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19:18 14th August 2010

A Good Start

Wolves 2 (D. Jones 36, Fletcher 38)

Stoke City 1 (Faye 55)

Wolves opened the new campaign with a hard fought but deserved victory over Stoke City. It was the first time since 1999 that a Molineux side had won a first game of the season.

Steven Fletcher and Jelle Van Damme both made their full debuts as Stoke kicked-off attacking the North Bank end. And inside the first 30 seconds Marcus Hahnemann had to dive at Ricardo Fuller's feet as he cut out Matthew Etherington's low cross.

City were making all of the early running and in the third minute Kenwyne Jones held off Christophe Berra's challenge as he cut in from the right before hitting a shot that bounced off the face off the crossbar.

When Wolves did get forward for the first time, Fletcher was penalised for pulling at Abdoulaye Faye as the pair ran into the Stoke box.

Wolves were reduced to ten men for a few minutes whilst Van Damme received treatment to a cut head. In his absence Rory Delap took the first of his notorious long throws of the afternoon but Fletcher had dropped back to head clear.

After eight minutes Dave Jones drove a low shot into the City net but the referee blew for a foul on the keeper to silence the cheers of the South Bank.

Kenwyne Jones was hurt following a challenge by Jody Craddock. There was no foul but City's new signing was in obvious distress and his debut came to an end after just 14 minutes with Mamady Sidibe deputising.

A clever flick by Fletcher found Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who spread a pass to Van Damme on the left. Fletcher ran in to meet the cross that followed but he hooked the ball high over the bar with a first time effort. Seconds later the Scot needed treatment following a challenge by Faye.

Thomas Sorensen had to punch clear a well delivered cross from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and then Berra headed well wide from a Matt Jarvis centre.

Jarvis pumped a cross over to Fletcher whose pass to Ebanks-Blake hit the arm of Ryan Shawcross. Appeals for hands were waved away by the referee but the danger wasn't over for the visiting defence as first Ebanks-Blake and then Fletcher had shots blocked. The ball then rolled into the path of Jones who failed to make proper contact allowing the defence to clear.

Dean Whitehead's clumsy challenge on Kevin Foley a foot outside the Stoke box led to Wolves taking a 36th minute lead. Karl Henry, with is back to goal, rolled the ball to Jones who flicked it into the air and volleyed into the net via the underside of the bar. It was a spectacular effort (pictured).

Just two minutes later Fletcher doubled the score with his first goal for the club as he headed in from point blank range. Jarvis crossed to Berra who had Faye at his back. But the Wolves defender managed to turn and hoist a short cross that took a deflection before Fletcher got in front of Danny Higginbotham to find the net

In first-half stoppage time Robert Huth blocked a low shot from the lively Jarvis.

Half-Time: Wolves 2 Stoke 0

Fletcher was a yard too high with a long range shot shortly before he departed from the field, obviously feeling the effects of some earlier challenges, to be replaced by Andy Keogh.

Shortly afterwards it was substitute for substitute for Stoke as Tuncay was sent on in place of Sidibe.

Craddock headed behind a Delap long throw and it led to The Potters pulling a goal back in the 55th minute. Etherington fired in the corner and Faye ran in to power a header into the net.

Shawcross saw his header plucked out of the air by Hahnemann after another Delap missile, then Glenn Whelan's shot took a huge deflection off Craddock and ran uncomfortably close to the postwith the American keeper flatfooted.

Huth's attempted clearance of a low cross from Jarvis saw the ball going straight up in the air. Sorensen managed to punch clear but when Jarvis regained possession he sprinted into the box and unleashed a cross-shot that wasn't too far over the far angle.

By this time torrential rain was falling accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Huth was penalised for a high kick when challenging Van Damme to the left of the City box but Jarvis's free-kick was headed out.

After George Elokobi had come on for Van Damme, it was Jarvis who supplied the cross for Stephen Ward to thump a volley into the floor forcing a terrific reflex save from Sorensen who somehow managed to touch the bouncing ball onto the bar.

Two Stoke bookings followed in a two minute spell - Huth for a heavy challenge on Ward and Whitehead for felling Jarvis.

Eight minutes from time Berra headed the ball back towards his own area and Craddock slipped as he tried to help it on its way. Tuncay nipped in and he slid into Hahnemann after the keeper had collected the ball. It could have provoked an ugly melee between players of the opposing sides but Hahnemann was quickly on his feet to give a friendly hug to the Turkish striker and take the heat out of the situation.

I the final minute Jones almost got his second of the afternoon after cutting into the right of the Stoke area and hitting an angled drive that just beat the far post.

Wolves: Hahnemann, Foley, Ward, D. Jones, Berra, Craddock, Jarvis, Henry (capt), Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher (Keogh 49) (Halford 88), Van Damme (Elokobi 72).

Unused sub: Stearman, Hennessey, Milijaš, Guedioura.

Stoke: Sorenson, Huth, Higginbotham, Whelan (Tonge 66), K. Jones (Sidibe 14)(Tuncay 51), Fuller, Shawcross (capt), Whitehead, Delap, Faye, Etherington.

Unused subs: Begovic, Collins, Pugh, Wilkinson.

Bookings: Huth (76 - foul), Whitehead (78 - foul).

Referee: L. Probert.

Attendance: 27,850.

    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.