By Bill Howell
TEN-man Millwall endured a torrid afternoon at Molineux as they were sent crashing back down to earth against one of the division's early pace-setters.
Diogo Jota's impressive 10th-minute strike proved the difference between the teams but in reality there was a gulf in class.
Matters were not helped at all by Aiden O'Brien's 65th-minute sending-off for a second booking as he hauled down Matt Doherty on the right.
O'Brien had been booked only 10 minutes previously for a late tackle on Jota in front of 1,500 away fans close to the half-way line.
In truth, those fans had precious little to shout about, seeing Steve Morison chest and fire a half-chance wide before the break and then head over in the second half from a rare James Meredith cross.
A wasteful Wolves were taking pot shots at the Millwall goal long before Robert Madley brought a halt to proceedings.
And yet deep into the five minutes of added-on time Shaun Williams could have levelled it. Millwall won a rare corner, only their third of the match, before the ball was half-cleared to the edge of the box. Time stood still as Williams sized up a decent volley but John Ruddy held on firmly.
Fresh from beating Norwich City 4-0 before the international break Lions boss Neil Harris had, unsurprisingly, named an unchanged line-up.
It was a solid looking 4-4-2 formation against a Wolves side stuttering after a home defeat to Cardiff and an away draw at Brentford.
But from the outset the visitors looked to be playing well within themselves and it took only 10 minutes for Wolves to get the lead.
Midfield play-maker Jota was given far too much time and space as he fired a superb low strike past Jordan Archer's despairing right arm from 25 yards following a one-two with Leo Bonatini.
Harris will have been disappointed with the shape of his team with his defenders all at sea and backing off to allow Jota to shoot.
That set the scene for a poor first half from the Lions who could easily have found themselves a couple of goals behind.
The fact that they weren't owed much to the brilliance of Archer who saved well from Bonatini as early as the ninth minute at his near post from Doherty's pass, just as he did from the same player late on with the Brazilian striker facing a one-on-one.
Morison's shot was blocked by Miranda before Wolves again upped the tempo with Ruben Vinagre shooting wide.
Ruben Neves fired over the crossbar as half-time approached as a dominant Wolves went into the break ahead.
Wolves began the second half in much the same vein with Ben Marshall sizing up a shot from distance that was well struck but equally well held by Archer.
There then followed a catalogue of near misses as Neves fired over, Jed Wallace fired across the face of goal, Romain Saiss saw a wonderful shot saved by Archer one-handed and Bonatini turned and shot just wide.
Millwall rarely threatened with 11 men and with 10 it was a well-nigh impossible task.
Substitute Bright Enobakhare saw a deflected shot fly wide as Neves, Wallace and then Bonatini also went close.
With nine minutes remaining Archer pulled off a cracking save to deny Bonatini and as the 90th-minute mark arrived Saiss and Bonatini were denied by Archer and a deflection as Millwall somehow survived conceding another goal.
They left the field applauded by the travelling fans with their heads high ahead of a crucial London derby at QPR on Tuesday.
Wolves: 3-4-2-1: Ruddy; Batth, Coady, Miranda; Doherty, Saiss, Neves (N'Diaye,77), Vinagre; Marshall (Enobakhare,59), Diogo Jota (Cavaleiro,87); Bonatini. Subs: Norris, Price, Ronan, Deslandes.
Millwall: 4-4-2: Archer; McLaughlin, Webster, Hutchinson, Meredith (Ferguson,79); Wallace (Onyedinma,79) , Saville, Williams, O'Brien; Gregory, Morison. Subs: King, Craig, Romeo, Tunnicliffe, Cooper.
Image: Millwall FC