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20:29 4th December 2011

Fletcher Fuels Fightback

Wolves 2 (Fletcher 73, 81) Sunderland 1 (Richardson 52) Two Steven Fletcher goals in the last 20 minutes saw Wolves crown a performance full of character and determination to take the points after Kieran Richardson had given Sunderland the lead shortly after the break. The Black Cats could have gone two up but Wayne Hennessey saved a highly contentious penalty and, within a minute, Fletcher had headed his team level. There were four changes from the team that started at Stamford Bridge. Nenad Milijaš, Roger Johnson and George Elokobi all dropped down to the bench and Karl Henry was serving a one game ban. Back from suspension came Jamie O'Hara and Stephen Hunt whilst Kevin Doyle had recovered from injury. And there was a start for Jody Craddock. Before the game started Dave Edwards, Hennessey and Sunderland's David Vaughan laid a wreath on the centre spot and there was a minute's applause in memory of Gary Speed. The Black Cats kicked-off and John O'Shea tested Hennessey with a low shot after just a minute. Then Stephane Sessegnon volleyed straight at the keeper after latching onto Craddock's headed clearance. Wolves were close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute after a corner from O'Hara. Edwards appeared to be held down but Doyle got in a header that had the visiting defence struggling to clear their lines before Fletcher's header was saved by Keiren Westwood right on the goal-line. A long range shot from Sebastian Larsson was easily claimed by Hennessey who then needed two attempts to collect a Wes Brown header after a corner from Larsson. O'Hara didn't make proper contact with a 20-yard drive but Westwood still had to dive full length to save and then the referee was perfectly positioned to wave away penalty claims from Sessegnon after he fell when challenged by Craddock. In the 31st minute, Edwards was only just wide with a 25-yard volley that Westwood, leaving nothing to chance, touched behind even though the effort was off target. Five minutes before the break, Westwood pulled off a superb save to thwart Hunt. Matt Jarvis fired a cross over from the right and Hunt looked odds on to score as he shot from point blank range but Westwood managed to turn the ball aside. Lee Cattermole went into the book for tripping Doyle before Stephen Ward came to the rescue with a great clearance. Richardson played a one-two with Ji Dong-Won and when the ball broke to Sessegnon he flicked it past Hennessey. From out of nowhere Ward raced across and diverted the ball back to his keeper before it could cross the line. In stoppage time a cross from Jarvis ran just behind Doyle and the Sunderland defence was able to clear the danger. Half-Time: Wolves 0 Sunderland 0 Sunderland broke from a heavy spell of Wolves pressure and Nicklas Bendtner wasted a decent opportunity when he shot wide from a good position. And it was from a break that the visitors took a 50th minute lead. Bendtner raced into the Wolves half and he laid a pass to Sessegnon who in turn fed Richardson. The former Manchester United winger lashed a swerving cross-shot between Hennessey and the near post. A low cross from Ward went through a forest of legs in the six-yard box and then Ronald Zubar was yellow carded after a late challenge on Bendtner. After Ward had made a good tackle to dispossess Phil Bardsley, who would otherwise have been clean through, Mick McCarthy made two changes sending Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Adam Hammill on for Doyle and Hunt respectively. Hennessey made a routine save from a Dong-Won header and then the keeper brought Molineux to its feet by guessing correctly and saving Larsson's penalty. Larsson dived though the air after a Craddock challenge when there was minimal if no contact. The incident also appeared to be outside the box but the referee pointed to the spot and Hennessey dived to his left to save Larsson's low spot kick. Seconds later, with the celebration of the penalty save still continuing around the stadium, the noise rose to another level as Fletcher headed a 73rd minute equaliser. Jarvis crossed from the left and the Scottish striker sent a bouncing header into the net. Westwood got his fingers to the ball but he couldn't keep it out. Craddock limped off to be replaced by Johnson as Wolves, with their tails up, went in search of a winner. Jarvis picked out O'Hara with a low centre. His path to goal was blocked by two defenders so he teed up Ebanks-Blake who saw his shot bounce clear to Edwards who was also denied by a body in the crowded area. But the pressure paid off in the 81st minute when Hammill lifted the ball into the box where it appeared to hit O'Hara's upper arm as he controlled it. The Sunderland defence protested but Fletcher wasted no time in sending a half-volley into the back of the net (pictured). There weren't too many problems for the home defence in the time that remained as Wanderers added three priceless points to their tally. Wolves: Hennessey, Zubar, Ward (Capt), Edwards, Berra, Craddock (Johnson 74), Jarvis, O'Hara, Fletcher, Doyle (Ebanks-Blake 66), Hunt (Hammill 66). Unused subs: Elokobi, Stearman, Milijaš, De Vries. Booking: Zubar (60 - foul). Sunderland: Westwood, Bardsley, Brown, Cattermole (capt), Larsson, Richardson, Colback, O'Shea, Dong-Won (Elmohamady 70), Sessegnon (Noble 87), Bendtner. Unused subs: Gardner, Vaughan, Bramble, Carson, McClean. Bookings: Cattermole (41 - foul),Richardson (52 - taking shirt off), Bentner (86 - foul). Referee: P. Dowd. Attendance: 25,145. Wolves Academy Under 18s 2 (Parry, Cranston) Crewe Alexandra 0
    Data provided by Press Association


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