Watford were keen to build on their 6-1 thrashing of Leeds but had to face Wolves without Almen Abdi, who dislocated his shoulder at Elland Road.
And it was Wolves, inspired by Jermaine Pennant, who played the more incisive football at the start of the match.
Defences were in control as two well-organised sides cancelled each other out in the opening stages, with the visitors keen to avoid their fourth straight defeat on the road.
But having done well to stifle the hosts, Wolves found themselves with a mountain to climb after only 25 minutes when defender Christophe Berra received a straight red card for a mistimed challenge on Deeney. Referee Graham Scott may have opted for a yellow card but issued a red instead and the visitors had their backs to the wall.
Pennant was immediately sacrificed for defender Danny Batth from the subs’ bench as Wolves tried to make the most of an afternoon that had already turned sour.
Now on the front foot, Watford took the game to the visitors at last and Jonathan Hogg’s shot from distance whistled wide after 31 minutes.
And the Hornets were ahead four minutes later when Chalobah turned home a chance from 12 yards after good work from Fernando Forestieri.
Watford sensed blood and went for the kill before half time. Daniel Pudil saw his 20-yard shot blocked by Roger Johnson, while a drive from Forestieri cleared the crossbar and Jonathan Hogg’s effort from distance went wide.
Against all the odds, though, 10-man Wolves levelled after 54 minutes when Bakary Sako blasted home from all of 35 yards.
It had taken something special to breach Zola’s side but the Hornets were stung into action by their setback and both Forestieri and Pudil went close to restoring the hosts’ lead, both being denied by Carl Ikeme in the Wolves goal.
Sako tried his luck again, this time from 30 yards out, but his left-foot effort was blocked by Mark Yeates as Stale Solbakken’s side showed fighting spirit in abundance.
But they were caught napping after 68 minutes when a cross by Yeates was headed home from six yards by Deeney. They were unable to muster a response in the final 20 minutes as Watford held on for the points.