Wolves extended their lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship as Ruben Neves' second goal of the season earned his side a 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
It took some time for the momentum of the game to build and though Wednesday created the first chances of the evening, it was the visitors who drew first blood when Neves arrived on the edge of the box and produced a composed finish from more than 20 yards (34).
The hosts had a number of opportunities to get themselves back into the tie, though they were left frustrated in their efforts and lost Morgan Fox to a second yellow card late on.
The result increases the gap between Wolves and second-placed Cardiff, who host Hull on Sky Sports Football on Saturday evening, while the Owls remain in 15th and could drop further should results go against them this weekend.
Sheff Wed: Wildsmith (6), Palmer (6), Loovens (6), Van Aken (7), Fox (6), Wallace (6), Butterfield (6), Jones (6), Reach (6), Rhodes (5), Hooper (5)
Subs: Joao (5), Nuhiu (5)
Wolves: Ruddy (6), Vinagre (6), Boly (7), Coady (6), Bennett (6), Doherty (6), Neves (8), Saiss (6), Jota (6), Cavaleiro (6), Bonatini (5)
Subs: Batth (5), Costa (6), N'Diaye (N/A)
Man of the match: Ruben Neves
Such was Wolves' dominance in the league, the stalemate against struggling Sunderland last weekend was unordinary and Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal - serving a one-game touchline ban - would have no doubt been encouraged with his side's start.
Adam Reach almost opened the scoring when he side-footed wide after Jordan Rhodes' knockdown, and within moments Joost van Aken forced a low save from John Ruddy. It appeared Wednesday were beginning to assert themselves, but within 10 minutes they were behind.
Not too many changes for either side for this one - just one for Wolves and two for the Owls. For Wolves, Ruben Vinagre replaced Barry Douglas, while Barry Bannan and Keiran Westwood made way for Jacob Butterfield and Joe Wildsmith in the hosts' starting 11.
Forward for a Wolves free-kick, Willy Boly inadvertently turned Ivan Cavaleiro's free-kick away from goal and, with Gary Hooper unable to reach the loose ball, Neves passed it beyond the reach of Joe Wildsmith.
The Owls flew out of the traps in the second half, eager to pin their opponents back from the offset and were left wanting after an hour when Hooper headed Reach's cross just behind the onrushing Ross Wallace.
The Hillsborough faithful seemed to rouse the Wednesday players in the second half and Carvalhal's double change of Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu looked to be close to forcing an equaliser, but though the pair acquitted themselves well the equaliser just did not come.
And when Helder Costa's footwork on the right flank got the better of Fox, the defender tripped the Portuguese playmaker and ensured the night ended in frustration for Wednesday as he received his marching orders.
Man of the match - Ruben Neves
A really well-taken goal and an all-round impressive performance from Neves. Judging by his performances this season, it will not be long before the midfielder is playing at the top level once more.
Carlos Carvalhal: "It's very hard to talk about this game, I thought we prepared very well. We have a clear definition of the type of press we must do to Wolves. We blocked their dynamic completely - it was very difficult for them to achieve goal situations.
"The goal came from nothing, from a free-kick - I'm not sure it was a free-kick. We should have achieved a draw in my opinion. We played against a strong opponent with a lot of players out and we must give congratulations to Wolverhampton because they have a good team but I think we deserve a little more than nothing."
Nuno Espirito Santo: "I think it was deserved but it was tough. Second half when Sheffield put all these big guys, we struggled but had to defend and be strong. Congratulations to the Sheffield boys because they fought really hard.
"Patience takes away the intensity. Let's control the game, but always threaten - that's the way I like to say it. It shows the character of the boys, knowing that we just have to stick together as a team. We try to achieve what we do every game - fight, enjoy and win!"
Both sides are in action at home in their final pre-Christmas fixtures next Saturday afternoon. Wolves entertain Ipswich at Molineux, while the Owls welcome Garry Monk's Middlesbrough side to Hillsborough - both get underway at 3pm.