Adama Traore wins it at the death for Wolves

Adama Traore wins it at the death for Wolves

Wolverhampton Wanderers' Adama Traore (left) scores their side's winner 

FULHAM 0-1 WOLVES

Adama Traore scored an injury time winner to deny Scott Parker and his Fulham side the opportunity to start the weekend out of the relegation zone for the first time this year.

The Londoners have been widely tipped to climb up the table with their form since Christmas and drag Newcastle United into the drop zone.

This result means they are still three points behind Steve Bruce's side but have now played two more games. That they play each other on the last day of the season could still be decisive but the odds are now tipped firmly in favour of the north east side.

Fulham looked ill at ease throughout the match and would have lost by more had it not been for yet another controversial VAR decision that went in their favour.

Wolves, 14th and with no wins in five matches, were there for the taking and the Fulham manager knew it.

Some Fulham players appeared to be in tears as they left the pitch at the end because they had not been out played – more victims of their own inhibitions. This will be a tough defeat to come back from.

Wolves, with five Portuguese players in their side, looked like Portugal in their third choice burgundy and green strip. Initially they looked like they might play like them too, using their European skills to nearly take a lead with just over a minute gone.

Nelson Semedo, audibly coached throughout the match by captain Conor Coady, whipped the ball in from the right and Willian Jose flicked a header inches wide of a post.

Fulham, unsurprisingly edgy and tentative, had been warned.

They improved to an extent as the game progressed towards the half hour mark. One of many probing diagonal passes from defender Joachim Andersen found Antonio Robinson in space on the left and his cross towards Ruben Loftus-Cheek looked inch perfect. But the on loan Chelsea star betrayed why he has scored only once this season with a nervy glancing header wide of the target.

The England man rightly looked distraught but it freed up some of his team-mates to start playing and Aleksandar Mitrovic went close again soon after as his shot was blocked by Coady.

That also proved to be the last moment of action for Neto, who hobbled off to be replaced by Joao Moutinho.

What followed was not pretty stuff as both sides struggled to find any fluency or belief in their play.

Then came a crucial moment on the stroke of half-time when Wolves appeared to take the lead through a Jose header. Two minutes later and it was disallowed by VAR as Daniel Podence was adjudged to be offside – by the width of his underarm hair when he had sent in the cross.

The decision left a bitter taste for those of us with access to monitors at Craven Cottage and must have baffled those watching at home – apart from the presumably relieved and delighted Fulham fans.

The decision only seemed to spur Wolves on to try to avenge their perceived injustice and they were on top again after the break, at least in terms of possession.

Mitrovic broke the spell with a header that was comfortably saved by Rui Patricio on the hour. Parker had seen enough, sending on Frank Zambo Anguissa in place of the struggling Loftus-Cheek soon after.

Parker soon looked worried for his and Fulham's future when Ruben Neves was standing over a well-placed free-kick only for Roman Saiss to curl a shot over the bar.

He sent on striker for Josh Maja for the final 15 minutes or so and the former Sunderland man soon had an attempt on goal. Tense does not do it justice.

Ultimately it was the renowned pace and running power of Traore, the best player on the night, that sent him clear of the Fulham defence and he drilled a shot into the roof of the Fulham net with venom and conviction. There was no need for VAR and coming back from that.

Fulham: Areola 6, Tete 6, Andersen 7, Kongolo 6, Aina 6 (Cavaleiro 84), Lemina, Reed 6 (Maja 73), De Cordova Reid 6, Loftus-Cheek 5 (Zambo Anguissa 63), Robinson 6, Mitrovic 6. Subs: Fabri, Hector, Ream, Adarabioyo, Bryan, Onomah.

Wolves: Patricio 6, Semedo 7, Coady 6, Saiss 6, Ait-Nouri 6, Neves, Dendoncker, Neto 6 (Moutinho 32), Podence 6 (Gibbs-White 74), Traore 6, Willian Jose 5 (Silva 79). Subs: Ruddy, Hoever, Vitinha, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie.

Ref: Jonathan Moss 6

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox