Wolves' victory famine ends

2010-11-27 20:45

Wolverhampton - Late substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake handed Wolverhampton a deserved and much sought-after 3-2 win over Sunderland with the winning goal in the dying moments of a thrilling match at Molineux on Saturday.

Wolves' fans have endured tough times of late with only one win in their last 13 matches leaving them deep in the relegation zone, five points from safety.

However, Mick McCarthy's pre-match pep talk, which must have mentioned the fact Sunderland have a poor record away to Wolves, seemed to work wonders.

Wolves started the match energetically and harried the visitors throughout an opening half in which the goalscoring chances came thick and fast for both sides.

In the sixth minute Irish striker Kevin Doyle took the ball wide and ran past Anton Ferdinand to force Sunderland 'keeper Craig Gordon into action.

The Black Cats hit back through Bolo Zenden minutes later, the Dutchman's 20-yard shot flying past Hennessey's left post.

Wolves then missed a great chance to open the scoring when defender Richard Stearman saw his close range header from Matt Jarvis's corner go wide.

Doyle spurned another chance on 17 minutes when he latched on to Stephen Ward's cross only to blast it narrowly over Gordon's crossbar.

Darren Bent then won a freekick for Sunderland after a handball by George Elokobi, which earned the Nigerian a yellow card.

Bent's call almost paid off, with Kieran Richardson blasting the resulting freekick off Hennessey's post.

Wolves started the second half with the same vigour, with Ronald Zubar's long-range effort whistling narrowly wide.

Moments later Wolves took the lead in the 50th minute, with Irish defender Kevin Foley blasting past Gordon after the 'keeper had parried a searing shot by Matt Jarvis.

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce pulled off Zenden and took a gamble by sending on Asamoah Gyan, who has been troubled by a thigh strain.

His arrival seemed to spur the Black Cats and the Ghanaian played a direct role once the equaliser did come by flicking on a long ball from Gordon to Bent, who left Stearman flat-footed to beat Hennessey for 1-1.

The goal lifted Sunderland, who came close to stunning Wolves when on-loan Manchester United striker Dany Welbeck played in Bent, whose first-timer hit the sidenetting.

Welbeck's persistence finally paid off in the 77th minute when he met Phil Bardsley's superb cross with a powerful header which beat Hennessey to put Sunderland ahead.

Wolves, however, fought back and once again had Gordon to thank when the Scottish 'keeper spilled a header from Zubar into the path of Hunt, who tapped home for the equaliser.

McCarthy's joy was complete when striker Ebanks-Blake, who replaced defender Michael Mancienne in the dying moments, produced a superb winner after connecting with Doyle's inch-perfect cross from the left flank.