FULL TIME: Wolves 2 Wanderers 2
JIMMY Phillips is almost certainly going to finish his caretaker role exhibiting a few more grey hairs than he started with!
It seemed new Wanderers boss in waiting Dougie Freedman wasn't the only no-show at Molineux last night, as the lucky streak developed in Saturday's thriller against Bristol City seemed to have vanished completely.
But facing a 2-1 defeat in the face, it was Wolves old boy Mark Davies who performed a heroic rescue in the rain with a 90th minute volley to keep up Phillips' unbeaten run, in what could conceivably be his final game in charge.
While Crystal Palace were busy appointing a manager who hasn't yet crossed the tees on his contract, it it was left to the Bolton boot room to concentrate minds.
And they performed the task admirably again, albeit with another 10-minute dodgy spell of defending that seemed for so long to have cost Wanderers a share of the spoils.
Phillips stuck with the side that has pulled off the miraculous recovery against Bristol City on Saturday, and the football flowed just as freely.
There was nothing to separate the two sides on a greasy pitch early on, with Adam Bogdan the only keeper forced to work in the opening 20 minutes to make a scurrying save from Sylvain Ebanks-Blake.
But the game exploded into life when Martin Petrov swung in a corner, which found Benik Afobe in an incredible amount of space in the six yard box to chest down, and then poke the ball over the line for his first league goal for the club.
That sparked an immediate reaction from the home side, who hit the woodwork just 60 seconds later when defender Roger Johnson got his head to Jermain Pennant's curling cross, only to see his effort flick off the bar.
Those oh-so-familiar nerves then kicked in at the back, and having defended their penalty box quite resolutely to that point, it seemed the point of collapse was not far away.
Just a few moments later, Wanderers were laid bare when an incisive pass by Bakary Sako enabled Kevin Doyle to get between two defenders and slide the ball past Bogdan for the equaliser.
Wolves were not finished yet, and barely two minutes later, Irishman Doyle was wheeling away in celebration again.
This time, it was a curling free-kick from Sako that beat Bogdan all ends up and bounced off the crossbar – Doyle being first to react with a simple header home from six yards out.
Quite unlike Saturday's victory over Bristol City, Wanderers were being matched in the passing department, and the speed at which both sides went on the attack made for compelling viewing.
Bogdan beat away Pennant's free kick at his near post to prevent a third, but in a flash, Petrov was testing Carl Ikeme at the other end with a dipping free kick that had the Wolves keeper scampering across his own goal.
The Bulgarian – lauded by Phillips after Saturday's win – was once again looking in the mood, swinging in some crosses of supreme quality from the left, and adopting that shoot-on-sight mentality that only seems to emerge when he really has his dander up.
Goalscorer Afobe was brought off at the break for David Ngog. And it was from the Frenchman's clever header that Wanderers nearly pulled themselves level.
Ngog set Petrov scampering down the right, and when Ikeme had only punched his cross into the path of Chris Eagles, only some good covering defending by Johnson prevented him from pulling the trigger on his seventh strike of the season.
With Phillips and the ever-animated Sammy Lee screaming from the sidelines for the Whites to keep their composure, the game started to lose its initial pace.
Wanderers replaced Matt Mills with Sam Ricketts, with with their zip now all but gone, they were finding a frustrating experience trying to puncture the Wolves back line.
All of a sudden, two chances appeared from nowhere.
Stephen Warnock lost his footing in the sodden turf to present a golden opportunity to Bjorn Sigurdarson – but one the Icelander somehow managed to drag wide.
Almost instantly Wanderers broke, and a half-cleared ball allowed Eagles to drive low, forcing Ikeme to parry the ball into the path of Ngog. And just as Sigurdarson had done seconds earlier at the other end, his shot was woefully off target.
Eagles seemed to be getting closer and closer, and when Mark Davies was tripped on the edge of the box, it appeared his time had come.
Just as he has on so many occasions this season, he composed himself from the set piece before driving low – only for a nick off the defender to divert his shot inches wide of the post.
Wolves were pinned in their own area, and with four minutes left, Ikeme was forced into a sprawling save from Spearing before Karl Henry got back to prevent Ngog from tapping the ball into the empty net.
And then, when all hope looked lost, one finally did find the target.
Stearman headed out to the edge of the box, where Mark Davies took a touch and then hit a shot off-balance into the top corner to stun Molineux into silence.