Aston Villa 2 (Ings 48, McGinn 68) Wolves 3 (Saiss 80, Coady 85, Neves 90+5)
Every so often football throws up occasions which you quite simply can’t believe, which is exactly what happened in the final 10 minutes at Villa Park. Wolves looked dead and buried at 2-0 down but showed guts in abundance to stage the most dramatic of comebacks and claim the West Midlands bragging rights.
Danny Ings and John McGinn had Villa on course for all three points, but when Romain Saiss slid home, he breathed new life into the old gold, who found an equaliser through captain Conor Coady, bundling home Leander Dendoncker’s head at the back post for 2-2 with five remaining.
Yet, somehow, there was more drama to come. Ruben Neves was the man responsible this time, watching his free-kick take a sizeable deflection to take it away from Emiliano Martinez and spark absolute pandemonium in the away end. Three wins from three for Wolves, but this tasted the sweetest.
The opening period at Villa Park was as hotly-contest as expected, with both sides enjoying clear-cut chances, but finding the two goalkeepers in inspired form. Emiliano Buendia and McGinn had both fired warning signs wide for the hosts during a lively opening period, before the big moment came on 27 minutes.
Buendia, who enjoyed plenty of the ball in the opening period, slipped in former Southampton striker Ings, known for his deadly finishing, but as he got his shot away, Jose Sa stuck out a strong right arm to turn away the powerful effort and keep Wolves level.
Just four minutes later and the visitors enjoyed their own big chance. This time it was the creation of just one man, Adama Traore, who skipped past McGinn and Douglas Luiz on halfway, charged through the Villa defence, leaving Tyrone Mings in his wake, but when it came to the shot, the Spaniard opted for central, allowing Martinez to save with his feet.
From that point, half-chances for both sides came and went, with Coady and Saiss within inches of turning in a devilish delivery by Neves, while Matty Cash lashed an effort over the bar for Villa, as the two sides went in level at the break.
Half-time | Aston Villa 0-0 Wolves
Bruno Lage will have been happy with his team’s efforts during the first-half, but the second couldn’t have started much worse. Within two minutes the hosts took the lead as McGinn got the better of Saiss and put his cross in an area for Ings to attack, and once the former Southampton man got in ahead of Coady, he guided his header into the corner.
Then, when Hee Chan Hwang gave the ball away in a dangerous area, Villa moved further away from their opponents. Ollie Watkins had the first effort but was denied, but the ball fell invitingly for McGinn, who let fly and benefitted from a huge deflection off Neves, which took the ball away Sa agonisingly.
Wolves looked dead and buried, but that was far from the case and the drama had only just begun. It was a piece of genius from Neves which cut Villa’s defence in two and found substitute Daniel Podence, who slipped across goal for Saiss to slide in at the back post and bring the game back to life.
That was ten minutes to go, but what was just the start of the fun. Five minutes later, another set piece and Traore worked an opening to clip a free-kick to the back post, which Leander Dendoncker nodded back into an area, and as the ball ricocheted off Coady and trickled, Wolves were level and the away end was alight.
Another ten minutes passed, we were now deep into injury time, and the stage was set. Traore had won yet another free-kick in a perfect area for Neves, who stood over the ball, took a breath and let fly, and while another huge deflection was timely, Wolves didn’t care – they won the game right at the death to spark absolute pandemonium in the away end, celebrations which flowed well after the full-time whistle.
Full-time | Aston Villa 2-3 Wolves
Villa | Martinez, Cash (Young 79), Konsa, Mings, Tuanzebe, Targett, Luiz (Nakamba 67), McGinn, Buendia (Ramsey 74), Watkins, Ings.
Unused subs | Steer, Sanson, El Ghazi, Hause, Philogence-Bidace, Archer.
Wolves | Sa, Semedo, Kilman, Coady, Saiss, Marcal (Podence 74), Neves, Moutinho (Silva 74), Dendoncker, Traore, Hwang (Jimenez 88).
Unused subs | Ruddy, Moulden, Hoever, Ait-Nouri, Boly, Cundle.