Tag Archives: dangerman

Huddersfield 2 Bolton 2: James Vaughan grabs late equaliser

Huddersfield 2 Bolton 2: Vaughan puts Terriers back on track as Wanderers rue missed chances

PUBLISHED:

17:52 GMT, 8 December 2012

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 8 December 2012

James Vaughan marked his return from injury with a late equaliser as Huddersfield denied Bolton a return to winning ways with a 2-2 draw at the John Smith's Stadium.

The striker, making his first start in eight games following a thigh problem, struck in the 87th minute to help the Terriers avoid a third successive defeat.

After Mark Davies had cancelled out Zat Knight's first-half own goal, Eagles wasted the chance to put his side in front when his 74th-minute penalty was saved by Alex Smithies.

Last-gasp: James Vaughan fires the equaliser for Huddersfield

Last-gasp: James Vaughan fires the equaliser for Huddersfield

Match facts

Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard, Dixon, Clayton, Atkinson (Ward 80), Norwood, Novak (Lee 80), Church (Scannell 75), Vaughan. Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Wallace, Arfield.

Yellow cards: Gerrard, Novak, Vaughan, Dixon, Clayton.

Scorers: Knight 9 og,Vaughan 87.

Bolton: Bogdan, Mills (Ream 85), Knight, Ricketts, Warnock, Spearing, Andrews, Eagles, Mark Davies, Lee, Kevin Davies. Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Ngog, Petrov, Afobe, Pratley, Butterfield.

Yellow cards: Bogdan.

Scorers: Mark Davies 70, Eagles 80.

Att: 16,372

Ref: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).

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However, the in-form winger looked to have given Bolton, who lost to struggling Ipswich last weekend, the three points six minutes later before Vaughan's late leveller.

Adam Clayton tried his luck from distance early on, but Adam Bogdan was equal to the former Leeds midfielder's 30-yard effort.

The Trotters responded and dangerman Eagles pulled the ball back only for Keith Andrews to scuff a shot into the hands of Smithies, who then had to keep out an Eagles 25-yard drive after Peter Clarke gave away possession.

But it was the hosts who went ahead in the ninth minute when Anthony Gerrard headed Oliver Norwood's corner goalwards and the ball went in off visiting defender Knight.

Bolton almost levelled up three minutes later when Andrews fired narrowly over after Mark Davies saw his effort blocked.

However, Town were unfortunate not to double their advantage when Clayton's shot was parried by Bogdan and Lee Novak hit the rebound against the crossbar.

Huddersfield had to be alert at the back to clear a Sam Ricketts header, while at the other end Chris Atkinson sliced a half-volley over the top from 25 yards.

Town finished the half strongly, with Norwood curling a free-kick from the edge of the area just wide before Bogdan had to backtrack quickly to tip over Jack Hunt's teasing cross.

Bolton came out firing in the second half and Knight almost made up for his earlier error but his header was off target, before Lee Chung-yong shot narrowly wide from an acute angle.

Out in front: Chris Eagles (centre) celebrates his goal for Bolton

Out in front: Chris Eagles (centre) celebrates his goal for Bolton

In the 52nd minute, referee Eddie Ilderton waved away Bolton's appeals for a penalty when Kevin Davies was bundled over in the box.

Kevin Davies was then played in by Lee, although the former England striker's shot whistled past the post.

Bolton's pressure told in the 69th minute when Mark Davies picked up a pass from Eagles and side-footed home from 12 yards.

Eagles missed a glorious opportunity to put his side into the lead five minutes later as his penalty was tipped onto the post by Smithies after Paul Dixon fouled Ricketts in the area.

However, the former Manchester United winger made amends shortly afterwards when he found the net from 12 yards.

But Vaughan secured a point for Simon Grayson's outfit three minutes from time, shooting into the bottom corner.

Manchester City Champions League failures shock Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid

I thought City were better than this… Real star Ramos shocked by Champions League flop and vows to deliver KO to Mancini

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UPDATED:

09:30 GMT, 20 November 2012

Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos admits he is stunned by Manchester City's Champions League struggles this season – and has vowed to show them no mercy at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

City must beat Madrid to have any chance of avoiding elimination from Europe's premier club competition at the group stage for the second straight season.

That would represent a huge failure for boss Roberto Mancini and his Premier League champions, following the massive investment in the club made by Sheik Mansour.

