Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Stoke 2 Wolves 1

Mick McCarthy will take no satisfaction in the sorry state of the team he built surrendering their Premier League existence. But his dismissal in February will certainly go down as one of the most crass in recent history, with owner Steve Morgan surely doomed to pay the ultimate price for pressing the panic button.

This was a sixth straight defeat for McCarthy’s old No 2, Terry Connor, and relegation to the Championship is inevitable after Peter Crouch produced another timely nudge in the ribs for whoever is finally assigned to Euro 2012 with England this summer.

Crouch has not played for his country since November 2010 but should not start planning his summer holidays with Abby Clancy just yet, after his 13th goal of the season boosted Stoke’s hopes of a first ever top ten finish. It was not a goal to rival his stupendous effort against Manchester City a fortnight ago but a typical example of the kind of goal manufactured in Britain which European defences struggle to find an answer to.

Wolves remain six points adrift of safety but there will be no miracles at Molineux.It is impossible not to feel sympathy for Connor, who has been handed a thankless task and a job that managers far more experienced than him shied away from.

There is already an air of resignation about the place, with the travelling supporters defiantly chanting songs about winning the Championship next season here.

The Potteries has been an unforgiving venue since their last victory here in November 1979 and this was another ‘must-win’ game with no reward, despite taking the lead thanks to the sort of good fortune that has eluded them all season.

But just minutes after Jonathan Walters had inexplicably fluffed a header from three yards, the visitors took the lead. Kightly was allowed far too much room to advance towards the area and his flicked cross was missed by Dave Edwards and, fatally, Asmir Begovic to leave the Stoke goalkeeper embarrassed at the near post.

Connor may have been momentarily dreaming of his first victory until the defensive weaknesses that have afflicted Wolves all season were again laid bare. An Etherington free kick was only half-cleared and Ryan Shawcross teed up Robert Huth for a simple close-range finish.

This was the 50th game of an energy-sapping campaign for Tony Pulis and his players but their endurance levels cannot be faulted. And despite a spirited Wolves performance early in the second period, Stoke were ahead on the hour in what was a goal synonymous of Stoke.

Jermaine Pennant bent over an exquisite free kick to present Crouch with the sort of towering header he has been putting away for years.

Wolves battled valiantly to restore parity but those qualities have been in short supply this season.

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