Diogo Jota’s excellent long-range goal sent Millwall to defeat at Molineux – but there was little to fault a gritty defensive performance by the South Londoners.
Facing one of the Championship promotion favourites, it took a superb strike by the hosts’ playmaker to break the deadlock.
The Lions were indebted to Jordan Archer for a string of saves which prevented Wolves getting breathing space.
And Millwall’s own cause was not helped by Aiden O’Brien’s dismissal with 24 minutes remaining. He was sent off for two bookable offences and now misses Tuesday’s derby at Queens Park Rangers.
Wolves dominated the possession and caused Millwall problems with the way they sprayed passes to both front-foot wing-backs Matt Doherty and Ruben Vinagre.
There was an early warning about the threat from out wide as Leo Bonatini headed over Doherty’s cross from the right. But the South Londoners went on to defend the deliveries well in the opening 45 minutes.
Wolves went ahead with a strike of real quality from Diogo Jota on 10 minutes. Allowed space to size up the obstacle of Archer in the Millwall goal, he produced a superb strike over the stopper.
Wolves’ slick approach play was highlighted by Conor Coady’s sprayed pass to Doherty, the ball finding Bonatini – but Archer beat away the shot at his near post.
Millwall toiled more in their attacks. James Meredith’s 24th-minute cross was misjudged by the Wolves backline but Steve Morison could only volley across the box after controlling the ball on his chest.
Despite the frequent danger of the home side’s forays, the Lions restricted them to only one more serious chance just before the whistle blew for the break – Ruben Neves lashing over from a fairly tight angle.
Millwall did not make the most of the half-chances that fell their way. O’Brien’s cross was just too high for Lee Gregory while Morison glanced over Meredith’s ball in. Another example was Jed Wallace on his Molineux return, he had sight of goal inside the Wanderers penalty area but was unable to find the target.
Romain Saiss was denied by Archer, who tipped over his first-time strike from 20 yards.
The Lions cause was not helped by O’Brien’s dismissal. The home crowd had wanted a straight red for a foul on Jota – but he only received a yellow card from referee Robert Madley. But in the 66th minute he pulled back Matt Doherty to collect a second caution and leave the South Londoners being at a numerical disadvantage.
Wallace had another go at coming back to haunt his old employers 10 minutes later. Gregory did well to retain the ball and feed it to the winger, but his whipped strike bent away from John Ruddy’s goal.
Millwall’s hopes of coming back in the contest were heavily down to Archer’s saves and the former Scotland under-21 international – recently called up to the senior squad – made another smart stop from Bonatini, who has spun Hutchinson inside the box.
And he was at it again to deny Saiss from point-blank range after the midfielder had rumbled into the box.
It took until the closing stages for John Ruddy to be called into action. He was forced to turn Shaun Williams’ header around the post and the same Lions player met the corner with the Wolves keeper dropping gathering the ball at the second attempt.