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Wolves 2-1 Luton Town: Hwang Hee-chan ends Premier League drought

Written by on April 28, 2024

Hwang Hee-chan has scored 11 league goals in a single season for the first time since 2019-20 when he played for Salzburg in Austria

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.

Wolves back to winning ways

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.”

Time running out for Luton

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.”

Player of the match

Aït-NouriRayan Aït-Nouri

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number3Player nameAït-Nouri

  2. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Cunha

  3. Squad number5Player nameLemina

  4. Squad number11Player nameHwang Hee-chan

  5. Squad number6Player nameTraoré

  6. Squad number8Player nameJoão Gomes

  7. Squad number2Player nameDoherty

  8. Squad number24Player nameToti Gomes

  9. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

  10. Squad number17Player nameBueno

  11. Squad number1Player nameJosé Sá

  12. Squad number23Player nameKilman

  13. Squad number21Player nameSarabia

Luton Town

  1. Squad number9Player nameMorris

  2. Squad number6Player nameBarkley

  3. Squad number8Player nameBerry

  4. Squad number10Player nameWoodrow

  5. Squad number14Player nameChong

  6. Squad number15Player nameMengi

  7. Squad number24Player nameKaminski

  8. Squad number18Player nameClark

  9. Squad number45Player nameDoughty

  10. Squad number28Player nameSambi Lokonga

  11. Squad number11Player nameAdebayo

  12. Squad number16Player nameBurke

  13. Squad number2Player nameOsho

  14. Squad number32Player nameOnyedinma

  15. Squad number27Player nameHashioka

Line-ups

Wolves

Formation 3-5-1-1

  • 1
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 23Kilman
  • 24Gomes
  • 2Doherty
  • 8João GomesBooked at 11mins
  • 5Lemina
  • 6Traoré
  • 3Aït-NouriSubstituted forBuenoat 85′minutes
  • 12Matheus CunhaSubstituted forSarabiaat 76′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 11Hwang Hee-chanBooked at 81mins

Substitutes

  • 17Bueno
  • 20Doyle
  • 21Sarabia
  • 25Bentley
  • 30González
  • 45Barnett
  • 61Okoduwa
  • 62Chirewa
  • 63Fraser

Luton

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 24Kaminski
  • 16Burke
  • 15Mengi
  • 2Osho
  • 27HashiokaSubstituted forWoodrowat 66′minutes
  • 28Sambi LokongaBooked at 58mins
  • 6BarkleySubstituted forAdebayoat 78′minutes
  • 45DoughtySubstituted forOnyedinmaat 88′minutes
  • 18ClarkSubstituted forBerryat 66′minutes
  • 14Chong
  • 9Morris

Substitutes

  • 1Shea
  • 8Berry
  • 10Woodrow
  • 11Adebayo
  • 17Mpanzu
  • 23Krul
  • 30Townsend
  • 32Onyedinma
  • 38Johnson

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Luton Town 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Luton Town 1.

  3. Attempt saved. Luke Berry (Luton Town) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  4. Pablo Sarabia (Wolverhampton Wanderers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Foul by Pablo Sarabia (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  6. Tahith Chong (Luton Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  7. Foul by Hugo Bueno (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  8. Fred Onyedinma (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Hugo Bueno (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Foul by Fred Onyedinma (Luton Town).

  11. João Gomes (Wolverhampton Wanderers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Foul by Fred Onyedinma (Luton Town).

  13. Foul by Pablo Sarabia (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  14. Gabriel Osho (Luton Town) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  15. Substitution, Luton Town. Fred Onyedinma replaces Alfie Doughty.

  16. Foul by Boubacar Traoré (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  17. Luke Berry (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Foul by João Gomes (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

  19. Albert Sambi Lokonga (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Delay over. They are ready to continue.

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