Jimenez goal sinks Cherries at Molineux
- Michael Oliver
Raul Jimenez netted the only goal of the game as Wolverhampton Wanderers boosted their Champions League qualification hopes by edging past AFC Bournemouth at Molineux tonight.
The Mexico international bagged his 15th goal of the season when he sent a bullet header past Aaron Ramsdale from close range after being picked out by Adama Traore’s cross in the 60th minute.
Although the goal condemned the Cherries to back-to-back defeats since the restart of the Premier League, it was a much-improved showing from Eddie Howe’s team.
Junior Stanislas and Philip Billing were restored to the Cherries starting line-up as manager Howe made two changes following Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.
Stanislas was handed his third Premier League start of the season, while Billing returned from injury. Joshua King was ruled out by an ankle problem and Harry Wilson dropped to the bench.
Billing fastened on to a clever pass from Stanislas in the early stages but his low cross was blocked by Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
And after the resultant corner taken by David Brooks had been hoisted back into the danger area, Patricio punched clear under pressure from Nathan Ake.
The Cherries enjoyed long periods of possession during the opening exchanges before Ruben Neves had Wolves’ first shot in the 14th minute, his effort well wide of the target.
A well-worked free-kick, involving Stanislas and Brooks, caused problems for the Wolves defence, the ball eventually cleared for a corner which came to nothing.
Romain Saiss received the first booking of the contest for a foul on Callum Wilson after 27 minutes but Wolves dealt comfortably with Brooks’s free-kick.
Ake cleared Joao Moutinho’s dangerous 31st-minute corner before Billing’s low shot following a Jack Stacey pass was blocked on the edge of the box.
Brooks followed Saiss into referee Michael Oliver’s notebook for a foul on Traore with Neves skying the resultant free-kick over the crossbar.
Steve Cook received a yellow card after being judged to have tripped Jota with Moutinho’s free-kick eventually going out for a goal kick.
A third booking in quick succession was shown to Callum Wilson after he had been deemed to have fouled Patricio five minutes before half-time.
Although the striker appeared to attempt to pull out of the challenge at the last minute, referee Oliver was having none of it.
Wilson’s tenth caution of the season will see him receive an automatic two-game ban, ruling him out of the Cherries’ matches against Newcastle and Manchester United.
The Cherries breathed a huge sigh of relief on the stroke of half-time when Traore took aim from the edge of the box, the winger’s shot flying over the crossbar.
Aaron Ramsdale comfortably claimed a hanging cross from Traore at the start of the second half before Stacey’s foul on Jonny gave Wolves a free-kick in a dangerous position.
But after Moutinho had despatched it into the mixer, the ball was snaffled by an alert Ramsdale after deflecting off Billing.
The Dane then made way for Dan Gosling as boss Howe made his first substitution five minutes after the restart.
Ramsdale flicked Jota’s effort from a tight angle over the crossbar before Lewis Cook broke up a swift counter-attack involving Jimenez and Jota.
Wolves made the breakthrough after 60 minutes when Jimenez outjumped the Cherries defence to meet a Traore centre with a powerful header which gave Ramsdale no chance from six yards.
A triple substitution after 65 minutes saw Dominic Solanke, Arnaut Danjuma and Harry Wilson replace Brooks, Stanislas and Jefferson Lerma.
Wolves substitute Pedro Neto saw his shot deflected for a corner with Ramsdale saving from Boly after the ball had struck the defender.
Lloyd Kelly was handed his Premier League debut, the defender replacing Stacey eight minutes from time.
As the Cherries went in search of an equaliser, Danjuma curled an effort narrowly past the post from just outside the 18-yard box.
In the closing stages, Neto went clean through, only to drag his shot wide of the target.