Midfielder Chris Marsden scored his third goal of the season to lead Southampton into the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time in 17 years and ensure a miserable return to the South Coast for Wolves boss Dave Jones.
Marsden, who was signed by Jones during his turbulent time in charge of Southampton, set the Premiership side on course for victory with the first goal on 56 minutes after Saints had survived stormy opening to the match.
The 34-year-old, a former Wolves player, put Saints ahead with an overhead kick from midway inside the penalty area that deceived everyone after Swedish international Anders Svensson's corner had been only half cleared.
Wolves began the brighter and the first division side could have been in front inside the first 15 minutes when Republic of Ireland international Mark Kennedy's close-range effort was kept out by a smart stop from Southampton goalkeeper Antti Niemi.
Marsden was involved in most of Southampton's rare forays forward during a tense opening 45 minutes and was unlucky not to hit the target with a close-range header which landed on top of the net after striker Brett Omerod had crossed from the right.
Saints attacked with more purpose after the half-time break and top scorer James Beattie looked to have put them ahead just six minutes into the second period when he found himself unmarked on the edge of the six yard box.
But Beattie somehow failed to keep his header down after Svensson had crossed from the left.
However Saints were not to be denied five minutes later when the impressive Marsden found himself in the right place to open the scoring much to the frustration of his former manager.
Wolves attacked bravely for the final half an hour but their hopes of forcing an equaliser were dashed when captain Paul Butler unluckily turned the ball past his own goalkeeper to seal Saints victory.
Centre back Butler accidentally deflected the ball past Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray after the busy Beattie had missed substitute Jo Tessem's cross.