Last chance: Roberto Mancini takes Manchester City training ahead of their showdown with Real Madrid

Last chance: Roberto Mancini takes Manchester City training ahead of their showdown with Real Madrid

Last chance: Roberto Mancini takes Manchester City training ahead of their showdown with Real Madrid

City started their European campaign with a 3-2 defeat to Real in September, but had led with just three minutes to go before Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo struck late goals.

Since then, City have not won a game in their group, tasted defeat again to Ajax in Amsterdam and now need a miracle to progress.

Nothing but a win will do against Jose Mourinho's Spanish champions, but Spain defender Ramos for one is not impressed with what he has seen.

All by myself: Controversial City striker Mario Balotelli trained on his own on Monday morning

All by myself: Controversial City striker Mario Balotelli trained on his own on Monday morning

'For me, it’s a surprise they are nearly out of the Champions League,' said Ramos. 'We really thought City would be our main rivals to top the group.

'City are a big group of players, not just individuals. But that does not guarantee success in the Champions League.

It's a knockout: Sergio Ramos (above) has vowed to hurt City... and Madrid dangerman Ronaldo (below)

It's a knockout: Sergio Ramos (above) has vowed to hurt City… and Madrid dangerman Ronaldo (below)

It's a knockout: Sergio Ramos (above) has vowed to hurt City... and Madrid dangerman Ronaldo (below)

'This is the hardest group in the first
round, and this match is very important for both clubs. We both need to
win for different reasons.'

Madrid currently sit second in Group D, one point behind leaders Borussia Dortmund, and Ramos insists that Madrid have no designs on playing defensive football at the Etihad.

'We want to top the group,' said Ramos. 'Real Madrid never play defensively. That is not in our nature. We are going to Manchester to win.

'City have improved in the Premier League. But we do not fear them. Real Madrid can win in any stadium in the world.'

The game will see Ronaldo returning to Manchester for the first time since he quit City's local rivals, United, for the Bernabeu in an 80million deal in 2009.

Ronaldo has already hit the net 19 times this season, including against City last month. And asked how City can stop such a prolific goalscorer, Mancini said: 'We’ll call the police!

'He’s a top player and he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or. He scored so many goals last year and that helped them to finish above Barca.

'But I hope that he can have a bad night on Wednesday.

'When you come up against a player who can score one or two goals every game it is difficult.

'It is a big night for him to be back here, but for Real it’s also an important game. They still have a chance of going through to the second stage.'

Roberto Mancini calls police to stop Cristiano Ronaldo

Call the police! Mancini ready to resort to desperate measures as his City side prepare to tackle Ronaldo

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UPDATED:

09:18 GMT, 20 November 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo makes an eagerly-awaited return to Manchester on Wednesday night, and Roberto Mancini is threatening to adopt an unorthodox approach to stopping him wreaking havoc at the Etihad Stadium.

Asked how he intended shackling the Real Madrid dangerman's threat, and preventing him finishing off Manchester City's slender Champions' League hopes, Mancini paused for a moment before saying, with a deadpan look: 'We'll call the police.'

Dangerman: Mancini is all too aware of the threat that Ronaldo will pose

Dangerman: Mancini is all too aware of the threat that Ronaldo will pose

A smile soon followed, but he was adamant it would be a crime if Real's former Manchester United forward missed out on FIFA's backing him for the Ballon D'Or award, even though Lionel Messi appears to be the overwhelming favourite.

The Etihad may not be Ronaldo's happiest hunting ground, after just one goal in five games there and two red cards in his last three appearances, but Mancini summed up the task facing City by saying: 'I just hope he can have a bad night on Wednesday because, when you come up against a player who can score one or two goals every game, it is difficult,' he said.

'Ronaldo is a top player and he deserves to win the Ballon d'Or. He scored so many goals last year, and that helped Real finish above Barcelona in La Liga. He and Messi are the best players in the world, but what he did to make Real champions has to count in his favour.

Peerless: Mancini believes Ronaldo deserves the Ballon D'Or over Messi

Peerless: Mancini believes Ronaldo deserves the Ballon D'Or over Messi

'I hope he can have a bad night on Wednesday, but when you come up against a player who can score one or two goals every game, it is difficult.

'For him, it will be a big occasion, returning to Manchester, but it is an important night for Real as well, because they want to keep progressing towards the second stage.'

Ronaldo scored a late winner when City lost 3-2 at the Bernabeu in the opening game of this season's Champions League, and Mancini believes that loss was the catalyst for City's poor form in their next three group games.

