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Last gasp Wolves ravage pointless West Ham

MATCH WINNER: Adama Traore

WOLVES LEFT it late in east London but the move that crafted substitute Adama Traore’s second half added-time winner detailed their class and West Ham’s ineptitude.

In what proved to be the last meaningful attack, Carlos Sanchez ceded possession in midfield and Leo Bonatini, another Wolves substitute, slid in Traore whose low drive beat Lukasz Fabianski at his near post.

Victory marked Wolves’ first Premier League win since February 4 2012 and much has changed at the club during the intervening period. The quality that fills the ranks of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side, evident throughout this contest as it was during last weekend’s encounter with champions Manchester City, marks out a team equipped to do more than merely survive in this division.

By contrast, West Ham and Manuel Pellegrini have reached the start of September with four defeats from four in the league and talk of a crisis gathering momentum despite an excess of £100m being spent during the summer.

It is difficult to see where Pellegrini’s disjointed side will pick up points in the weeks ahead given their arduous fixture list. They remain bottom and pointless.

Wolves started this match as favourites in most quarters and largely justified that billing. There was an openness that saw both Felipe Anderson and Matt Doherty force early saves, but the momentum did not last. The subdued pace appeared to suit the visitors, who named an unchanged starting XI for the fourth consecutive Premier League match.

There was a cohesiveness to Wolves, which was most striking in the comfort of their midfield pairing of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves, particularly when compared to their West Ham counterparts of Jack Wilshere and Sanchez.

Espirito Santo’s men could afford to bide their time, with greater pressure on West Ham to force the issue having lost their opening three league matches. Pellegrini’s charges laboured, Wolves were the better team, but chances were initially sporadic at both ends.

There were groans around the London Stadium when referee Christopher Kavanagh blew his whistle to confirm a goalless first half.

Matters improved after the interval. Michail Antonio and Marko Arnautovic both drew smart saves from Rui Patricio. At the other end, a Moutinho free-kick extended Fabianksi, who was equal to the task of repelling the Portuguese’s effort.

West Ham’s Polish custodian also excelled in blocking Wolves substitute Leo Bonatini’s low shot and watched on as another substitute, the hosts’ Pedro Obiang, drilled an attempt narrowly wide.

There was also a litany of interceptions and blocks in defence that preserved Patricio’s clean sheet.

Until Traore’s intervention, the most memorable moment of the match threatened to be Raul Jimenez’s missed opportunity as the game entered its frantic final stages. Neves launched a raking pass to Doherty in space on the Wolves’ right. His cross seemed perfect for Jimenez, but the Mexican could not sort out his feet with the goal at his mercy.

It did not matter in the end but West Ham’s suffering endures.

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