Wolves 0-1 Bournemouth: Antoine Semenyo seals win for 10-man Cherries

Antoine Semenyo scores against Wolves

Antoine Semenyo scored the only goal as 10-man Bournemouth beat Wolves at Molineux to move into the top half of the Premier League table, despite having Milos Kerkez sent off.

Semenyo marked his return to the starting line-up with the opening goal, taking his tally to eight for the season when he slotted in from close range after Wolves failed to clear.

It was no less than the visitors deserved as they employed a positive approach from the outset.

Bournemouth created a plethora of chances with top scorer Dominic Solanke, Alex Scott, Kerkez and Justin Kluivert all testing home keeper Jose Sa, who performed admirably in the face of constant pressure.

The Cherries' profligacy in front of goal looked like it was going to be punished when Hwang Hee-chan looked to have equalised in the second half, but his effort was ruled out after the video assistant referee (VAR) asked on-field official Stuart Attwell to check the pitchside monitor for a foul in the build-up.

Attwell, who was at the centre of a VAR storm after Nottingham Forest's defeat by Everton on Sunday, deemed that Wolves substitute Matheus Cunha had caught Kluivert in the face with a swinging arm in the moments before Nelson Semedo delivered the cross for Hwang.

The game immediately fell back into its original pattern in the aftermath of that incident, with Bournemouth probing without finding any success in the final third, until they were reduced to 10-men for the final 10 minutes of regulation time after Hungary left-back Kerkez was shown a straight red card for a challenge on Matt Doherty.

Andoni Iraola's side hung on throughout the closing stages - including 12 minutes of stoppage time - for a win that moves them up to 10th, two points behind eighth-placed West Ham, while Wolves drop to 12th.

Toothless Wolves falter again

Wolves' season seems to be fizzling out as they slumped to a fourth successive home defeat in all competitions, for the first time since February 2017 when they were playing in the Championship.

It is six games without victory in the league, losing four during that sequence, and a threadbare squad is making life difficult for boss Gary O'Neil.

The hosts simply never managed to build any momentum with chances few and far between as they allowed Bournemouth to control the tempo and take ownership of territory high up the field.

Pablo Sarabia had Wolves' best sight at the target in the opening 45 minutes, curling a shot from the edge of the box but Mark Travers, making his first league start of the season for Bournemouth, pulled off a fine save.

Wolves emerged early for the second half with O'Neil's words still ringing in their ears but it did not have much impact as his old side Bournemouth continued to call the shots.

VAR played a big role in denying Wolves two goals, with the first more controversial than the second.

Hwang's header was put away cleanly but an incident earlier in the move ultimately meant the goal was chalked off, while Max Kilman fired into the bottom corner deep into additional time, only to be deemed offside after VAR took a look.

O'Neil told BBC Match of the Day: "Probably our worst performance, really poor.

"Individually, too many were below the level that we've reached in the league this year. Collectively, we need to make sure this is not our level. We need to go home and look at what we produced and get back to the level we've been at before.

"We were flat with loads of unforced errors, losing every duel. I thought the subs had a good impact and we improved to give it a go in the second half, that was a small positive."

Cherries firmly on top

Bournemouth set their stall out from the first whistle, breaking up the field with the opening attack of the game and chances flowed freely throughout a largely one-sided encounter.

Semenyo was the first to test the Wolves goalkeeper when his shot took a wicked deflection but Sa reacted swiftly to turn it behind for a corner.

The Cherries must have felt it was not going to be their night when Sa was equal to everything they threw in his direction.

However, the pressure finally told in the 37th minute when Kilman's clearance landed straight at the feet of Ghana forward Semenyo, who gleefully accepted the gift and converted from close range.

Kluivert thought he had doubled Bournemouth's lead when he diverted Marcos Senesi's wayward shot on target but a fine reaction save from Sa denied the Dutchman.

It was wave after wave of attack from the visitors as the second period unfolded to the backdrop of a frustrated home crowd at Molineux until Kerkez's dismissal.

The 20-year-old was given his marching orders after brining down Doherty, and VAR decided to uphold Attwell's on-field decision.

That sending off, Bournemouth's third of the season and second against Wolves this campaign, changed the structure of the game for the closing stages.

But Iraola will be proud of the manner in which his side defended to hold out for a win which puts them only two points shy of achieving a new club record top-flight points tally.

Speaking to BBC Match of the Day about trying to break that record, the Spaniard said: "I'm very happy with the performance. The three points are very welcome.

"We are looking forward and want to get the record but we know we have difficult games. Two points doesn't seem much, but it is.

"We have to be very good to beat Brighton [on Sunday] and I hope we arrive well."