All smiles: Mancini was in a jovial mood as he spoke to the press

All smiles: Mancini was in a jovial mood as he spoke to the press

'If we had come back from the Bernabeu with a good result it would have probably changed this group for us,' he said. 'It was really disappointing. It's not easy to play there and in the first half they played better than us, but the match totally changed in the second half and, when you are 2-1 up with three minutes to go, you should be very strong to close the game.

'I think that we don't have any chance to go to the second stage, but football is strange. I think for the fans it's an important game because, three or four years ago, City supporters would want this game and to play in the Champions League against Real and Barcelona. Now it's an important game and we want to do a good job.'

Chelsea v Manchester United: Big match analysis by former Arsenal midfielder Robson

Chelsea v Manchester United: Big match analysis by former Arsenal midfielder Robson

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UPDATED:

21:23 GMT, 27 October 2012

Dangerman: Chelsea's Oscar (right)

Dangerman: Chelsea's Oscar (right)

Chelsea will be seven points clear of United after just nine games if they win Sunday's clash of the giants. Roberto di Matteo's men have been in brilliant attacking form in the League, while United have gone behind six times already this season, conceding the first goal as often as struggling Southampton. Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson analyses how Sir Alex's team can cope.

Chelsea on the attack

Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard have created 57 goal chances this season, with 10 goals of their own from Chelsea's new attacking midfield. Sir Alex Ferguson admits it is 'not an easy system to deal with'. So how do they

United must remain compact to deny space between their defenders and midfielders. n First, they can ask Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney to drop deeper to pressure Ramires and Jon Obi Mikel which, in turn, will allow United's two central midfielders to be closer to their centre-backs.

The wide players should position themselves so they can help out their full-backs, tuck inside if needed but be ready to counter-attack as soon as United regain possession.

Danny Welbeck, in particular, was brilliant last week at making runs behind Stoke's centre-backs when Van Persie went deeper.

Or United can press higher up the pitch, push their midfield on to Ramires and Mikel and ask the full-backs to get tight to Oscar and Hazard on the ball. But this is risky as it requires Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans to play a higher offside line and to step into midfield to confront Mata.

Key men: Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand (left)

Key men: Robin van Persie and Rio Ferdinand (left)

Rio needs some protection

To deny Chelsea's playmakers time on the ball, United must have the energy and determination to chase back when the ball is passed beyond them, particularly the midfielders who ensure Mata can't easily run at Ferdinand and Evans without fear of being tackled from a retreating midfielder. This needs athleticism and a defensive mindset, which neither Michael Carrick nor Paul Scholes have. So one of Cleverley, Fletcher or Anderson could come in.

Time for decisions, Evra

Just as vital to United's defensive performance will be the decision-making of Patrice Evra and Rafael. Oscar, Hazard and Mata will rotate to give full-backs the problem of how far they should track them infield. If they go too far, United will leave space for Torres, Cole and Ivanovic to run into. Not far enough and Chelsea's playmakers will get between United's defensive lines.

United's leaky defence

There are several reasons Manchester United have struggled defensively this season and, to some extent, last year. I have already mentioned some above. Yet they are also slow to organise at set-plays, do not get enough players around the ball when defending throw-ins, which has allowed crosses to come into their box, and they have not attacked the ball with determination when it has. United are great going forward and give licence to full-backs and even holding midfield players to get into the penalty box.

So it is even more important that they win the ball back as early as possible when they are attacking or retreat quickly to regain a good defensive shape. At the moment they are getting caught between the two, which has made them to easy to counter-attack.

Rooney must think like a midfield player

If United are to combat Chelsea's attack properly, Wayne Rooney has to adopt the mentality of an advanced midfield player rather than second centre-forward. Although he is perceived to try too hard at times, his defensive efforts are intermittent. Several times when United have been outplayed in central midfield, Rooney has not worked hard enough or with enough discipline to help his holding players which, as a result, has left them outnumbered. The exception to this was his display against Newcastle.

Torres on the slide

Fernando Torres has everything set up for him to deliver his best. No longer second fiddle to Didier Drogba but supported by players with vision and technical ability, we should be eulogising about him instead of Hazard and Mata. Unfortunately, although performing better than last season , he seems unable to hit the heights of his early Liverpool days because he isn't the same player in possession. His shielding of the ball needs to be better, his change of pace needs to be more dynamic and his decision-making when given scoring opportunities needs to be more clinical. He has lost the ability to embarrass defenders in one v one situations as he did so often at Anfield

Cristiano Ronaldo won"t be man-marked by Northern Ireland

Man-marking Ronaldo is too risky, says Northern Ireland boss O'Neill

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 15 October 2012

Michael O'Neill did his best to sound optimistic, but the reasons for not man-marking Cristiano Ronaldo only underlined the mammoth task facing Northern Ireland in Porto on Tuesday night.

