English Premier League

Wolves 2-1 Luton Town

Wolves 2-1 Luton Town. Wolves ended a six-game winless run in the Premier League and piled pressure on relegation-threatened Luton with victory at Molineux.

Hwang Hee-chan scored his first club goal since 27 December to put Wolves in front late in the first half after both sides had struggled to find a way out of midfield.

The South Korea forward netted with the help of a deflection off defender Teden Mengi just 18 seconds after Carlton Morris was unable to convert Luton’s best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes, heading straight at Jose Sa.

Wolves showed intent after the break and it took just five minutes to double their advantage when Toti Gomes found space to head in at the far post.

Gary O’Neil’s side dominated the second half, with Boubacar Traore, Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri spurning good opportunities to make life even more comfortable.

Morris gave Luton hope of a grandstand finish when he volleyed in from six yards, but they could not find any further joy.

The win moved Wolves up to 10th and three points behind eighth-placed West Ham, with Luton remaining 18th and one point – plus a hefty goal difference deficit – shy of 17th-placed Nottingham Forest.

O’Neil described the 1-0 defeat against Bournemouth on Wednesday as Wolves’ “worst performance” of the season as they struggled to create openings and lacked energy.

It looked like this could be a long afternoon at Molineux as Wolves failed to register a shot until the 21st minute when Hwang beat the offside trap before firing straight at Thomas Kaminski.

Hwang went on to break the deadlock when his deflected shot left Kaminski unable to react quickly enough, the forward taking his tally for the season in the league to 11 goals.

Gomes put Wolves in the driving seat with a stooping header at the back post as he met Mario Lemina’s cross following a short corner.

Ait-Nouri should have put the game to bed with just under 20 minutes to play when he failed to make a clean connection with Hwang’s cross, despite being completely unmarked and just six yards from goal.

Morris’ strike was the only real negative of the afternoon for Wolves, who could not achieve their first clean sheet in the league since 25 February.

O’Neil told BBC Sport: “It’s amazing the difference having a couple of attackers makes to us. It is the first time since 30 December that we have been able to name Hwang and (Matheus) Cunha in the same team.

“There are so many positives from this season. We’ve improved on the points tally of last year, stabilised the club financially and I think it’s 13 academy players involved in matchday squads.”

Manager Rob Edwards will want to see a lot more from Luton in the final three games of the season if they are to earn a second successive season of Premier League football.

Hard work and endeavour have been staples of Luton’s game over the majority of the season, but the rigours of top-flight football might just be taking their toll. This was a 10th defeat from their last 13 league outings, with the Hatters winning just once during that stretch.

Morris was Luton’s only real threat, making runs off the shoulder of defenders and trying to work the channels, but a lack of service left him isolated.

After his header was saved in the 38th minute, prior to Hwang scoring the opener at the other end, Luton did not attempt another shot until Morris scored.

After chastening back-to-back 5-1 losses against Manchester City and Brentford coming into this fixture, Luton’s goal difference has taken a major dent and that could prove to be the difference in their bid to stay in the Premier League.

Luton are only one place and one point behind Forest, who hold down the last safe position, but their goal difference is 11 worse than that of Nuno Espirito Santo’s team, who are due to play City on Sunday.

Edwards told BBC Sport: “Points-wise, we are on a difficult run but we’re still in this. We still fully believe.

“You could see that today. If they didn’t believe, it could have been a lot worse today – you would have seen it on the pitch – and I didn’t see that at all.”

source – BBC

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