Stoke City 0
Wolves 2 (Costa 29, Doherty 80)
Wolves are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after a magnificent display in the Potteries as they saw off the challenge of Premier League Stoke City with the all-important goals in a 2-0 triumph coming from Helder Costa and Matt Doherty.
Paul Lambert made wholesale changes for the game with Dominic Iorfa, Mike Williamson, Kortney Hause, George Saville, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Lee Evans all returning to the starting line-up. It was Williamson’s first involvement for a year and Evans’s since September.
In Danny Batth’s absence, Carl Ikeme captained the side and it was Wolves that kicked-off defending the end of the Britannia Stadium packed with over 4,500 of their supporters.
The first chance fell to Wolves as Costa sprinted down the right flank and picked out Bodvarsson whose shot flashed narrowly wide.
Costa was an early yellow card recipient after he had pulled back Erik Pieters before there was another chance for Bodvarsson who showed skill and speed in beating his man on the right-hand touchline before cutting into the area and drilling a shot that was inches wide of the far post.
In the 12th minute, Bright Enobakhare was fouled by Giannelli Imbula just outside the home box. Evans curled the free-kick through the wall and Lee Grant made a fine save, diving low to his left, to turn the ball away.
Xherdan Shaqiri was booked after he had tripped Costa on the halfway as Wolves continued to press and the Molineux men took a deserved lead in the 29th minute.
Doherty lifted the ball from one side of the Stoke box to the other where Costa took possession. He took a few steps back to the 18-yard line before burying a low, left foot dive into the back of the net (pictured).
Joe Mason found a way around the back of the home defence and the prospects for a second goal looked good as he fired in a low cross from the by-line but a defender got there first to clear before Bodvarsson and Enobakhare could take advantage.
Ryan Shawcross headed onto the roof of the net following a Shaqiri corner before Peter Crouch missed a gilt edged opportunity three minutes before the break when, from six-yards out, he sidefooted Pieters’ centre over the bar.
Half-Time: Potters 0 Wolves 1
Stoke made two interval changes sending on Charlie Adam and Joe Allen for Imbula and Bojan.
Two minutes in, Saville’s foul on Shaqiri just a foot outside the Wolves box and directly in front of goal spelled danger but Shaqiri’s free-kick bounced away off the defensive wall.
Wolves responded with two corners – taken by Evans and Costa – but neither offered any reward for the visitors.
Ikeme, who was having a fine game, spread himself to athletically turn away an angled drive from Shaqiri.
The Swiss midfielder soon figured at the other end when he slipped near the corner flag allowing Hause possession and the chance to get in a cross that Doherty headed wide.
On the hour mark Ikeme made a superb reflex save to deny Marko Arnautovic who looked odds on to score from close range. Then 16-year-old Morgan Gibbs-White, a product of the Wolves Academy, took the place of Enobakhare.
Doherty fired over from 20-yards after he had taken a return pass from Bodvarsson, and then Ikeme was at it again with another top drawer save, this time from Ibrahim Afellay’s 25-yard piledriver.
In the 70th minute it was Peter Crouch’s turn to be thwarted by the Wolves keeper who somehow got down low to turn away a close range drive.
Both sides then made a change with Dave Edwards replacing Enobakhare for Wolves whilst Stoke sent on Julien Ngoy for Shaqiri.
City were throwing everything into their quest for an equaliser and after Ikeme had turned over a 30-yarder from Allen, Adam’s low cross went right through with both Crouch and Ngoy at full stretch trying desperately to get a toe end on the ball.
Nouha Dicko was the last of Wolves’ substitutions taking over from Iorfa who limped off. Saville dropped back into defence.
With 79 minutes gone, Bruno Martin Indi’s foul on Bodvarsson on the edge of the ‘D’ led to Wolves’ second goal. With everyone expecting Costa to curl in one of his specialities, Doherty ran in to smash the ball past Grant in front of a jubilant away end.
As Stoke piled forward in the closing minutes Dicko twice went close to stretching his side’s advantage. In a three on one break he saw his shot well saved by Grant and then another low effort did beat the keeper but rolled a foot wide of the far post.
Potters: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross (capt), Martins Indi, Pieters, Afellay, Imbula (Adam 45), Shaqiri (Ngoy 72), Bojan (Allen 45), Arnautovic, Crouch.
Unused subs: Given, Bardsley, Muniesa, Whelan.
Bookings: Shaqiri (23 – foul) Martins Indi (79 – foul).
Wolves: Ikeme (capt), Doherty, Iorfa (Dicko 77), Evans, Hause, Williamson, Costa, Saville Bodvarsson, Mason (Gibbs-White 62), Enobakhare (Edwards 72).
Unused subs: Burgoyne, Batth, Coady, Price.
Booking: Costa (7 – foul).
Referee: M. Jones.
Attendance: 21,479 (4,632 away supporters).