The Northern Ireland manager gave some consideration to shadowing Portugal’s Real Madrid forward but swiftly discounted it, for fear of being reduced to 10 men in the opening minutes.

‘To be honest, having watched a lot of games Ronaldo has played for club and country, and what happens with the refereeing, it is very difficult to man-mark him,’ he said.

Dangerman: Portugal captain Ronaldo

Dangerman: Portugal captain Ronaldo

‘The player you designate runs a real risk of a yellow card in the first 10 or 15 minutes and is walking a tightrope after that.

‘You can’t very well then ask someone else to take over, because your whole tactical approach becomes a lottery. Anyway, he plays with so much freedom, and attacks from so many different angles, it would only distort the balance of the team.

‘We know what we are up against. We can hope against hope that his 100th cap turns into a huge letdown for him and his country, but the reality is he’s a goal machine, as well as being brilliantly creative.

Tough ask: O'Neill oversees training in Porto on Monday

Tough ask: O'Neill oversees training in Porto on Monday

Northern Ireland team:

Carroll; Cathcart, Hughes, J Evans, McGivern; McGinn, C Evans, Davis, Baird, Norwood; Lafferty.

‘I have seen him miss chances and prove he is human, but we don’t need reminding what he can do from set-pieces or in the air. But can we get men round him to make life difficult for him Can we reduce the amount of possession he gets by working hard in other areas Of course, on both counts.

‘We did well for long periods in Russia, without any reward, but this is going to be even tougher. All the expectation is lumped on Portugal, though. That’s not always easy to deal with, and we intend making it all the harder for them.’

World Twenty20 2012: Steven Finn issues Chris Gayle warning

Fiery Finn issues Gayle warning ahead of Super Eights opener against West Indies

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UPDATED:

21:00 GMT, 25 September 2012

Upbeat: Finn is confident England can turn things around

Upbeat: Finn is confident England can turn things around

England headed to the hills on Tuesday, where they pledged to go on the attack when they come face to face with Twenty20’s biggest gun.

The long bus ride from Colombo to the picturesque city of Kandy was followed by a declaration of intent for their opening Super Eights match against West Indies at nearby Pallekele on Thursday.

Chris Gayle will spearhead a West Indies line-up brimful of big-hitting batsmen but England believe they have the firepower to cut him down, as they did when they last met in a Twenty20 match at Trent Bridge last summer.

Steven Finn dismissed Gayle for two then
as England won by seven wickets, the sort of result which would take
them halfway to the semi-finals if they can repeat it on Thursday.

‘Gayle has an aura about him and it’s
exciting to come up against people like that,’ said Finn. ‘It will be a
challenge bowling at one of the best Twenty20 batsmen in the world but
it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.’

England will approach that challenge by attempting to make early inroads into a West Indies line-up which also includes plenty of others capable of clearing the boundary, such as Kieron Pollard.

Dangerman: Gayle (left) will open the batting for West Indies

Dangerman: Gayle (left) will open the batting for West Indies

‘It’s going to be up to me to set the tone against Gayle,’ said Finn. ‘My job with the new ball is to put the opposition under pressure by taking early wickets because that stalls any momentum.’

There was a confident and relaxed mood about England on Tuesday, at odds with their inept display against India on Sunday.

They believe the switch to what is likely to be a pitch with more pace at Pallekele will suit them in a group which also includes New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Finn was on good form despite enduring a tortuous road trip here.

Confident: England feel that the Pallekele pitch will suit them

Confident: England feel that the Pallekele pitch will suit them

‘Four-hour bus journey has made me feel like I have bowled 30 overs,’ he tweeted.

There was an immediate riposte from his erstwhile team-mate and current TV pundit Kevin Pietersen, who displayed his confidence that he is close to an England comeback by replying: ‘You went on a bus Findog You should have asked and I would have got you the heli we use for our transport. Next time…’

Pietersen has not spoken to many of the England team since his exile began nearly two months ago but taking the mickey is a start.

Shaun Pollock hails Vernon Philander

Watch out for our new king of swing, says South Africa great Pollock

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 16 July 2012

South African fast bowling legend Shaun Pollock has hailed the ‘remarkable’ rise of Vernon Philander and feels he can be the surprise package in the shootout between the two best attacks in world cricket.

