Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said his side must show “big character” after a sixth defeat in seven games saw opponents Wolves climb above them into seventh.

Raul Jimenez got his fifth goal of the season for the opener, turning in Diogo Jota’s deflected shot after a bad Charlie Daniels error.

It was a gift of a goal that came against the run of play and from the first half’s only attempt on target before Jefferson Lerma hit a tame shot in added time.

Jota picked up an injury and was replaced at the break by Helder Costa, who should have doubled Wolves’ lead but fired rashly wide with only Asmir Begovic to beat.

Bournemouth top scorer Callum Wilson returned from injury shortly after as a substitute, but it was Junior Stanislas who almost found the equaliser with a free-kick that rattled Rui Patricio’s crossbar.

In driving rain, Howe’s side dominated possession with much of the match played in Wolves’ half, but they failed to find a way through a solid defence.

And they were punished on the break as they threw everything forward in injury time, with substitute Ivan Cavaleiro finishing coolly in an easy one-on-one set up by Costa’s pass on the halfway line.

“A lot of our build-up play was very good, but the killer instinct wasn’t. We didn’t create many real clear-cut chances. We’ve got to be very strong, show big character and come through this bad form,” Howe told BBC Sport.

“Confidence is such a delicate thing. You can’t overestimate the importance of losing key individuals to injury but that’s no excuse, that’s what you have a squad for.

“We dominated the ball today and made two big mistakes for the goals. Wolves are very good at soaking pressure and hitting on the counter. It was a frustrating afternoon.”

Wolves are now one point behind sixth-placed Manchester United, who play away to Liverpool on Sunday, while Bournemouth slip to 11th.

Wolves’ tight defence impresses again

In their previous top flight season in 2011-12, Wolves finished on 25 points and were relegated as the bottom side.

They have already matched that points total thanks to Saturday’s win and victories against Chelsea at home and Newcastle away. It is the first time Wolves have won three in a row in the top flight since 1980.

Jota scored two goals in those previous two wins and he played a big role in the opener at Molineux on Saturday.

From a certain angle he looked to have cleverly disguised a shot to pick out Jimenez to his right, but in fact it was a deflected effort that clipped Steve Cook’s heels and fell favourably to the Mexico striker for an easy finish.

However, Jota was taken off at the break after emerging injured from a collision with Cook when he was clear on goal. The referee decided Cook’s challenge was fair, although Jota appeared to land awkwardly.

Perhaps if the 22-year-old Portuguese winger had not been forced off, Wolves would have threatened more after the break. Instead, Nuno Espirito Santo’s side once more relied on their impressively solid defence before sealing the points with Cavaleiro’s simple 94th-minute winner.

In terms of expected goals, the value Opta uses to judge the quality of chances a defence concedes, only Liverpool and Manchester City have a better record than Wolves so far this season.

Daniels’ mistake defines match

Bournemouth went into this game with just one win from their past six matches.

The run began in November with a home defeat by Manchester United which Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho described as “lucky”. The Cherries then enjoyed plenty of good fortune themselves in their only win during this sorry recent run – 2-1 at home to Huddersfield.

But at Molineux, they only had themselves to blame.

Howe may be wondering how the afternoon might have ended had Stanislas’ curled free-kick found the net instead of the top of Wolves’ crossbar. But the match-defining moment was Daniels’ error.

From a Bournemouth throw-in in their own half, he half-volleyed a pass across the pitch straight to Jota, who took full advantage by running on goal and forcing Jimenez’s opener.

And for all their slick passing in front of Wolves’ goal, quality was always missing at the crucial moment. Stanislas fired rashly over the bar when well placed in the box, and Joshua King and Wilson both had promising chances closed down.

The only efforts on target for the away side were a tame Cook header and two speculative long-range Jefferson Lerma shots.

Man of the match – Raul Jimenez (Wolves)

Raul Jimenez

‘I’m very proud’ – what the managers said

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo:

“In this weather, with the wind, cold and rain and against Bournemouth – I’m very proud. We did a fantastic job.

