(Reuters) - Wolverhampton Wanderers’ impressive campaign as Premier League newcomers hit a roadblock at Molineux on Saturday when two goals in the space of 58 first-half seconds set Watford on the way to a deserved 2-0 victory.
Wolves, fielding an unchanged side for a record ninth consecutive game as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side sought to improve the best start to a top-flight English season by any side for 10 years, once again began in assured fashion.
Yet after 20 minutes the visitors, with effectively their first attack of the game, took the lead with a 30-metre Etienne Capoue strike.
A side that had conceded one goal in five previous league games suddenly let in two in the space of a minute when Roberto Pereyra, with the outside of his left foot, flicked the ball over Wolves keeper Rui Patricio from a narrow angle.
With Wolves’ six-match unbeaten record in the league under threat - they had been looking to go seven games without defeat in the top flight for the first time in 44 years - the home side rallied after the break but rarely threatened Watford.
It was a welcome tonic for Javi Gracia’s team who, after a bright start to the season, had not won any of their previous five league and Cup matches but now leapfrogged Wolves into seventh place in the table.
Gracia was particularly delighted, having been forced to make significant changes to his line-up with Christian Kabasele and Jose Holebas both suspended and key striker Troy Deeney out with a hamstring injury.
“We played a good game. The first half was amazing and the two goals in a short time were key,” Gracia, whose team had won their first four matches of the season, told BBC Sport.
“After that, we managed the situation well. Wolves at the start of the second half played better but we took control again and defended well.”
Espirito Santo felt his side had paid for two errors that led up to the goals.
“That minute, we must look at carefully,” he said. “Two mistakes, two goals. In the second half, we had a better attitude. Even if you lose you must lose with dignity and we tried until the end.”
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Tony Lawrence and Pritha Sarkar