Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers: Neves extends Wolves' lead at the top with first half strike

Sheffield Wednesday's winless run continued in the Championship as they lost 1-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday evening at Hillsborough.

This saw Wolves extend their lead at the top of the division to seven points.  

The Owls made a bright start in the first-half but found themselves a goal down heading into half-time. They failed to clear a free-kick which eventually fell at the feet of Ruben Neves who steered his effort home into the bottom corner. 

The home side were reduced to 10 men with five minutes to go as Morgan Fox took his frustration out on Hélder Costa. The Owls just could not find a much-needed equaliser as Wolves managed to see the game out and secure another valuable three points. 

Neves strike gives Wolves the lead 

Carlos Carvalhal opted to make two changes to his starting line-up for this one as Kieren Westwood and Barry Bannan dropped out for Joe Wildsmith and Jacob Butterfield. As for Wolves, there was just the one change as Rúben Vinagre came in for Barry Douglas.  

The Owls made a bright start as they looked to force the initiative in the opening 10 minutes. Carvalhal opted to make a tactical change for this match by changing to a 4-4-3 formation and it appeared to  be working early on as the hosts were enjoying a significant amount of possession. 

The first big chance of the game fell the way of the home side. Liam Palmer's cross was knocked down and fell perfectly for Adam Reach but he could only volley his effort wide of the target. This opportunity noticeably gave the Owls more confidence and Joost Van Aken had another chance just moments after but his header was straight at John Ruddy

However, despite the Owls' bright start, it was the away side who took the lead 34 minutes into the first-half. Nuno Espírito Santo's side had struggled to create any chances up to this point but Ivan Cavaleiro's free-kick was cleared only as far as Neves who fired his shot into the bottom corner to put his side 1-0 up. 

Wolves were then able to see out the rest of the first-half as they headed into half-time with their lead intact. However, they were certainly not at their best and the Owls were unlucky to find themselves a goal down.

The home crowd gave referee Darren Bond a frosty reception as he departed the pitch as they disagreed with his decision to award the free-kick in the lead up to Neves' opener. 

Wolves extend lead at the top to seven points 

The Owls again started the second-half brightly as they looked to find a way back into the match. They had a good chance around 10 minutes in as Gary Hopper headed Reach's cross back across goal but no-one was there to tap-in for what would have been a certain equaliser. 

However, the away side did still look a threat, especially on the counter attack. Romain Saïss could have doubled his side's advantage but could only head wide when unchallenged from a corner. Cavaleiro's pace was also causing Wednesday's defence problems as they began to leave more spaces at the back. 

The hosts decided to introduce both Lucas João and Atdhe Nuhiu as they opted for more of a direct approach in the latter stages. João had a superb opportunity to get the hosts level just moments after coming on but could only head Palmer's looping cross over the bar from close range. 

They really struggled to create any clear cut chances after this as Wolves held on to the ball well for long periods. The Owls' frustration was summed up with around five minutes left to play as Fox's poor challenge on substitute Costa saw him dismissed for a second yellow card. 

This made Wolves' job of seeing the rest of the game out significantly easier. They were able to comfortably survive three minutes of injury time as they claimed another valuable three points in their bid for promotion.