Southampton 1 – 2 Wolves. Ten-man Wolves ramped up the pressure on Southampton manager Nathan Jones as they fought back to claim a dramatic victory over the Premier League’s bottom side at St Mary’s.
January signing Joao Gomes, 21, scored the winner on his debut for Julen Lopetegui’s side, an hour after Mario Lemina had been dismissed with a second yellow card for dissent.
Carlos Alcaraz had already put the struggling hosts ahead before Lemina’s sending-off, but the Saints were unable to extend their lead against stubborn opposition in front of increasingly anxious home support.
Wolves’ persistence eventually told after 72 minutes when Jan Bednarek inadvertently bundled the ball over the line after getting in the way of Adama Traore’s shot.
The mood among the home support worsened as Gomes fired in to complete a remarkable turnaround before the full-time whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos.
The defeat left Southampton four points from safety, while 15th-placed Wolves moved five points clear of the relegation place.
Lopetegui and Jones were appointed to their respective positions within the same week in November, but their two situations could not be more different three months later.
While former Real Madrid manager Lopetegui has more than doubled Wolves’ points tally after seven Premier League games in charge, rock-bottom Southampton have now lost seven of eight under Jones.
The travelling Saints fans had made their feelings clear as they watched their side slump to defeat at Brentford last weekend, where chants of “Nathan Jones, get out of our club” came from the away section.
Jones only added to the unrest with his ill-received post-match comments – although he insisted this week that he had been accepting responsibility rather than deflecting blame for poor results.
To lose this match under the circumstances, having led with a man advantage at half-time, is deeply damaging and it remains to be seen whether Jones can survive this latest blow.
The Saints fans had every right to voice their frustrations again on home soil as they watched their side collapse in the final 20 minutes to equal the worst home league run in the club’s history.
In stark contrast, this is a Wolves side beginning to demonstrate obvious progress under Lopetegui, and this impressive comeback earned consecutive league wins for the first time since March 2022.
Wolves dig in to edge away from trouble
An eventful three-minute spell in the first half looked to have set up the perfect afternoon for Jones.
Argentine 20-year-old Alcaraz lifted the mood among the home support with a goal on his first league start for the club, as his reactive finish went in off the foot of the post.
Lemina was booked for a foul on Alcaraz after nine minutes, then saw red as he ran towards referee Jarred Gillett amid appeals for a penalty.
But, to Wolves’ credit, Southampton was never allowed to settle as the visitors worker tirelessly to compensate for their numerical disadvantage.
Lopetegui’s side always appeared the more likely to go on and win the match following Bednarek’s unfortunate own goal, attempting nine shots to Southampton’s five in the second half.
Substitute Gomes’ fine side-footed finish three minutes from time clinched a remarkable victory – and Wolves can further distance themselves from trouble when they meet Bournemouth next weekend.
Amid a hugely disappointing day for Southampton, one sole cause for optimism was the impressive performance by 20-year-old club record signing Kamaldeen Sulemana, who demonstrated his pace, trickery and willingness to shoot in a promising full debut.
source – BBC