Walcott scores in Wolves draw

By SFC Media time Mon 23 Nov Wolves v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson
Mon 23 Nov 8PM
Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers
1
Southampton
1
Neto [75']
goal
Walcott [58']
Neves (44') Traoré (45+2')
yellow card
Referee: Andre Marriner | Venue: Molineux | Attendance: 0

Theo Walcott scored his first goal since completing his fairytale return to Southampton, as Saints extended their unbeaten run to seven Premier League games with a valuable point at Molineux.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side were on course for a fourth straight victory after Walcott swept them in front just shy of the hour mark, before the rejuvenated forward went close to a second 10 minutes later.

But Wolves, who kept Alex McCarthy on his toes throughout, struck back through substitute Pedro Neto 15 minutes from time to ensure a point apiece and a satisfactory result for both teams.

Manager Hasenhüttl made one change to his side that took to the field the night Saints hit the Premier League summit for the first time against Newcastle at St Mary’s.

Ryan Bertrand returned from injury to replace Jack Stephens at left-back, while Walcott continued up front alongside Ché Adams in the absence of top scorer Danny Ings, who was joined in the treatment room by Nathan Redmond, nursing a hamstring strain.

Bertrand was involved straightaway, twice crossing dangerously towards Adams, who was hunting his fourth goal in five games.

But Wolves responded by forcing two impressive saves in quick succession from McCarthy.

After João Moutinho struck the Saints wall from an inviting free-kick, Nélson Semedo thumped the loose ball goalwards to send McCarthy sprawling to his left, before the keeper climbed to his feet to throw himself at Leander Dendoncker’s follow-up, brilliantly diverting the rebound over the crossbar.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Alex McCarthy of Southampton saves during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton at Molineux on November 23, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Alex McCarthy spreads himself expertly to keep out Leander Dendoncker

It was an early scare for the visitors, but Saints had otherwise started well. Stuart Armstrong threaded a clever pass into the box for Walcott, whose low shot on the turn had to be smothered at the second attempt by Rui Patricio with Adams lurking.

Adams is Saints’ chief source of goals whilst Ings is sidelined, but the striker turned provider when he received a probing pass into his feet from Oriol Romeu, turned and slipped the ball in behind the Wolves defence for Armstrong.

Bursting beyond the forward line, the Scot had only Patrício to beat but was stretching slightly, and pulled his shot wide of the far post as the Portuguese stopper breathed a sigh of relief.

Saints were bossing the possession and Wolves were struggling to create chances from open play, but McCarthy was still being kept busy, particularly from set-pieces.

After Adama Traoré’s long-range effort had the sting taken out of it by a deflection off Romeu, McCarthy made a far more eye-catching save from Daniel Podence, who connected with a powerful header from Moutinho’s free-kick that needed to be tipped over. 

Goalless first halves are nothing new at Molineux, and that’s the way it stayed at the interval. 

But the hosts have a habit of coming on strong after the interval and Saints had some early warning signs to contend with when McCarthy was forced into another save from Podence, this time from a shot towards the near post, before Raúl Jiménez failed to connect strongly enough with a presentable headed chance.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Theo Walcott(R) of opens the scoring during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Southampton at Molineux on November 23, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Theo Walcott steers home from close range to convert Ché Adams's low cross

Another Wolves flurry successfully negotiated, Saints made their mark. After some admirable industry from Armstrong down the right, Djenepo’s deep cross from the left picked out Adams, who attempted to cushion a pass into Armstrong’s path.

Instead the ball bounced back off a defender and Adams got another chance, this time firing a low cross that took Patrício out of the equation and invited Walcott to sweep home his first goal in Saints colours since netting against MK Dons in January 2006.

The pair combined again soon after, when Adams sprayed one of his quarterback-style passes over the top for Walcott, who took the ball in his stride and went eye to eye with Patrício, only to drag his shot wide of the far post – a golden chance to double his tally and potentially put the game beyond the home team.

It would prove a key moment in the contest. Four minutes later, Nuno Espírito Santo introduced Neto into his attack and four minutes after that, the substitute levelled the scores.

There was an air of good fortune about it, as Jiménez drilled a powerful low shot against the post that could have rebounded anywhere but fell perfectly for the Portuguese winger, who duly dispatched the loose ball, as the outstanding McCarthy was finally beaten.

The England international was picking the ball out of his net again three minutes later when Jiménez thundered in a powerful header from another Moutinho free-kick, but the Mexican was flagged offside and Saints survived.

Wolves had their tails up and were finishing the stronger side, but McCarthy made another save, this time with an outstretched foot, to thwart Neto – the man who denied him the clean sheet his performance merited.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    45
    comparison angle
    55
  • Shots
    20
    comparison angle
    7
  • Shots on target
    9
    comparison angle
    2
  • Corners
    7
    comparison angle
    4
  • Passes Complete
    335
    comparison angle
    422

Wolverhampton Wanderers

11
Rui Patrício (GK)
22
Nélson Semedo
49
Maximilian Kilman
15
Willy Boly
3
Rayan Aït-Nouri
8
Rúben Neves (C) yellow card
replace Pedro Neto (70′) goal
28
João Moutinho
32
Leander Dendoncker
10
Daniel Podence
replace Vitinha (85′)
9
Raúl Jiménez
37
Adama Traoré yellow card
5
Marçal
54
Owen Otasowie
2
Ki-Jana Hoever
20
Vitinha
21
John Ruddy
7
Pedro Neto
17
Fábio Silva

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
35
Jan Bednarek
4
Jannik Vestergaard
2
Kyle Walker-Peters
3
Ryan Bertrand
6
Oriol Romeu
17
Stuart Armstrong
replace Ibrahima Diallo (90′)
8
James Ward-Prowse (C)
12
Moussa Djenepo
replace Shane Long (79′)
10
Che Adams
32
Theo Walcott goal
23
Nathan Tella
14
Michael Obafemi
7
Shane Long
40
Daniel N'Lundulu
44
Fraser Forster
27
Ibrahima Diallo
5
Jack Stephens
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