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23:01 23rd August 2013

Late Drama As Wolves Go Top

Wolves 2 (Sigurdarson 7, Griffiths-pen 90+3) 

Crawley Town 1 (Clarke 90+1)

This was the first ever meeting between Wolves and Crawley Town and no matter how many times the teams meet again in the future, it’s doubtful if there will ever be a more dramatic finish than this one.

After falling behind to an early Björn Sigurdarson goal, the Sussex club looked to have won a point when Billy Clarke netted in the first minute of stoppage time. 

But there was still time for Leigh Griffiths to convert a penalty after Kyle McFadzean had handled in the Town area to give Wolves the points that took them to the top of the League One table.

There was just one change to the home starting X1 with Sigurdarson coming in up front for Griffiths who had missed training at the latter end of the week because of a court appearance.

Town kicked-off attacking the South Bank end and the visitors posed the first threat as Clarke sprinted onto a long through ball. Danny Batth spotted the danger and got across to clear at the expense of a corner which he headed clear after it had been taken by Andy Drury.

It took a flying save from Crawley keeper Paul Jones to prevent Sigurdarson from opening the score in the fifth minute. Lee Evans pumped the ball into the area and the Icelandic striker diverted it towards goal only for Jones to perform heroics.

But Sigurdarson was celebrating two minutes later after scoring a goal that owed much to Kevin Doyle’s persistence. With McFadzean at his shoulder he took the ball to the by-line and squeezed in a cross that was headed home at the far post by Sigurdarson.

Nicky Adams missed the chance of a quick equaliser when he fired wide from a good position after a low cross from former Birmingham defender Mat Sadler, and at the other end there was no-one in position to convert a driven centre from  Bakary Sako.

Doyle beat McFadzean again and from an identical spot for the cross that led to the first goal, he again delivered a telling ball which was met by Sako whose glancing header was wide of the mark.

Midway through the half, the home defence were caught out as they seemed to hesitate waiting for an offside flag that didn’t come. But, with the goal at his mercy from just six-yards out, Joe Walsh shot wide.

Another low cross from Sako was just in front of Sigurdarson and Zeli Ismail and then Carl Ikeme had to dive at his near post to cut out an angled effort from Walsh.

Crawley were causing the home defence a few uncomfortable moments but twice in the closing minutes of the half crosses from Doyle and Ismail almost reaped rewards. 

From the first from Doyle the ball fell to Sako who worked a shooting position only for his shot to be headed away by McFadzean.

Then a driven cross from Ismail was cleared by Walsh who had Doyle breathing down his neck and waiting for a slip.

Half-Time: Wolves 1 Crawley 0

Within a minute of the resumption, Ikeme had to turn a drive from Adams around the post as the visitors looked for an early hit.

It was Wanderers though that were close to a second on 49 minutes when Samuel Ricketts unleashed a tremendous effort from 25-yards that was turned over by Jones.

Town were soon back on the offensive and Ikeme had to save from Mike Jones before a smart move from Kenny Jackett’s men involved Ismail and David Davis combining to open up a chance for Doyle who, at full stretch, could only divert the ball into the arms of the keeper.

In the 63rd minute, a cynical trip by Gary Alexander halted Doyle who was in full flight. After the Crawley man was booked Sako’s curling free-kick forced another fine save from Jones.

Both sides made changes with, for Wolves, Griffiths replacing Sigurdarson and McDonald, who was making his home debut, taking the place of Evans.

Ismail saw his curling cross-shot turned away by Paul Jones and after a Drury corner had only been half cleared, Mike Jones hit a 25-yard piledriver that was inches over the bar.

Drury was booked for pulling back Ismail and Doyle also saw yellow for felling Mike Jones.

A deep cross from McDonald was headed back across goal by Batth but the keeper just beat Doyle to the loose ball. Then Ismail ran along the 18-yard line before turning and hitting a shot narrowly over. 

In the 90th minute Sako sent a bouncing volley narrowly wide of the far post before the visitors silenced Molineux by grabbing an equaliser. Adams fed substitute Jamie Proctor and he teed up Clarke who drilled a low shot just inside the far post.

But, in the third minute of stoppage time, McFadzean clearly handled McDonald’s cross from the right. The linesman flagged immediately and despite heated protests from the visitors, Griffiths stepped up to power home the spot kick and win it for Wolves.

Wolves: Ikeme, Doherty, Ricketts (capt), Evans (McDonald 72), Stearman, Batth, Ismail (Elokobi 90+5), Davis, Doyle, Sigurdarson (Griffiths 72), Sako.

Unused subs: Forde, Cassidy, Price, McCarey.

Bookings: Doyle (80 – foul), McDonald (90+6 – kicking ball away after conceding free-kick).

Crawley: P. Jones, Sadler, McFadzean, Clarke, Alexander, Drury (Rooney 78), Simpson (capt), Walsh (Connolly 70), Bulman (Proctor 78), Adams, M. Jones. 

Unused subs: Hurst, Essam, Torres, Maddison.

Bookings: Alexander (63 – foul), Drury (78 – foul), Adams (90+3 – dissent).

Referee: S. Hooper.

Attendance: 17,006. 


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