Premier League - Spirited Wolves see off City
Sat, 30 Oct 16:08:00 2010
Emmanuel Adebayor put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot after Richard Stearman had felled David Silva midway through the first half. Wolves responded on the half-hour mark through a fine Nenad Milijas volley.
City rather lost their way in the second half and Wolves deservedly grabbed the winner 10 minutes after the break as David Edwards kept his cool to slot home from close range following poor defending.
Although they remain second from bottom in the table, the victory is the first earned by Mick McCarthy's side since the opening day of the season and moves them to within just two points of Fulham in eighth. City remain fourth, trailing leaders Chelsea by eight points.
With Carlos Tevez having returned to Argentina to recuperate from a dead leg, the pre-match attention was focused on striker Mario Balotelli, making his first start for City since his transfer from Internazionale in the summer.
Indeed the Italian was straight into the thick of the action, forcing Kevin Foley into a last-ditch block inside four minutes before seeing a venomous drive fly just over the bar after a neat exchange with Adebayor.
Balotelli was then inches away from grabbing his first league goal, glancing a header just wide from James Milner's cross.
After a difficult start, Wolves soon settled and began to win more of the midfield battles. However they fell behind midway through the first half when Richard Stearman conceded a penalty by bringing down Silva as the Spaniard strove to keep the ball in play right on the by-line.
Adebayor stepped up confidently and sent Marcus Hahnemann the wrong way with his spot-kick.
David Edwards almost replied with Wolves' very next attack, his glancing, near-post header superbly tipped over by Joe Hart.
The Wolves fans did not have to wait long to see their side get back on level terms as Milijas rounded off a fine team move with a sweeping left foot volley straight into the bottom corner.
Matt Jarvis had been giving Micah Richards a torrid time on the left wing, and his teasing cross almost saw Wolves take the lead within seconds of pulling level. Neither Stephen Hunt nor Kevin Doyle could make the vital last yard to turn the ball home.
Four minutes before half-time Adebayor's powerful leap took him high above both Hahnemann and Christophe Berra in the heart of the Wolves area, but could only glance Balotelli's pinpoint cross agonisingly past the far post.
After a highly promising first half, Balotelli had a poor second half, and his performance mirrored that of the entire City side as Wolves turned their increased possession into the vital winning goal on 57 minutes.
Foley hoisted a rather hopeful high ball into the City box, and although Kolo Toure won the header, he failed to clear the danger and Edwards was on hand to snap up the loose ball and sidefoot home.
Hahnemann then tipped a Silva drive past the post before City's finishing went totally awry. Milner, Jerome Boateng and Adebayor all fired shots high into the darkening Midlands sky, with Adebayor's effort the most excruciating for the visiting fans to watch as the Togolese was picked out unmarked and just 10 yards out by substitute Adam Johnson.
City boss Mancini set tongues wagging as to what his plans were as he replaced striker Adebayor with midfielder Pablo Zabaleta with 15 minutes remaining, and the succession of high balls pumped into the area as City's need for a goal became ever more urgent only served to cause more wonderment around the ground.
Jo was introduced with 10 minutes remaining in place of Richards, allowing City to finally get more bodies into the Wolves box, but slack passing and poor crossing meant Hahnemann had a more comfortable final few minutes than he may have anticipated.
Wolves saw out a crucial victory with relative ease, while City's all-too-familiar inconsistency left their fans frustrated once more.Mike FitzGerald / Eurosport