Everton captain Phil Neville scored only his fourth goal for the Merseyside club
By Chris Whyatt
Three eye-catching goals in a sparkling spell before half-time enabled depleted Everton to overpower relegation-threatened Wolves at sunny Molineux.
The hosts started well, but Jermaine Beckford nicked a 21st-minute lead by glancing in Leon Osman's wicked cross.
Phil Neville then rifled into the top corner after Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Henessey prevented a comical own goal.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov soon cracked home a stunning 25-yard drive as Everton took complete control before the break.
David Moyes' Europa League-chasing team moved a point behind sixth-placed Liverpool with a deserved win, but the three points looked far from their reach during a backs-to-the-wall start in which they were forced to prove their evergreen defensive qualities.
Wolves, who had been relatively prolific in recent home games, began with a high tempo against an Everton team for whom 22-year-old Victor Anichibe was the oldest outfield substitute.
Making his first appearance since suffering a leg-break in September, Adlene Guedioura had a decent early shot blocked by determined Neville after the Algerian midfielder had eluded Everton debutant Magaye Gueye on the edge of the box with perceptive chest control.
Relegation battle will go to final day - McCarthy
Home striker Steven Fletcher then punched a strong header towards goal from a dangerous corner soon after but, with Tim Howard well beaten, it was headed off the line by an alert Osman.
Everton rarely got out of their own half in the opening 20 minutes as Wolves pressed with intent while dominating possession.
The Molineux faithful leapt from their seats when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake went down under pressure from Phil Jagielka in the area, but referee Phil Dowd ruled that it was an innocuous tussle.
And that marked moment the tide turned in spectacular fashion.
Producing a classic counter-punch in the 20th minute, Osman cleverly drifted behind his marker out wide to deliver a cross which Beckford - who gambled into space at the front post - clinically glanced high into the net with Hennessey in no position to make a save.
The former Leeds United striker's fourth goal in his last seven Premier League appearances completely drained the confidence out of a Wolves side who had failed to make their explosive start count.
Guedioura - who looked brimming with promise on his return - curled a shot just wide of Howard's upright soon after, but any collective conviction from the hosts disappeared.
Lax George Elokobi tackling again allowed Osman to break free, once again, down the right wing after half-an-hour.
He unleashed another superb cross for Beckford but, completely unmarked, his powerful downward header was athletically palmed away by the increasingly-overworked Hennessey.
Seconds later a superb point-blank block from Phil Jagielka stopped Sylvan Ebanks-Blake stroking the ball in from six yards.
From Osman's inswinging corner Elokobi looked to have scored a spectacular own goal as the ball flew off his back, but Hennessey amazingly clawed the ball away.
Yet Beckford immediately recycled the ball by teeing it up for Neville, who hammered the short pass back past unsighted Hennessey from the right-hand corner of the penalty area without a second thought.
The visitors should have added a third straight after but onrushing French youngster Gueye, who was clean through, poked his weak left-foot effort at an outstretched Hennessey.
With half-time close, Wolves shot themselves in the foot when Jamie O'Hara let the ball run loose as confusion reigned amongst their midfield.
Russian midfielder Bilyaletdinov wasted no time in making a direct route for goal before unleashing a devastating long-range drive into the roof of Hennessey's goal.
With the contest effectively over the second half was a more muted affair, though Everton did have to stand strong when questions were asked of them.
Good form leaves Moyes left wondering
The hosts appealed for a penalty when a shot from Matt Jarvis, who did not wilt despite having a difficult time creating clear openings, came back off Tony Hibbert's arm inside the area.
Once again referee Dowd, who had a clear view of the incident, waved their appeals away.
Howard came to Everton's rescue as they briefly nodded off with the match drifting, saving smartly from Karl Henry's powerful 65th-minute shot before Guedioura's strong header tested the American goalkeeper's most basic instincts to the full.
With 10 minutes left, Bilyaletdinov missed a simple chance to add a gloss to the scoreline.
But, regardless, Mick McCarthy's second-from-bottom Wolves team were left with plenty to mull over before their crucial next match at home against Fulham - which does not arrive until 23 April.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy: "We started brightly and David Moyes was the one out his dugout screaming and shouting. But their first goal was the first cross they put in our box. Maybe we were enjoying too much of the play and got caught not concentrating.
