (Diallo 89, 6); Adams 8, Walcott 7.

Not used: Forster, Stephens, Obafemi, Tella, N’Lundulu.

Referee: Andre Marriner.

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