With the season nearing its end, Stoke City met Wolverhampton in what would be a tough ask for Wolverhampton to ensure a win. Wolverhampton have come off second best considering their recent form; losing 5 of the 8 occasions after having scored the opening goal.
Meanwhile Stoke City, who are currently at 13th place, are hopeful of a historical top 10 finish, having been as high as no.8 at the turn of the year earlier in the season. The match saw Roger Johnson dropped to the bench and Ronald Zubar in the starting line-up and Karl Henry on as skipper for Wolverhampton.
Wolverhampton experienced early pressure as a possible penalty appeal off an early corner kick by Stoke shook their fragile confidence. Walters missed a low header in front of goal coming off the head of Peter Crouch – when minutes before Crouch fell short at the near post following a cross from Etherington.
Despite Stoke’s efforts Wolverhampton scored first after 26’. A stunned Begovic appeared thrown off by Edward’s run coming though in the middle as a disguised flick off Kightly’s right foot spun the ball all the way inside the goalposts.
An unmarked Huth levelled matters after 37’. The goal came as a result of a free kick after a squabble between Kightly and Etherington. Wolves missed a couple of opportunities early in the 2nd half and would be punished when Pennant’s delivery saw Crouch’s head at the end of it to give Stoke a 2-1 lead after 61’.
Wolves pressed on with a good combination of passes as well as movement and possession inside the 18 yard area but continued to miss their chances through Jarvis and sub Kevin Doyle’s contribution. Doyle’s decent shot at goal in the 89’ which was comfortably dealt with by goalkeeper Begovic was arguably their last attempt to score the equaliser. Wolves were naïve as far as defending was concerned.
After they scored the opening goal, their performance along with commitment from all players remained questionable. They had notable moments yet failed to convert some of their chances at goal. Stoke City on the other hand managed to secure the win on home soil without playing their best. They have proven to be tough when faced at the Britannia Stadium, but have not travelled particularly well.
Wolves manager, Terry Connor, could not be more disappointed as he has only collected a single point from 5 matches while seeing his team concede a truckload of goals, 16 in total under his management.
Connor has been appointed until the end of the season; and questions will surely follow (almost undoubtedly directed to the club owner Steve Morgan) on whether or not Wolverhampton were right in their decision to give Mick McCarthy the boot.
Connor has expressed that he embraces the challenges he is faced with given the team’s circumstances:
‘You can attend as many management courses as you like but when it is your responsibility and your head; nothing could prepare you for that’.
Written by Lebo Poen
Follow her on Twitter @ellpoen
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