Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Crystal Palace 1
There are times in any promotion campaign when you just instinctively know you're going up.
And it has not taken long this season for Wolverhampton Wanderers to experience that golden feeling.
It was not so much the quality of football that took the eye last night. Wolves were actually more impressive in only gaining a point at Southampton on Saturday.
But when a team gets runs as ragged as Wolves did at times by Crystal Palace's fast but luckless raiders, and still comes up smelling of roses, then you know the ball is running for you.
To add to the thrill of three points they were probably a little lucky to get was the unexpected bonus of George Ndah coming off the bench to enjoy his first competitive appearance in two and a quarter years. And, roared on by a clearly expectant and raucously noisy home crowd, it all added up to a great night as Wolves equalled a club record of 20 games unbeaten under Glenn Hoddle.
It took a late Darren Ward own goal to settle the outcome, but there is little doubt that it was the wall of noise created by the Molineux faithful, increased in volume following Ndah's late arrival, which tilted the balance.
In front of a near full house, it was a breathless start to the Molineux season.
With electrifying pace and precision with their first-time passing, Mark Kennedy and Rohan Ricketts combined to sneak a ball into the box, Carl Cort slid a low ball back across goal and Seol was waiting unmarked at the far post to guide it into an empty net.
There might have been a second too, but Gabor Kiraly pounced on Kenny Miller. And, although much of Wolves' early effort was encouragingly slick and entertaining, the failure to come up with a second goal was summed up by the way they fouled up one highly promising counter attack.
Seyi Olofinjana's interception in his own half seemed sure to trigger something when he ran 60 yards, with Seol, Kennedy and Miller all looking good outlets and screaming for the ball. But the Nigerian unaccountably decided to go alone and made a right mess of it.
By then, Palace, smarting from their weekend home defeat to Luton Town, had already emerged as more of an attacking force than Southampton had been on Saturday evening.
Already furious when referee Rob Styles opted not to play an advantage and they went on to put the ball in the net, Palace had a succession of chances to equalise before they actually did.
Johnson was twice denied in the same close shave, first by Michael Oakes, then when the rebound deflected wide off the recalled Jody Craddock.
Tom Soares shot over the bar and Johnson had a fierce low shot saved by Oakes. But their threat appeared to have evaporated when, out of nothing, Jonathan Macken and Craddock challenged each other, McAnuff sneaked into the box past Lee Naylor on the corner of the Wolves box and shot low just inside Oakes' right post.
Wolves again looked good at the start of the second half, Cort blazing wide with an attempted curler after being set up by Seol, while Miller struck the post when he met Kennedy's cross with a wellstruck volley.
But it was Palace who came closest to scoring again when Oakes had to make a blinding save to keep out a Johnson screamer seemingly bound for the top right corner. And it needed the impetus of Ndah's emotional late introduction to help inspire Wolves' grandstand finish.
Jackie McNamara drilled a cross to the far post, Cort climbed highest to ping a header back across goal in search of Ndah.
And, amidst the panic, would-be Michael Bolton lookalike Ward did something even more embarrassing than his haircut . . . he nodded past his own keeper.