By Mark Walker, PA
Daniel Podence’s late equaliser rescued Wolves a crucial point in an ill-tempered 1-1 draw at relegation rivals Nottingham Forest.
Half-time substitute Podence hauled Wolves level in the 83rd minute after Brennan Johnson had given Forest a 1-0 interval lead.
A point each could prove crucial to both sides during the run-in, but Forest’s winless league run was extended to seven matches, while Wolves have won only one of their last seven.
The tension proved too much for Forest assistant Alan Tate and Wolves counterpart Pablo Sanz, who were both sent off after a touchline melee at the start of the second half.
Johnson’s early curling effort was tipped over for a corner by Jose Sa and at the other end Adama Traore’s fierce low drive was blocked by Forest defender Harry Toffolo.
Forest were furious when referee Chris Kavanagh waved away their penalty appeals after Emmanuel Dennis’ cross struck Nelson Semedo on the hand.
Backed by a vociferous home support, Forest built up a head of steam and Wolves absorbed the pressure before having their best spell of the first half.
Matheus Cunha went close to giving the visitors the lead when he headed Matheus Nunes’ excellent ball into the box against the crossbar.
But Forest stepped it up again and Johnson gave them a 38th-minute lead with a brilliant angled finish after running on to Danilo’s ball over the top.
Tempers flared when Johnson was booked by Kavanagh for diving in the box when he went down under Semedo’s challenge.
Visiting skipper Ruben Neves was then shown a yellow card – his 10th of the season – for his rash challenge on Dennis, ruling him out of his side’s next two matches.
Tempers boiled over again at the start of the second half, this time on both benches.
Referee Kavanagh was unmoved after Traore went tumbling under Felipe’s challenge and that sparked a melee which resulted in both Tate and Sanz being sent off.
It would appear ill-feeling between both camps is still lingering from the Carabao Cup tie between the two sides in January, which Forest won on penalties.
Wolves were fined £45,000 and Forest £40,000 for failing to control their players after ugly scenes at the end of the quarter-final.
With precious league points at stake in this encounter, Wolves continued to probe for an opening in search of an equaliser, but Forest were a major threat on the break.
Johnson fired a rebound wide after Dennis had forced Sa to save, but Podence rescued Wolves with seven minutes left.
Pedro Neto’s shot was blocked and, when the ball fell to Podence, the little forward cut inside and slammed home a right-footed finish in front of Wolves’ travelling fans.
The drama was not over as VAR checked footage in the closing stages to check whether Podence had spat at Johnson before ruling the incident was not worthy of a red card.