Andre Villas Boas made three changes from the team that lost 3-1 to Aston Villa with Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge missing through injury while Paulo Ferreira dropped to the bench. Fernando Torres and Frank Lampard were recalled to the first XI, as was Jose Bosingwa.
We should have taken the lead in the eighth minute when Juan Mata was put through by Torres, but our number 10 couldn’t get get decent contact on the ball and the chance was lost.
We were looking confident going forward and began to click into gear as Lampard and Torres played a lovely one-two, Torres putting Lampard in on goal, only for defensive work from Christophe Berra and Richard Stearman to deny him.
Again we threatened the Wolves goalmouth moments later when Ramires was released by Mata down the right. He beat his man before firing an effort which crept just wide of the post.
Despite our dominance it was Wolves that came closest to scoring when Roger Johnson headed Hammill’s free-kick against the post and then they might have taken the lead seconds later when Hammill lofted the ball into the area and this time Stephen Ward rose unmarked in the six yard box but he could only head his effort wide of Cech’s goal.
We got back into our passing game before the end of the half as Lampard and Bosingwa tested Wayne Hennessey with powerful efforts but it remained 0-0 at the break.
Wolves had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring at the start of the second half and again it was Hammill. His volley, from Matt Jarvis’ cross, was brilliantly blocked by John Terry as the ball looked to be heading for the net.
We responded to this threat straight away by taking the lead through Ramires as he found the net from close range, blasting a right-footed shot into the top corner following the home side’s failure to clear a Mata corner.
We took the pace out of the game after getting the goal to frustrate the Molineux crowd, with controlled passing and to stop the Wolves side from building any attacking momentum but they nearly found a way back into the game through Edwards, who got behind our defence and latched onto Karl Henry’s ball over the top, but he couldn’t loop his header over Cech.
We tried to get a second goal to give us a cushion but could not breakthrough a stubborn Wolves rear-guard action and then paid for our inability to kill the game off when Ward volleyed in an equaliser from close range after latching onto Steven Fletcher’s knockdown.
However with only a minute of time to go we picked ourselves up and regained the lead through Frank Lampard who tapped in from six-yards converting Ashley Cole’s cross after good link-up play between the left-back and Torres much to the delight of the travelling Chelsea away support.
It was touch and go as Doyle nearly grabbed a late point for the home side in the dying seconds but was denied by an excellent save by Cech to give us a much needed win.
Following the game Frank Lampard admitted he was fortunate to have still been on the pitch conceding that Peter Walton, the referee, could easily have brandished a red card following his challenge on Adam Hammill in the 24th minute.
“My heart was in my mouth over that challenge. I have to admit that,” Lampard said. “There was no malice and I honestly mean that but I was late and I might have been a bit lucky to stay on the pitch. I said straight away to Hammill. I was very sorry. I was trying to get my foot in and I was maybe lucky but it wasn’t any conspiracy between the referee and us. There were a few things that could have gone either way today. It was a full-blooded game and I just apologised to the player because I was a bit late.”
Andre Villas Boas praised his players for the “strength of character” they showed to regain the lead after Wolves equalised and although he left the door open to the possibility that his side could rejoin the title race, he admitted that would only happen if they showed the sort of consistency that has eluded them so far this season.
“We need to get a series of wins which hasn’t happened. Our best period of the season was three wins and a draw and it’s not good enough,” Villas-Boas said.
Next up we turn our attention to the FA Cup against visitors Portsmouth to Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Gill Reeves – CSG disabled rep.
• 01 Hennessey
• 05 Stearman
• 11 Ward
• 14 Johnson
• 16 Berra
• 04 Edwards (Foley 76)
• 08 Henry – yellow card
• 15 Frimpong (Fletcher 61)
• 19 Hammill – yellow card
• 37 Forde (Jarvis 46)
• 29 Doyle – yellow card
• 31 De Vries,
• 03 Elokobi,
• 32 Foley,
• 12 Hunt,
• 17 Jarvis,
• 09 Ebanks-Blake,
• 10 Fletcher
• 01 Cech
• 03 Cole
• 04 David Luiz
• 17 Bosingwa
• 26 Terry
• 06 Romeu – yellow card
• 07 Ramires
• 08 Lampard – yellow card
• 16 Meireles
• 09 Torres
• 10 Mata (McEachran 83)
• 22 Turnbull,
• 19 Ferreira,
• 27 Hutchinson,
• 34 Bertrand,
• 45 Chalobah,
• 20 McEachran,
• 18 Lukaku