Wolves repel Stoke's long-throw fest
Wolves took another step towards Premier League survival after repelling a long-throw bombardment from Stoke in a 0-0 draw at Molineux. The share of the spoils in a match of little quality moved Mick McCarthy's side six points clear of the bottom three with four games remaining - and they also have a superior goal difference. Stoke had the best chances in the first half during which time Rory Delap reeled off 14 long throws - and 24 in total - to cries of 'boring, boring' from the home fans. Centre-back Abdoulaye Faye should have done better with some heading opportunities and Mamady Sidibe wasted a clear-cut opening early in the second period. But Wolves generally looked solid and their determination was typified by centre-back Jody Craddock who was made skipper on his 500th league appearance in place of the suspended Karl Henry. And during the second 45 minutes, Wolves looked more threatening after switching from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 formation. A short back pass from Wolves defender George Elokobi almost played keeper Marcus Hahnemann into trouble but he came quickly off his line to clear from the recalled Dean Whitehead. Stoke sent a series of early long throws from Delap into the Wolves box and, from one of them, Faye had a free header but sent his effort wide of the post. Most of the early pressing came from the visitors and a back header from Robert Huth flew straight at Hahnemann following another high up and under ball into the box. Stoke continued to dominate possession and Whitehead headed wide from Matthew Etherington's centre. Faye squandered another good chance to put Stoke in front after 23 minutes. Glenn Whelan hooked a loose ball back into the box and Faye climbed above the home defence but directed his header wide from close range. Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen was well positioned to cling on to a near post header from David Edwards from a Jones centre in Wolves' most dangerous moment of the opening 45 minutes. Wolves were relieved again when a Huth header was blocked from a Etherington corner. The chances continued to fall for Faye from the Delap throws and the centre-back sent another header wide when well placed 10 yards out. Sidibe wasted a good chance to put Stoke ahead after 54 minutes. A cross from Higginbotham found Sidibe unmarked just to the right of the Wolves goal but he sliced his shot wildly over the bar. In a rare moment of danger for Stoke, Edwards brought down a cross from Zubar but his shot flew straight at Sorensen. McCarthy made his first change after 59 minutes with Chris Iwelumo replacing Edwards to give extra support upfront for Kevin Doyle. Then Pulis brought on Tuncay for Kitson and was quickly forced to replace hamstring victim Sidibe with Liam Lawrence. Wolves started to look more menacing and Sorensen gathered a powerful Zubar header from a Craddock centre. But Whelan was only just too high with a 20 yard pile-driver before McCarthy brought on Nenad Milijas for Jones with 11 minutes left. Jarvis did well to block a volley from Higginbotham as Stoke searched for a late winner. The Wolves fans had their hearts in their mouths when Whelan curled a 25 yarder just wide. In injury-time Sorensen needed two attempts to keep out a Milijas free-kick.
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