Wolves dampen Stoke fire

2010-08-14 18:39

Stoke City suffered a double blow in their English Premier League opener as a 2-1 defeat to Wolves also left manager Tony Pulis fretting over a possible injury to new signing Kenwyne Jones.

Goals from David Jones and Steven Fletcher gave Mick McCarthy's hosts a deserved lead at the interval, only for Stoke's Senegalese captain Abdoulaye Faye to reduce arrears 10 minutes after the restart.

Stoke battled for an equaliser, rather scrappily at times, in the final quarter of the match before succumbing to a defeat in a match which Pulis would have thought was a great opportunity to get off to a winning start.

Both sides started with new signings, but once again it was Stoke who arguably came off worse on that front as well.

Jones, a midweek signing from Sunderland, almost handed Stoke a stunning opener on three minutes when he broke free down the right and unleashed a drive which smacked off the crossbar.

Minutes later Jones came off worst after a tackle by Jody Craddock, and after receiving treatment for a long time Pulis replaced the forward with Mamade Sidibe. He later emerged from the tunnel on crutches.

Fletcher also came out worst in an early challenge with Faye, but the former Burnley and Hibernian man recovered quickly and soon provided the first of two chances Wolves had to take the lead on the half hour.

The Scot provided for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake on the volley, only for 'keeper Thomas Sorensen to rush out and block. Some fancy footwork from Fletcher then created space for a shot from 12 yards which Sorensen blocked again.

Jones then grabbed Wolves's opener from a free-kick on 37 minutes after he used a mix of imagination and skill to flick up Karl Henry's short tap.

Two minutes later Fletcher doubled Wolves' lead after an all-Scottish move with Christophe Berra delivering a deep cross from the right by-line which, after looping over Sorensen after a deflection, left Fletcher to nod home from the back post.

Fletcher continued his fine form early in the second half when a rising drive from long range went over the crossbar, but only minutes later he was replaced by Andy Keogh after picking up an ankle knock.

With little to show from the first half, and plenty to do in the second Pulis waited only minutes before making a change, taking off first half substitute Sidibe for Tuncay.

Minutes later Faye gave Stoke a lifeline when he reduced arrears for the visitors with a header from a corner.

Stoke, however, provided little threat for the rest of the second half, their frustration building slowly and yielded the two yellow cards that were shown to defender Robert Huth, for a rugby tackle on Mathew Jarvis, then Dean Whitehead, for a tackle from behind on Jarvis.