"I'd much prefer to be playing Stoke next Saturday, but there's nothing we can do about it. We'll see what happens elsewhere.
"Life carries on around us, and we've still got a chance to get out of the bottom three. It will go to the very end. And maybe we'll just pop out then and surprise everybody."
Everton manager David Moyes: "We want to keep this run [of form] going. We just wished it started in August. It says a lot about the players because we're missing quite a few at the moment, but those in there are doing a great job.
"Wolves have got a great home record, so let's not underestimate how well we've done.
"Three really terrific strikes too. Phil Neville deserves that goal because of the way he works, and the way he goes about his job."
90:00+2:12 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
89:50 Nenad Milijas challenges Leighton Baines unfairly and gives away a free kick. Leighton Baines restarts play with the free
89:11 Short corner taken by Leon Osman.
87:33 Victor Anichebe fouled by Karl Henry, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tim Howard.
85:44 Matthew Jarvis decides to take the corner short.
82:54 Apostolos Vellios is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.
81:30 Substitution Adam Forshaw on for Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
81:30 Substitution Adam Hammill joins the action as a substitute, replacing Steven Fletcher.
81:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Neville on Nenad Milijas. Direct free kick taken by Jamie O'Hara.
80:18 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov takes a shot from close in clearing the crossbar.
79:47 Michael Kightly gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Leon Osman. Leighton Baines takes the direct free kick.
78:50 Unfair challenge on Leighton Baines by Steven Fletcher results in a free kick. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
77:58 Corner from right by-line taken by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
77:46 Victor Anichebe takes a shot. Blocked by Richard Stearman.
75:32 Free kick awarded for a foul by Michael Kightly on Leighton Baines. Leighton Baines restarts play with the free kick.
75:32 Substitution (Wolverhampton) makes a substitution, with Nenad Milijas coming on for Adlene Guedioura.
74:20 The offside flag is raised against Apostolos Vellios. Indirect free kick taken by Christophe Berra.
72:42 Substitution Apostolos Vellios comes on in place of Jermaine Beckford.
70:53 Leighton Baines challenges Adlene Guedioura unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Jamie O'Hara
from right channel, save by Tim Howard.
69:59 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis from the left by-line, save made by Tim Howard.
68:47 The referee blows for offside against Steven Fletcher. Indirect free kick taken by Tim Howard.
67:25 Effort from outside the penalty area by Leighton Baines goes wide left of the goal.
66:53 Adlene Guedioura concedes a free kick for a foul on Leon Osman. Direct free kick taken by Johnny Heitinga.
66:02 Jermaine Beckford is caught offside. Free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.
63:54 Substitution Victor Anichebe comes on in place of Magaye Gueye.
62:28 Corner from the right by-line taken by Jamie O'Hara, clearance made by Sylvain Distin.
62:07 Corner taken by Matthew Jarvis from the left by-line to the near post, Phil Jagielka makes a clearance.
61:43 Corner taken by Matthew Jarvis played to the near post, clearance made by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
60:30 Corner taken by Michael Kightly from the right by-line, Adlene Guedioura takes a shot. Tim Howard makes a save.
60:23 Karl Henry takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.
59:43 Free kick awarded for a foul by Johnny Heitinga on Adlene Guedioura. Karl Henry restarts play with the free kick.
57:30 Foul by Sylvain Distin on Steven Fletcher, free kick awarded. Jamie O'Hara restarts play with the free kick.
54:33 The assistant referee flags for offside against Steven Fletcher. Tim Howard restarts play with the free kick.
53:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on George Elokobi by Magaye Gueye. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.
51:45 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, clearance made by Sylvain Distin.
51:11 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov concedes a free kick for a foul on Adlene Guedioura. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Jamie
O'Hara from right wing.
51:11 Booking The referee books Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for unsporting behaviour.
49:53 Steven Fletcher fouled by Johnny Heitinga, the ref awards a free kick. Strike comes in from Adlene Guedioura from the free
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:01 Substitution Michael Kightly replaces Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
45:00+3:00 The match has reached half-time.
