Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said his side must show “big character” after a sixth defeat in seven games saw opponents Wolves climb above them into seventh.
Raul Jimenez got his fifth goal of the season for the opener, turning in Diogo Jota’s deflected shot after a bad Charlie Daniels error.
It was a gift of a goal that came against the run of play and from the first half’s only attempt on target before Jefferson Lerma hit a tame shot in added time.
Jota picked up an injury and was replaced at the break by Helder Costa, who should have doubled Wolves’ lead but fired rashly wide with only Asmir Begovic to beat.
Bournemouth top scorer Callum Wilson returned from injury shortly after as a substitute, but it was Junior Stanislas who almost found the equaliser with a free-kick that rattled Rui Patricio’s crossbar.
In driving rain, Howe’s side dominated possession with much of the match played in Wolves’ half, but they failed to find a way through a solid defence.
And they were punished on the break as they threw everything forward in injury time, with substitute Ivan Cavaleiro finishing coolly in an easy one-on-one set up by Costa’s pass on the halfway line.
“A lot of our build-up play was very good, but the killer instinct wasn’t. We didn’t create many real clear-cut chances. We’ve got to be very strong, show big character and come through this bad form,” Howe told BBC Sport.
“Confidence is such a delicate thing. You can’t overestimate the importance of losing key individuals to injury but that’s no excuse, that’s what you have a squad for.
“We dominated the ball today and made two big mistakes for the goals. Wolves are very good at soaking pressure and hitting on the counter. It was a frustrating afternoon.”
Wolves are now one point behind sixth-placed Manchester United, who play away to Liverpool on Sunday, while Bournemouth slip to 11th.