By Richard Morgan
Football journalist - @Richiereds1976
Cardiff 2-1 Wolves: Junior Hoilett stunner hands Neil Warnock perfect 70th birthday present
Highlights and report as hosts win just a third league game of the season
Last Updated: 01/12/18 7:40am
Junior Hoilett's breathtaking strike saw Cardiff come from behind to beat Wolves 2-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Matt Doherty's close-range finish put Wolves ahead after 18 minutes, the Republic of Ireland international's second goal of the season coming on his 200th appearance for the club.
However, Aron Gunnarsson's scruffy effort levelled matters for Cardiff after 65 minutes, before Hoilett's stunning long-range curler turned the game on its head 12 minutes later.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Ecuele Manga (6), Morrison (6), Bamba (8), Victor Camarasa (6), Gunnarsson (8), Ralls (7), Arter (8), Hoilett (9), Paterson (7), Josh Murphy (8)
Subs: Reid (6) Harris (6)
Wolves: Rui Patricio (6), Saiss (6), Coady (7), Boly (6), Doherty (7), Neves (6), Joao Moutinho (6), Ruben Vinagre (6), Helder Costa (5), Traore (5), Jimenez (5)
Subs: Cavaleiro (6), Gibbs-White (6), Jota (7)
Man of the match: Junior Hoilett
The win sees Cardiff move out of the relegation zone after recording back-to-back top-flight home wins for the first time since 1961-62, while the visitors stay 11th after extending their winless league run to six games.
Cardiff have struggled defending set pieces this season and their problems continued on Friday as the home defence failed to deal with Joao Moutinho's right-wing corner early on in the encounter.
An early birthday present for Neil Warnock who turns 7️⃣0️⃣ tomorrow as his @CardiffCityFC side beat Wolves 2-1 🎁🎂🍾— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 30, 2018
They have now won 3️⃣ games after conceding 1st - more than any other side in the @premierleague this season pic.twitter.com/g0QDen0PEr
Raul Jimenez got in front of his marker at the near post to power a header goalwards, only for Neil Etheridge to deny the Mexico international with a brilliant reaction save low down to his right.
Unluckily for the Cardiff goalkeeper, though, the ball fell straight at Doherty's feet, with the wing back making no mistake with a composed left-footed strike from four yards out, the seventh time the hosts have conceded from a set play in the league this campaign.
Neil Warnock's team were desperately close to going in at the break on level terms, however, after Joe Ralls' corner was not properly cleared, Harry Arter's effort curled against the post with Rui Patricio beaten.
Arter also very nearly equalised just after the hour-mark, but his goalbound volley was deflected behind for a corner by Conor Coady on the line, from which the home side did deservedly score from.
Cardiff made two changes from their 1-0 loss at Everton last weekend with Junior Hoilett and Josh Murphy replacing Kadeem Harris and Greg Cunningham.
Meanwhile, Wolves also made two alterations from the side that lost at home to Huddersfield last time out, with Romain Saiss coming in for Ryan Bennett at the back, while Adama Traore replaced Ivan Cavaleiro on the left of a front three.
Again, that man Arter was involved as the resulting left-wing corner found its way through to the midfielder, lurking unmarked on the edge of the area. Arter's up and under then caused panic in the Wolves defence, allowing Gunnarsson to nip in to score his first Premier League goal for five years.
And with 13 minutes to go, Cardiff took the lead in spectacular fashion as Ralls' inviting ball in from the left eventually fell to Hoilett on the left edge of the area.
The Canadian, playing as a left wing back in a reshaped back line, still had to work to do to score, however, the 28-year-old managed to beat Patricio with a sublime strike that went in off the bar to hand Warnock the ideal 70th birthday present.
- This was the first time Wolves have lost a league game that they opened the scoring in since February 2017 (1-2 v Burton Albion), ending a run of 44 such games without defeat
- Cardiff have won three of the last four Premier League home games in which they've conceded the first goal (D1), coming back to win against Fulham (4-2), Brighton (2-1) and Wolves (2-1)
- Cardiff have picked up nine of their 11 Premier League points this season from trailing positions, the joint-most in the division alongside Arsenal
- 91% of Cardiff's points in the Premier League this season have been won on home soil (10/11); the highest ratio in the competition
- Since the start of last season, Junior Hoilett has been directly involved in more league goals (21 - 10 goals, 11 assists) than any other Cardiff player
- Among defenders, only Jose Holebas (6) and Benjamin Mendy (5) have been directly involved in more Premier League goals than Wolves' Matt Doherty this season (4 - two goals, two assists)
Neil Warnock: "I was really proud of them tonight. We were 1-0 down at half-time - I didn't think we deserved to be, but that's how it was. I thought, second half, we were on the front foot, most of the time, really.
"Gunnars [Aron Gunnarsson] knows he made a mistake; we'd just told him about Doherty pulling off and making sure to get the second ball but he's apologised. I thought, second half, we had some good opportunities. Yes, we could get caught on the break but I thought we wanted it more tonight."
Nuno Espirito Santo: "I'm cautious of the moment we have now, it's a lot of games without a win, and knowing there's only one way - stick together and work harder.
"You can't buy confidence, but I think we were better than last weekend, I thought we were in control of it and there weren't many chances for them - although set pieces were always a problem.
"The first goal is too easy the way they scored. After that, it became very difficult. It's hard when you have the lead and lose the game. Usually it's one of the things that we preserve well, but we had chances to come out and our first pass was poor. We needed more possession."
Man of the Match - Junior Hoilett
Warnock admitted after the game that he had had a sleepless night on Thursday having decided to utilise Hoilett in an unfamiliar wing-back role against Wolves.
However, the Cardiff boss need not have worried as the versatile Canada international's brilliant late goal gave his side all three points in South Wales.
And what's more, it was the player's first Premier League goal for a whole six years in what was also his 50th appearance for Cardiff at home.
Cardiff take on West Ham United at the London Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, Wolves face high-flying Chelsea at Molineux the following night, with both those Premier League clashes kicking off at 7.45pm.