Free highlights and match report as Rayan Ait-Nouri snatches dramatic late win for Wolves at Everton; Frank Lampard suffers fourth straight defeat in all competitions despite Yerry Mina's seventh-minute opener; Daniel Podence equalised for Wolves, who rise to 18th in table
Tuesday 27 December 2022 07:33, UK
New Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui marked his Premier League bow with a dramatic late win as Rayan Ait-Nouri's 95th-minute strike secured a 2-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park which moved Wolves off the bottom of the table.
The Spaniard saw his side reach the Carabao Cup quarter-finals in midweek with victory over Gillingham, but Yerry Mina provided Everton with the perfect start when he flashed home a header (7) from Dwight McNeil's corner to mark his return to the team.
Wolves settled and levelled when Joao Moutinho expertly spotted the run of Daniel Podence in a fine move started from a cleverly-worked set-piece (22).
It seemed neither side had done enough to turn one point into three during a tense second half, but, deep into stoppage time, Wolves broke upfield and Adama Traore's cross was deflected into Ait-Nouri's path for an untidy but priceless finish.
The win moves Wolves on to 13 points in 18th place, one position and one point below Everton following their fourth straight defeat in all competitions to heap the pressure on Frank Lampard.
Lopetegui said: "Of course we always believed we could win. We came here for that. We know that it was a very hard task but we always have to believe in ourselves.
"I feel we've done a good match against a very good team and we're happy but only a little bit. It is only one step and we have a very hard task in front of us. I never celebrate goals like this but I know you can suffer. I usually only celebrate at the end!"
Everton: Pickford (6), Patterson (7), Mina (7), Tarkowski (6), Mykolenko (6), Iwobi (6), Gueye (7), Onana (6), Gordon (7), McNeil (5), Maupay (5).
Subs: Gray (5), Doucoure (5), Godfrey (6), Cannon (6).
Wolves: Jose Sa (6), Nelson Semedo (7), Collins (6), Kilman (6), Bueno (7), Hodge (5), Neves (7), Joao Moutinho (7), Daniel Podence (8), Costa (6), Hwang (6).
Subs: Ait Nouri (7), Toti (7), Matheus Nunes (6), Adama Traore (6), Guedes (6).
Man of the match: Daniel Podence.
You would have thought Lopetegui had been in place as Wolves manager for as long as their five-year stay in the Premier League. The way in which he and his coaching staff came together in an impassioned huddle to celebrate Ait-Nouri's winner with virtually the last kick of his first league game in charge had echoes of Nuno Espirito Santo.
This was a smash-and-grab at the end of an encounter littered with mistakes but Wolves have the quality to pull themselves clear from danger.
Everton had lost their last two Premier League games against Wolves, as many as they had in their previous 12 - but the hosts got off to the perfect start when Mina glanced home McNeil's corner on seven minutes. Mina, who was returning from a four-month lay-off, was too strong for Hugo Bueno as the Colombian found the bottom corner with a precise header.
Wolves had lost seven of their previous nine Premier League games, taking just four points from a possible 27, but they responded well to the setback. On 22 minutes, Podence finished off a fine team move to level with his third goal of the campaign.
Ruben Neves worked the short-corner routine well with Podence to pick out his Portuguese compatriot Moutinho on the edge of the box and, as the veteran midfielder appeared to be winding up a shot, he saw Podence's run behind Nathan Patterson in his peripheral vision to set up the forward, who collected the outrageous flick before slotting underneath Jordan Pickford.
Aged 36 years and 109 days, Moutinho became the third oldest player to assist a goal for Wolves in the Premier League, behind only Denis Irwin and Paul Ince.
Lopetegui was aiming to be the first manager to win his first top-flight game in charge of Wolves since John Barnwell in November 1978, but the Spaniard ought to have watched his side fall behind again when Nathan Collins' slack clearance was collected by Idrissa Gueye. The Everton midfielder picked out Anthony Gordon's fine diagonal run but his finish was telegraphed and easy for Jose Sa to gather.
There were smatterings of jeers to greet the half-time whistle but Lampard's team talk produced an encouraging initial response from Everton after the restart.
Patterson's delivery from McNeil's short corner was kept alive by James Tarkowski only for Alex Iwobi to head at Sa, albeit from an offside position. Wolves grew in confidence, however, as Podence set up Bueno for a low shot that was batted away by Pickford.
Lopetegui looked to Traore to inject further urgency during a fractious second period low on quality as stray pass after stray pass added to the endless cycle of tension that returned for both sides 45 days after their last Premier League outing.
Mina had performed admirably for 75 minutes before a tight hamstring complaint forced his withdrawal as Ben Godfrey made his first appearance since August following a fractured fibula.
Demarai Gray saw a free-kick whistle just wide and Everton came closer when Gordon's shot was deflected into the path of Godfrey but Neves hooked his shot off the line.
It had been a second period in which the home side would double the attempts of their opponents, but as the restless home crowd urged their team forward, Everton were not set for the counter-attack as Wolves bared their teeth to snatch all three points.
Captain Neves said: "It was a great re-start for us. We worked a lot during the week and the set pieces are a massive part of the game. It was amazing and it meant a lot for us.
"It was a final for us and every game will be a final now. As a team we did very well and handled Everton's pressure. It's a really hard place to come and play but I think we deserved the win."
