Manchester United 1
Manchester United substitute Marcus Rashford’s introduction at half-time proved crucial as the English international scored the winning goal at Molineaux to move Erik Ten Hag’s side into the top four of the Premier League.
The 25-year-old, who had been dropped to the bench for disciplinary issues despite impressive performances since returning from the World Cup, made no mistake when Bruno Fernandes found him in the box before powering his shot past Jose Sa.
The best of the chances in the first half fell to United as they looked to secure a third consecutive Premier League victory.
Casemiro nodded over after 10 minutes following a Christian Eriksen corner and United continued to dominate possession without creating any clear chances for their attacking players throughout the early stages.
The best chance of the first half fell to teenage winger Garnacho.
A sloppy backpass by Wolves wing-back Nelson Semedo only found the mercurial talent but he couldn’t find a way past Sa who stood tall to save the Argentinian’s effort.
Diego Costa proved to be a handful throughout the opening 45 minutes and he came closest for the home team when his shot from the edge of the box was gathered by Manchester United shotstopper David De Gea.
Despite Costa’s constant harassing of the United defence, the visitors continued to create chances with Antony heading straight into the arms of Sa before Martial failed to get his shot away when through on goal thanks to a last-ditch Nathan Collins challenge.
The 20-time champions of England looked destined to take a slender lead on the stroke of half-time as Garnacho crossed for Martial after some excellent work down the left-wing.
However, the Frenchman scuffed his headed attempt from six yards out and Antony could not finish his subsequent header as the sides reamined scoreless at the interval.
Rashford was introduced in place of Garnacho at the break to try and stetch a solid Wolves back-line, while Costa was forced off injured with pacey winger Adama Traore entering the fray.
The second period was far more stop-start in nature due to injuries to several players as United failed to manufacture a similar quantity or quality of chances that they had in the first half.
A deflected Fernandes shot fell to Antony but his effort was smothered by Sa.
Despite remaining solid for the manority of the hard-fought encounter, Wolves failed to threaten United until late on with a long-distance Neves free-kick that was on target the most noteable of their opportunities.
The game seemed to be petering out to a goalless draw before a one-two between Fernandes and Rashford ended with the in-form attacker slotting it past Sa to give United the all-important first goal.
It looked as though Rashford had doubled United’s lead in the 84th minute, but the goal was ruled out due to the ball hitting his arm after his initial shot had rebounded off him.
Roared on by a buoyant home crowd, Wolves almost snatched a late point in manager Julian Lopetegui’s first game in charge at home as Raul Jimenez’s header was brilliantly saved by De Gea.
That save, alsongside Rashford’s game-defining moment saw United climb up to fourth while Wolves remain in the relegation zone as both clubs look forward to 2023.