Ramires opened the scoring early in the second half, before Stephen Ward looked to have snatched a point for the hosts, yet the 33-year-old's last-gasp effort secured the win
Both sides had excellent chances to break the deadlock in the first half with Wolves’s Roger Johnson coming the closest, as he saw his close-range header clatter off the post.
The Blues, however, showed their clinical edge in early in the second period when the Brazilian spun in the box and fired an effort into the top corner to give Andre Villas-Boas the lead.
Ward looked to have salvaged a point for the home side when he scored in the 84th minute however Lampard struck one minute before time to give the Blues a much needed win.
Mick McCarthy made five changes to his team that drew 1-1 with Bolton on Saturday with new loan signing Emmanuel Frimpong coming straight into the starting line-up.
Also recalled were Kevin Doyle, Dave Edwards, Anthony Forde and Adam Hammill, as Steven Fletcher, Matt Jarvis, Stephen Hunt, George Elokobi and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake made way.
Chelsea made three changes from the team that lost 3-1 to Aston Villa with Didier Drogba and Daniel Sturridge missing through injury while Paulo Ferreira dropped to the bench. Fernando Torres and Lampard were recalled to the first XI, as was Jose Bosingwa.
The Blues should taken the lead in the eighth minute through Juan Mata when he was put through by Torres, but the former Valencia man could not get decent contact on the ball and the chance was spurned.
Villas-Boas’ side were looking confident going forward and began to click into gear as Lampard and Torres played a lovely one-two to put the England man in on goal, only for the excellent defensive work from Christophe Berra and Richard Stearman to deny him.
Again the Blues threatened the Wolves goalmouth moments later when Ramires was released by Mata down the right. The Brazilian international beat his man before firing a powerful effort at goal, which crept just wide of the post.
Despite Chelsea’s dominance it was Wolves that came closest to breaking the deadlock when Roger Johnson headed Hammill’s pinpoint free-kick against the post with Petr Cech beaten, as the defender rose unmarked at the back-post.
The home side should have taken the lead seconds later when Hammill lifted the ball into the area and this time Stephen Ward rose unmarked in the six yard box but he could only head his effort wide of Cech’s goal.
Frank-tic finish | Lampard's late goal secured a much-needed victory for the Blues
Chelsea looked to be taken aback by the host’s near misses but got back into their passing game before the end of the half as Lampard and Bosingwa tested the handling ability of Wayne Hennessey with powerful efforts which the Welshman was equal to.
Wolves had an excellent opportunity to open the scoring at the start of the second half but Hammill’s volley, from substitute Matt Jarvis’ cross, was brilliantly blocked by John Terry as the ball looked to be heading for the net.
Chelsea responded to this threat straight away by taking the lead in the 54th minute through Ramires as he found the net from close range, blasting a right-footed shot into the top corner following the home side’s failure to clear a Mata corner.
The Blues took the pace out of the game after getting their goal to frustrate the Molineux crowd, with controlled passing to preserve their lead and stop McCarthy’s side from building any attacking momentum.
Torres hadn’t scored since the 24th September and showed why when blasting a volley way over Hennessey’s bar when well place inside the box, after latching onto a Ramires cross.
The home side nearly got back into the game through Edwards, who got behind the Chelsea defence and latched onto Karl Henry’s ball over the top, but couldn’t loop his header over Cech.
Chelsea tried to get a second goal to give them a cushion but could not breakthrough a stubborn Wolves rearguard action.
The visitors were to pay for their inability to kill of McCarthy's side, when Ward volleyed in an equaliser from close range after latching onto substitute Steven Fletcher’s knockdown, drawing an angry reaction from the Chelsea staff on the touchline.
However the west Londoners picked themselves up straight away and regained the lead through Lampard who tapped in from six-yards, converting Ashley Cole’s cross after good link-up play between the left-back and Torres.
Doyle nearly grabbed a late point for the home side in the dying seconds but was denied by an excellent save by Cech to give the visitors a much needed win and to save Villas-Boas’ blushes.
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