On the impact of new manager Lopetegui, Neves added: "It's a lot of impact. He is a really experienced manager. He has been working at big teams before and everyone is improving a lot. There's a lot of room to improve but it was a really good result for us."
Everton boss Frank Lampard: "We played well and were the better team. We controlled the game but unfortunately if we're not clinical these things can happen in football."
On the fans groaning before Wolves' second goal while in possession, Lampard added: "I played for 20 years as a player - it can affect them. I actually liked the way we played."
"The effort and the energy was there and we did enough to win the game I thought. The performance was there to win the game. We have Dominic Calvert-Lewin coming back soon and we'll see [about other transfer targets]. We need to be clinical.
"The boos were understandable versus Bournemouth. I would love the crowd to stick by them. I don't want to be too negative to them. We have to take it on the chin and we have to go again - this is football."
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui: "They scored from their first corner which isn't easy for your mentality but we had the chance to show our character and belief in ourselves. As a team it was important today and it'll be important in all the matches. You can always lose games as that is football but you must always remain focused until the very end.
"The atmosphere at every English ground is extraordinary and this stadium is fantastic. I'm happy for my fans as they needed good news. It is only one step and we're going to enjoy today but from tomorrow we're going to start to think about Manchester United.
"We've not done anything yet and we have to be aware of that. We have to be aware that we can do better. We have to believe in ourselves while knowing that each match in the Premier League is a hard task."
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:
"The Boxing Day visit of bottom side Wolves represented a hugely-significant restart to the Premier League for Everton. Lampard's team had lost five of the previous seven, taking just four points from a possible 21, and sat just a point outside the bottom three.
"They had won just three times as last season's dreadful form continued into another campaign so the break for the World Cup did them a favour in stopping the bleeding for a time at least.
"It was a chance for the hosts to reset but come May, the outcome of this fixture could well be viewed as a significant moment, and the manner of Wolves' late victory could have serious ramifications for Everton.
"It would have been a mixed reaction to the final whistle had this game ended 1-1 but the mood sharply turned toxic.
"Would a draw have put pressure on Lampard? It felt like a game he could not lose, but the manner in which his side contrived to throw away a point will have alarm bells ringing once more among supporters and members of the Everton board.
"Lampard, along with those left shell-shocked inside Goodison as Ait-Nouri led a merry jig in front of the jubilant Wolves supporters after full-time, will reflect on a familiar feeling. A lack of cutting edge has plagued Everton all season, and here there certainly were chances to have turned this into a routine home win.
"With Manchester City away next, it does not get any easier. They performed well in the practice games leading up to this in Australia and behind closed doors in beating Aston Villa this week but Lampard is starting to feel the heat.
"The Everton boss had defiantly said prior to kick off that his side were motoring along nicely before seven days pre-World Cup which 'tainted' the first 15 weeks of the Premier League season.
"Certainly the events at Bournemouth across two resounding defeats changed the complexion of Everton's start to Lampard's first full season in charge, but all momentum has now been lost.
"Lampard had told his players to be 'grown-ups' about their predicament by rolling up their sleeves in the hectic festive schedule but they could not cut out the noise here. Not with their fans urging them forward and leaving the back door so wide open.
"Lopetegui has wasted little time in strengthening his Wolves squad with the arrival of Matheus Cunha from January 1 and Lampard must hope for the same if he is to be afforded time to cure Everton and avoid another winter of discontent."
Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:
"The spirit of Wolves is being breathed back into them by an established manager, whose substitutions highly influenced proceedings on Merseyside.
"Lopetegui opted to move to a back five in the closing stages as Toti was brought on alongside Max Kilman and Nathan Collins. With the pace of Ait-Nouri and Traore on the counter, it would prove a very shrewd move and the first return on the club's investment.
"This game was meandering towards a draw between two teams low on confidence when Lopetegui turned to his coaching staff and plotted a route to victory which played out just as he would have imagined it. Three of his five replacements were involved to rouse Wolves from the foot of the table.
"Max Kilman's important intervention wiped Abdoulaye Doucoure out of the game as Matheus Nunes drove forward and immediately found Traore down the right. Tarkowski backed off to allow his team-mates time to retreat but after his cross seeking Diego Costa deflected kindly off Vitalii Mykolenko, Ait-Nouri took one touch and finished beyond Pickford from close range.
"Earlier, Toti had superbly taken a Patterson cross off the head of Tom Cannon, denying a certain goal. Raul Jimenez was so often the man both Espirito Santo and Bruno Lage would turn to, but after the Mexican made his allegiances known prior to the World Cup by conducting his own personal training from afar, the striker was snubbed here.
"Lopetegui is sending the message that he has options and wants only those who are fully committed to his project.
"Traore was so often Wolves' not-so-secret weapon off the bench to stretch tired defences but after scoring in the midweek victory over Gillingham, Ait-Nouri is developing his own knack of arriving into the box at the right moment.
"Given Wolves' historical struggles in front of goal, Lopetegui's encouragement towards his new set of players to be more creative is already bringing about the much-desired managerial bounce."
Lopetegui knows there is still plenty of work to do, and he said that each of Wolves' remaining Premier League games is a final. Here, he won the first of those in part due to the craft of Daniel Podence, who took his goal extremely well to ensure Everton didn't build on their fine start.
Everton visit Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad on New Year's Eve; kick-off 3pm. Wolves host Manchester United at 12.30pm at Molineux on the same day.