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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
23:02 29th December 2010

Wardy's A Winner

Liverpool 0

Wolves 1 (Ward 56)

Wolves bounced back in style to record a priceless win over Liverpool thanks to a second-half strike from Stephen Ward. Few at a packed Anfield could say that the result wasn't a justified one and the Liverpool fans that stayed behind at the end acknowledged the performance by applauding Wolves off the pitch.

Despite the disappointing performance against Wigan three days earlier, Mick McCarthy made just one change to his starting eleven with Matt Jarvis coming in for Dave Edwards who was named as a substitute.

The Reds kicked-off defending the Kop end as mist swirled around the ground. After a quiet opening five minutes, Nenad Milijaš got in the first attempt at goal but he was well off target from 20-yards.

It was a lot closer at the other end as Raul Meireles collected a deep free-kick from Lucas and found himself with just Wayne Hennessey to beat. But the keeper blocked superbly and Richard Stearman ran across to head clear.

From the second of two Jarvis corners, Dirk Kuyt headed out to the edge of the box where Stephen Hunt was waiting to sidefoot a volley inches over the bar.

Twice in a three minute spell Glen Johnson came to Liverpool's rescue. He headed behind as Hunt ran in at the far post after Ward had helped on a Kevin Foley centre, and then he hooked clear as he and Ward closed in on a dangerous low cross from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.

George Elokobi was shown the yellow card after he had pulled back Lucas, and, after a spell of Liverpool pressure, Paul Konchesky was well wide with a shot from distance. Then David Ngog fired straight into the midriff of Hennessey in front of a subdued Anfield crowd.

Chances in the opening half were few and far between but Wolves had more than held their own against their illustrious hosts.

Half-Time: Liverpool 0 Wolves 0

Seconds after the restart Wolves won a corner but Pepe Reina easily claimed Jarvis's kick. The ball was cleared upfield to Kuyt and the Dutchman's cross was headed towards goal by Ngog but Hennessey easily gathered under the bar.

Ngog had an easier chance in the 50th minute after Johnson found him with a short cross just six-yards out but the striker was well wide as he took a stab at the ball.

Reina had to throw himself to his left to take a shot on the turn from Ronald Zubar after a low centre fromEbanks-Blake who then headed over following a cross from Elokobi.

It was Ebanks-Blake who was instrumental in Wolves moving into a fully deserved 56th minute lead. His precision through ball found Ward who neatly clipped a low shot past Reina just inside the far post (pictured).

But for a great block by Johnson, it would have been two in the 64th minute. The home defence failed to clear and the ball bounced invitingly for Hunt who looked odds on to score until the England defender threw himself in front of it to deflect it away.

Ward needed treatment after a Martin Skrtel challenge that went unpunished and, having already switched Ngog for Ryan Babel, Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson made two further changes sending Joe Cole and Fabio Aurelio on for Meireles and Konchesky respectively.

Johnson went into the book for a foul on Jarvis before Steven Fletcher replaced the industrious Ward for the closing minutes.

A Lucas foul on Ebanks-Blake led to a free-kick to the left of the home area. Jarvis played a short ball to Ebanks-Blake but his cross was too high for Fletcher who ran in at the far post.

Skrtel did beat Hennessy following a free-kick from Steven Gerrard but the home cheers were soon stifled by the lineman's flag for offside.

There were four added minutes at the end but the Wanderers defence was in no mood to let things slip at that stage and they held on comfortably.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Konchesky (Aurelio 74), Meireles (Cole 73), Gerrard (capt), Torres, Krygiakos, Kuyt, Lucas, Ngog (Babel 62), Skrtel.

Unused subs: Jones, Agger, Rodriguez, Poulsen.

Booking: Johnson (76 - foul).

Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Elokobi, Jarvis (Edwards 89), Berra, Stearman, Foley (capt), Milijaš, Ebanks-Blake, Ward (Fletcher 78), Hunt.

Unused subs: Hahnemann, Jones, Bent, Mujangi-Bia, Batth.

Booking: Elokobi (31 - foul).

Referee: P. Walton.

Attendance: 41,614.

    Data provided by Press Association

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