“Before we were in a bad moment. Now we’re in a good moment. It’s important to realise why. The boys’ character, the way they commit to the work on a daily basis, well done to them.

“It was hard for every player on the pitch. Both teams matched each other.

“The main thing today was staying compact and robust. I’m very proud of the work we do every day and the character the boys showed.”

Finally a first-half goal – the stats

  • This was Wolves’ first victory against Bournemouth in all competitions since December 1989, having failed to win any of their previous five meetings (D2 L3).
  • Since keeping three consecutive clean sheets in October, Bournemouth have conceded in each of their past seven Premier League games (16 goals in total).
  • Jimenez’s opener for Wolves was their first goal scored during the first half of a Premier League game at Molineux since Ruben Neves netted against Everton on the opening day.
  • All five of Jimenez’s Premier League goals for Wolves this season have been scored at Molineux.
  • Jota has been directly involved in three goals in his past three Premier League appearances for Wolves (two goals, one assist) having failed to score or assist in his previous 13 such games this season.

What’s next?

Wolves host Liverpool in the league on Friday, kick-off 20:00 GMT.

Bournemouth travel to Chelsea in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, kick-off 19:45, before welcoming Brighton in the league on Saturday at 15:00.

Line-ups

Wolves

  • 11Rui Patrício
  • 5Bennett
  • 16Coady
  • 15Boly
  • 2Doherty
  • 28João Moutinho
  • 8Neves
  • 19Castro Otto
  • 17Gibbs-WhiteSubstituted forSaïssat 75′minutes
  • 9JiménezSubstituted forCavaleiroat 89′minutes
  • 18JotaSubstituted forHélder Costaat 45′minutesBooked at 66mins

Substitutes

  • 7Cavaleiro
  • 10Hélder Costa
  • 21Ruddy
  • 27Saïss
  • 29Vinagre
  • 32Dendoncker
  • 37Traoré

Bournemouth

  • 27Begovic
  • 3S CookBooked at 34mins
  • 5Aké
  • 26MingsSubstituted forRicoat 36′minutes
  • 10IbeSubstituted forWilsonat 58′minutes
  • 6Surman
  • 8LermaBooked at 39mins
  • 11Daniels
  • 19StanislasSubstituted forMoussetat 80′minutes
  • 24Fraser
  • 17King

Substitutes

  • 1Boruc
  • 7Pugh
  • 9Mousset
  • 13Wilson
  • 18Defoe
  • 20Brooks
  • 21Rico
Referee:
Simon Hooper
Attendance:
30,997

Match Stats

Home TeamWolvesAway TeamBournemouth
Possession
Home38%
Away62%
Shots
Home9
Away13
Shots on Target
Home3
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home15
Away7

Live Text

Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Bournemouth 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Bournemouth 0.

Goal!

Goal! Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Bournemouth 0. Ivan Cavaleiro (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Hélder Costa with a through ball following a fast break.

Diego Rico (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Foul by Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth).

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt blocked. Joshua King (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Diego Rico.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ryan Bennett tries a through ball, but Hélder Costa is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Ivan Cavaleiro replaces Raúl Jiménez.

Attempt missed. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ryan Fraser.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

Attempt saved. Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by João Moutinho.

Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Romain Saïss (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Substitution

Substitution, Bournemouth. Lys Mousset replaces Junior Stanislas.

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Jefferson Lerma.

Offside, Wolverhampton Wanderers. João Moutinho tries a through ball, but Willy Boly is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Romain Saïss replaces Morgan Gibbs-White.

Hand ball by Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth).

Attempt saved. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Diego Rico with a cross.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Willy Boly.

Attempt blocked. Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joshua King.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Matt Doherty.

Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by João Moutinho (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Corner, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Conceded by Asmir Begovic.

Foul by Joshua King (Bournemouth).

Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hélder Costa (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Attempt blocked. Jonny (Wolverhampton Wanderers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Hélder Costa.

Attempt saved. Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Junior Stanislas (Bournemouth) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers) because of an injury.

Steve Cook (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Willy Boly (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Substitution

Substitution, Bournemouth. Callum Wilson replaces Jordon Ibe.

goal

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