45:00+2:12 Leighton Baines gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adlene Guedioura. Free kick crossed left-footed by Jamie
O'Hara from right channel.
44:42 GOAL - Diniyar Bilyaletdinov:Wolverhampton 0 - 3 Everton Diniyar Bilyaletdinov fires in a goal from just outside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Wolverhampton
44:09 Adlene Guedioura has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.
41:59 Magaye Gueye takes the inswinging corner, clearance made by Kevin Foley.
41:14 Inswinging corner taken by Leighton Baines from the right by-line, Richard Stearman manages to make a clearance.
40:47 The official flags Sylvan Ebanks-Blake offside. Sylvain Distin restarts play with the free kick.
39:41 Inswinging corner taken by Magaye Gueye, save by Wayne Hennessey.
39:21 Corner taken by Magaye Gueye, clearance made by Christophe Berra.
39:12 Magaye Gueye takes a shot. Save by Wayne Hennessey.
38:06 The assist for the goal came from Jermaine Beckford.
38:06 GOAL - Phil Neville:Wolverhampton 0 - 2 Everton Phil Neville finds the back of the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Wolverhampton
37:28 Unfair challenge on Leighton Baines by Adlene Guedioura results in a free kick. Leighton Baines crosses the ball in from the
Correction - 35:52 Jermaine Beckford produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
35:52 Shot from just outside the box by Leon Osman misses to the left of the goal.
35:38 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake takes a shot. Leon Osman gets a block in.
35:21 Matthew Jarvis takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Leon Osman makes a clearance.
35:03 Jamie O'Hara takes a shot. Sylvain Distin gets a block in.
31:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by George Elokobi on Leon Osman. Leighton Baines delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed
from right wing.
31:33 Leon Osman crosses the ball, Jermaine Beckford takes a shot. Save by Wayne Hennessey.
29:48 Steven Fletcher gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Phil Jagielka. Tim Howard takes the direct free kick.
28:28 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie O'Hara by Leon Osman. Jamie O'Hara takes the direct free kick.
26:26 Corner taken left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from the right by-line, clearance made by Sylvain Distin.
23:45 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov challenges Jamie O'Hara unfairly and gives away a free kick. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the
22:33 Effort from the edge of the box by Adlene Guedioura goes wide of the right-hand upright.
20:48 Assist on the goal came from Leon Osman.
20:48 GOAL - Jermaine Beckford:Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Everton Jermaine Beckford finds the net with a headed goal from close in. Wolverhampton 0-1 Everton.
19:32 George Elokobi is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.
18:41 Sylvain Distin fouled by Adlene Guedioura, the ref awards a free kick. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
15:33 Richard Stearman gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Beckford. Leighton Baines crosses the ball in
from the free kick.
13:42 Jermaine Beckford challenges Christophe Berra unfairly and gives away a free kick. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the
13:10 The referee blows for offside against Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
10:55 George Elokobi fouled by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Christophe Berra.
9:47 Foul by Sylvain Distin on Steven Fletcher, free kick awarded. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Jamie O'Hara from
8:33 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, clearance by Sylvain Distin.
7:52 Handball decision goes against Steven Fletcher. Sylvain Distin restarts play with the free kick.
7:06 Jamie O'Hara produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.
6:06 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis, Steven Fletcher takes a shot. Clearance made by Leon Osman.
5:17 Unfair challenge on Karl Henry by Leon Osman results in a free kick. Jamie O'Hara takes the direct free kick.
3:52 Steven Fletcher challenges Sylvain Distin unfairly and gives away a free kick. Tim Howard takes the free kick.
2:50 Corner taken right-footed by Matthew Jarvis, Shot from just outside the box by Jamie O'Hara goes over the crossbar.
2:31 Shot by Adlene Guedioura from 18 yards. Johnny Heitinga gets a block in.
1:46 Corner taken by Matthew Jarvis from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Leon Osman.
0:32 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Magaye Gueye by Adlene Guedioura. Free kick taken by Tim Howard.
0:00 The game kicks-off.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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