Wolverhampton Wanderers scored three second-half goals to boost their promotion hopes as they eventually eased past a Fulham side who appeared to have already started their summer holidays.

Colin Lee’s side secured a ninth win in ten matches at Molineux and Wolves now sit three points behind sixth-placed Huddersfield Town with a game in hand. That fixture is on Wednesday at Bolton, who are also targeting extending their season as they eye sixth spot following a fine run of form.

The hosts had to wait until five minutes after half time to find a breakthrough even though Fulham had offered decidedly little as an attacking force. The deadlock was broken by Darren Bazeley’s right-wing corner, which the Norwegian midfielder athletically powered past Maik Taylor with a powerful diving header. The game was over as a content nine minutes later when Terry Phelan bundled over Michael Branch in the box and Kevin Muscat clinically converted the penalty.

Wolves had eased off long before substitute Scott Taylor fired through a crowded goalmouth to add a third at the start of stoppage time but that goal brought their goal difference level with Huddersfield, which could prove vital should they win at Bolton in midweek. In contrast to Wolves’ watchable approach play, Fulham – still under the caretaker stewardship of Karl-Heinz Riedle – barely had a shot in anger, with Kevin Ball coming closest when his header was blocked by Keith Curle.

The hosts had plenty of chances in the first period with Nielsen, Emblen and Ade Akinbiyi denied by Fulham’s Northern Irish international goalkeeper before the lively Nielsen had a goal disallowed for offside. Horsfield, who was fortunate to escape further punishment for elbowing Ludovic Poillet, was substituted shortly after half-time with Fulham’s season fizzling out.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (4-4-2): Oakes; Bazeley, Curle, Pollet (Robinson 81), Muscat; Nielsen (Taylor 54), Emblen, Sedgley, Sinton (Naylor 20); Akinbiyi, Branch. Subs (not used): Petterson, Flo.

GOALS: Nielsen (50), Muscat (pen 60), Taylor (90).

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Uhlenbeek (Neilson 35), Phelan, Melville, Coleman (Trollope 90); Ball, Hayward, Finnan, Clark; Horsfield (Hayles 54), Peschisolido. Subs (not used): Thompson, Selley.

BOOKED: Uhlenbeek, Horsfield.

REFEREE: William Burns (Scarborough).