SAINTS suffered their first defeat in seven matches - despite leading 2-0 against Wolves at St Mary’s.

Jan Bednarek and Shane Long scored their first goals of the season to give Saints a 2-0 half-time lead.

But Pedro Neto pulled a goal back with a classy turn and finish and Raul Jiminez equalised from the penalty spot before burying the 77th-minute winner into the bottom corner from Adama Traore’s brilliant assist.

It had looked so good for Saints at half-time. They took the lead in the 16th minute when James Ward-Prowse’s free kick from the right found its way to Bednarek at the far post, where the Polish defender cushioned a side-footed half-volley into the far corner.

It was only Bednarek’s second goal for Saints and his first since scoring a similar goal on his Premier League debut .

Ironically that also came in a 3-2 home defeat after Saints had led 2-0, against Chelsea in April 2018.

He was soon in action at the other end.

When Alex McCarthy failed to get any significant purchase on a Neto cross from the left, it was Bednarek who cleared the ball from in the six-yard box.

Buoyed by their goal, Saints looked for a second.

Silky skills from Nathan Redmond took him past Neves and his cross was met by a diving Cedric, who headed straight at Rui Patricio.

Then Stuart Armstrong whipped a left-footer that bounced awkwardly in front of Patricio as the Wolves keeper gathered it.

Soon after firing over from the edge of the six-yard box, Raul provided another warning when he slid into the six-yard box between Stephens and Bednarek to meet Neto’s inswinging cross, only to miss the target.

But Saints doubled their lead in the 37th minute when Long headed in a magnificent Cedric cross.

Long headed over another Cedric delivery under pressure, had an effort saved before being flagged offside and then shaved the bottom of a post when he soared high at the back post to head a Redmond cross.

Wolves were soon back in the game Pedro Neto controlled Traore’s cross from the right with great alacrity before turning and finished smartly from the edge of the six-yard box in the 54th minute.

Then Wolves were awarded their penalty via VAR after Stephens brought down Jonny in the 65th minute.

Referee Darren England did not give it but VAR confirmed that the Saints defender was culpable.

Raul kept his cool after a long wait to send Alex McCarthy the wrong way. 

Redmond responded with a 25-yard strike that skimmed the cross bar, but then Saints made another mistake at the back; Bednarek lost possession on the edge of the area. Neto fired over when the Pole failed to control Bertrand’s pass.

Djenepo headed a bouncing ball at Patricio soon after coming on but the momentum was with Wolves.

In the 77th minute, an excellent run from Traore (which began with a handball not given by VAR) was followed by an even better pass, threaded between Cedric and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Traore proved far more threatening after being pushed further forward in the second half and he found Raul who slotted the ball into the bottom corner with aplomb.

Stephens headed wide a Ward-Prowse cross and sub Sofiane Boufal blazed over in injury time, as Saints failed to prevent their first defeat since December 14.

SAINTS: McCarthy, Cedric, Bednarek, Stephens, Bertrand, Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Redmond (Boufal 78), Armstrong (Djenepo 71), Long (Adams 71), Ings.
Booked: Bednarek, Ward-Prowse.

WOLVES: Patricio, Dendoncker, Coady, Saiss; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny, Traore, Jimenez, Neto (Kilman 86).