Wolves end Roy Hodgson’s unbeaten start to take a big step to safety

Joachim Andersen’s comical own goal helped put Wolverhampton Wanderers on the verge of survival in the Premier League.

An ill-fated effort from the Crystal Palace defender and RubĂ©n Neves’ late penalty gave the hosts a 2-0 win and moved them nine points above the relegation zone.

They sit 13th, level on points with Palace, after a third straight home win without conceding.

It’s a run that has given Julen Lopetegui’s side a platform to be on the safe side of and, barring a late collapse, should see them win a sixth successive season in the top flight.

Palace, with their own status all but assured, weren’t much of a shakeup but Jose Sa still had to deny Albert Sambi Lokonga and Eberechi Eze.

The Eagles paid for giving Wolves goals to earn their first loss since the return of Roy Hodgson last month.

It took the hosts just three minutes to grab the opener as Andersen produced one for the blooper roll.

Hugo Bueno crossed for Diego Costa to force a clever save from Sam Johnstone, but Wolves need not have worried.

Ruben Neves spun into the resulting corner, was allowed to rebound and Andersen was unable to get his feet in the right place as he shot off his knee and over the line through the bar.

An early lead left an optimistic Molineux feeling reassured that Wolves had won three of their previous four home games after what looked like a potentially damaging loss to Bournemouth at Molineux in February.

When Palace threatened, however briefly, Lokonga slipped into the box after being selected by Michael Olise.

After three wins and a draw since Hodgson returned to Selhurst Park last month, Palace’s own relegation fears were all but over and it was Wolves who were on top.

However, that intensity began to fade as Palace found a foothold and Eze fired at Sa.

Olise and Eze were finding space and Wolves were indebted to Sa, who held on to his lead three minutes before half-time.

Will Hughes checked Chris Richards’ advance to set up Lokonga from 10 yards out and Sa produced a brilliant reaction stop.

Eager to make up for their slow start, Palace perked up but were unable to make any significant gains and it took until 17 minutes into the end for them to test the goalkeeper again.

This time it was Eze’s turn to get frustrated as Sa turned his excellent 25-yard drive around.

Wolves had struggled to rediscover their early momentum, with only Craig Dawson’s header threatening, but it mattered little as Palace handed them another stoppage-time gift.

Johnstone collected the ball from a throw-in, but a terrible touch left the keeper charging dangerously at Pedro Neto in the box. He was lucky to avoid a red card, but Neves hit him low from the spot to settle the game.

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