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Wolves vs Stoke City
 1 - 2 
Sat Dec 17 15:00:00 GMT 2011
A Taylor

STOKE CITY achieved another memorable 'first' . . . as they battled back to claim a fourth successive Barclays Premier League victory in the Staffordshire derby.

Second half goals from Robert Huth and Peter Crouch meant that City made it four wins in a row in the Premier League for the first time since they won promotion.

The Potters had to come from behind after Stephen Hunt had fired Wolverhampton Wanderers ahead from the penalty spot in the 17th minute in an uneasy start to the game.


But City gradually got on top and equalised in the 58th minute when Huth's 30-yard shot from a free kick took a wicked deflection off the wall and then Crouch bundled home his 99th goal from an excellent left wing cross sent over by Matthew Etherington.

The victory means that Tony Pulis' side have doubled their points tally over the last four games with triumphs over Blackburn, Everton, Tottenham and now Wolves.

It consolidates their position in the top half of the table and means they now enter the Christmas period well past the halfway point in the race to get to 40 points as quickly as possible and therefore guarantee their Premier League status for another season.

Jon Walters shields the ball from Karl Henry. ACTION IMAGES

Pulis reverted back to his Premier League line-up, sending out the same side that had made it three successive wins by ending Tottenham's record-breaking run. The only notable change was Pennant's return on the bench in place of Delap.

City found themselves under immediate pressure as Sorensen came off his line to punch clear and when Milijas played the ball back in to the box immediately, the 'keeper had to race across his area to gather under pressure from Doyle.

Jarvis was causing the Potters particular problems with his bursts down the left and a low cross found Zubar who stabbed his shot wide.

Woodgate had certainly got his hands full in dealing with the threat of Jarvis and he was shown a yellow card for bringing him down in full flight.

The first threat from the Potters came when Walters started and finished a move in which some neat touches from Whelan and Crouch gave the Republic of Ireland striker a sniff of goal, but his eventual shot was well off target.

Glenn Whelan plays the ball against Wolves. ACTION IMAGES

As Jarvis continued to tease and torment the City defence, it was hardly surprising they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Woodgate.

The Potters were relieved the referee didn't show the England defender a second yellow card, but they found themselves behind as Hunt calmly tucked his spot kick past the diving Sorensen to his right in the 17th minute.

It was hardly surprising that City made an immediate change, pulling off Woodgate and sending on Pennant with Shotton moving to right back.

It was a tactical change which breathed life into the Potters and Pennant had a major part to play in them forcing their way back into the game.

When the winger was released down the right by Walters, his cross to the far post was headed back by Crouch, but Whelan couldn't get a shot on target.

There was, however, a worrying moment for City when Shawcross tried to clear the ball, but it broke for Hunt whose volley was well-saved by Sorensen and the Danish international was up smartly to claim the cross turned over by the Wolves winger.

Pennant was then the orchestrator of a promising move which released Shotton on the overlap and his pull back was left by Crouch for Etherington coming in behind him, but he mishit his shot and it landed safely in the arms of Hennessey.

Matthew Etherington takes on Nenad Milijas. ACTION IMAGES

Shortly before the break, City created another opportunity to get back on level terms, but after Walters had caused panic in the Wolves defence with a cross from the right, Huth saw his header from a corner deflected over the bar.

City were the first to threaten after the break as first Pennant and then Etherington delivered menacing crosses from either flank. As Shawcross rose to try and get his head to the second of them, he felt that was impeded by Berra.

There was concern about the fitness of Walters after he was left hobbling by a challenge from Milijas which earned the Wolves player a booking.

Wolves mounted their first period of sustained pressure and a mistake by Etherington presented Hunt with a shooting chance, but his curling effort which appeared to be heading for the far corner, but Sorensen was equal to it with a diving save.

Moments later, that save seemed even more decisive as City equalised from a free kick which was awarded for a foul by Johnson on Walters.

When Wilson slipped the ball to Huth, he unleashed a fierce drive from fully 30 yards which deflected off the wall and past Hennessey.

Robert Huth smashes the ball towards goal, which then takes a deflection to go in. ACTION IMAGES

The Potters had to soak up a considerable amount of pressure after the equaliser, but they looked threatening on the counter attack.

Having got themselves on level terms in the 58th minute, they went in front twelve minutes later with a well-worked move out of defence.

The slick pass movement ended with Etherington sending over a perfect cross from the left to the far post where Crouch got the finishing touch.

Although Wolves had plenty of possession, City's defence stood firm against anything the home side could throw at them after the goal.

City eventually made a couple of changes as Whelan hobbled off to be replaced by Palacios before Fuller came on for Etherington.

With Walters now operating down the left, he cut inside from the flank to try his luck from long range, but his firmly struck shot was saved by Hennessey.

Referee Taylor added five minutes injury time on at the end, but although that lifted the home crowd for one final push for an equaliser, the Potters were able to soak up anything that was put before them to claim the victory.

Peter Crouch celebrates scoring the winning goal at Wolves. ACTION IMAGES


Robert Huth celebrates his goal against Wolves. ACTION IMAGES
Stoke City make it four Premier League wins in a row for the first time with their local derby triumph over Wolves.
 Match Information
  Wolverhampton Stoke
Goals : 1 2
Possession : 59% 41%
Shots On Target : 4 4
Shots Off Target : 5 4
Corners : 7 5
Fouls : 8 11
Most Fouls : Milijas (2) Whelan (3)
Yellow Cards : 2 4
Red Cards : 0 0
Scorers :
Hunt 17 (pen)
Doyle 58 (og)
Crouch 70
Full Match Stats
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