Premier League - Stoke hit back to beat Wolves

Sat, 17 Dec 16:55:00 2011

Stoke City came from behind to beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 in the Premier League at Molineux.

Wolves 1 Stoke 2

Stephen Hunt gave Wolves the lead from the penalty spot after Jonathan Woodgate had brought down the lively Matthew Jarvis in the area, but Kevin Doyle deflected Robert Huth's free-kick into his own net just before the hour mark to bring Stoke level.

Peter Crouch then headed in a deep cross from Matthew Etherington 20 minutes from time to secure Stoke's fourth successive Premier League win, a result that cements them in eighth place in the Premier League.

Wolves go into the Christmas period dangerously close to the relegation zone after their 10th defeat in 16 Premier League games this season.

Manager Mick McCarthy was forced into two changes, Dave Edwards (groin) and Jamie O’Hara (calf) both missing out, with Hunt and Nenad Milijas coming in.

Stoke boss Tony Pulis reverted to the side which beat Tottenham Hotspur last week after making a number of changes for the Europa League match away to Besiktas.

Wolves made all the early running, with Ronald Zubar slicing a shot just wide after connecting with a Jarvis cross.

Jarvis was causing all kinds of problems for Woodgate, who was looking far from comfortable at right-back.

The former Tottenham Hotspur defender was booked for a clumsy challenge on Jarvis after just nine minutes, and there was far worse to come on the quarter-hour mark as he conceded a penalty for bringing down the winger in the area. Woodgate was fortunate not to collect a second yellow card for the offence.

Hunt comfortably stroked the resulting spot-kick beyond Thomas Sorensen to give Wolves a deserved lead.

The chastened Woodgate was quickly substituted by Pulis who clearly feared a second booking for the defender. Jermaine Pennant was introduced in his place, with Ryan Shotton moving to right-back.

Wolves went on to dominate the half, and could have doubled their lead, with Sorensen forced into a good low block from a Hunt effort after a mix-up in the Stoke defence.

Stoke’s best chance of the half came when Crouch left a Shotton cross for Etherington who mis-hit his shot with only Wayne Hennessey to beat.

Stoke came out with far more purpose in the second-half as they nullified the home side and looked more dangerous themselves.

They threatened after the restart when Jonathan Walters failed to control a deep cross from Etherington, but it was not long before Stoke were level.

Wolves captain Roger Johnson was harshly pulled up for a foul on Walters, and Huth’s low free-kick, which looked to be heading off target, deflected off Doyle and into the net.

It was a poor error from goalkeeper Hennessey who, despite the deflection, should have dealt with Huth’s shot.

Stoke searched for a second and Hennessey went some way towards atoning for his error by pushing a rising shot from Etherington over the bar. But he was powerless to prevent Crouch’s 70th minute winner.

Etherington swung in a deep cross after good interplay with Pennant on the left and Crouch was on hand to head home at the far post. Stephen Ward, though, may have done more to intercept Etherington’s cross.

Stoke held out comfortably to close to within two points of seventh-placed Newcastle, while Wolves remain entrenched in a relegation battle after a tepid second-half display.

Stewart Coggin / Eurosport

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