Philander, 27, has made an extraordinary entrance to Test cricket, taking 51 wickets at an average of 14 in his first seven matches – the second quickest man in Test history to get to 50 – and winning man of the series against Australia on his introduction to the highest level late last year.

Now Philander, who has taken six five-wicket hauls in those seven matches, will provide quality support to the potent established partnership of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel as South Africa attempt to overshadow England’s big guns Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad in the Investec Test series that starts at The Kia Oval on Thursday.

King of swing: South African dangerman Vernon Philander

King of swing: South African dangerman Vernon Philander

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‘Philander’s introduction to Test cricket has been simply remarkable and we know now that he has the serious skills required to thrive at this level,’ said Pollock, 39, who took a massive 421 Test wickets in 108 matches for his country. ‘The way he has taken to Test cricket having been on the scene for a few years has to be a surprise and he’s now the perfect bowler to complement Steyn and Morkel.’

Philander, a late developer who looked average when England first saw him in limited-overs cricket five years ago, does not bowl at express pace but can swing and seam the ball and is well-suited to English conditions. He was also given the chance to adapt to England by Somerset earlier this summer, with modest results, in county cricket.

‘He has dominated at provincial level and for two years in a row was the leading wicket-taker in our SuperSport series,’ said Pollock. ‘There’s never been any doubt Vernon had ability, but it was a question of whether he could utilise his skills on the highest stage.

‘You never really know but I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. He does move the ball off the seam so I’m sure he’s looking forward to playing in England.’

Off to a flyer: Philander averages just 14 with the ball

Off to a flyer: Philander averages just 14 with the ball

Off to a flyer: Philander averages just 14 with the ball

Pollock, as to be expected from one of South Africa’s greatest bowlers, is backing his countrymen to take the three-Test series – ‘If we have 15 days of sunshine I think South Africa will win 2-1 but the way the weather has been they are going to have to build an ark’ – and offers a detailed assessment of Philander’s bowling colleagues.

‘Steyn has been a success for years, but Morkel can take a little bit longer to get into a series than the other bowlers,’ said Pollock. ‘Once he gets into it he brings a different dimension with his pace and bounce.

‘We all know what Jacques Kallis can do and it’s great to have the depth he brings to the bowling. Now we’ve got Imran Tahir, who has brought a bit of guile to the attack and can wrap up the tail.

‘We’ve got all the bases covered and I think South Africa have the edge.’

Pollock’s biggest concern, though, is that the weather has not allowed his countrymen to prepare properly for a series that will determine which team is the best in the world. I don’t think they would have wanted to prepare indoors for a series in England and that’s got to be a bit of a concern,’ said Pollock. ‘The late swinging ball and the ones that nip off the seam are going to be a particular test for the batsmen of both sides in this series now.’

Shaun Pollock is commentating for Sky Sports during an unrivalled summer of live cricket available on TV, online, mobile and tablet devices via Sky Go.

EURO 2012: Philipp Lahm to play left-back against Portugal

Germany to deploy captain Lahm at left-back to counter Ronaldo threat

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UPDATED:

12:42 GMT, 7 June 2012

Germany manager Joachim Low has revealed he will deploy his captain Philipp Lahm at left-back in an attempt to shackle Cristiano Ronaldo in their opening game against Portugal on Saturday.

Lahm prefers to play right-back – as he is naturally right-footed and plays there for club side Bayern Munich – but he is comfortable switching flanks.

Food for thought: Lahm (centre) is set to start at left-back for Germany

Food for thought: Lahm (centre) is set to start at left-back for Germany

Dangerman: Low hopes Lahm can shackle Ronaldo

Dangerman: Low hopes Lahm can shackle Ronaldo

Although the Germans head into the tournament as second-favourites behind Spain, their back four has not been settled since the 2010 World Cup and they conceded five in a defeat to Switzerland last month.

But Low is confident that Lahm's inclusion on the left will benefit his side, although he admitted he is not sure who his right-back will be.

'It is very good for us that Philipp will play on the left,' Low told said.

'On the right one alternative is Jerome Boateng but Lars Bender has been very good in training in that position. I like him there.'

Boateng plays at centre-back for Bayern but is the favourite to feature at right-back, while Bender is naturally a defensive midfielder.

Although the full-back position are unsettled, Low has a settled centre-back pairing of Dortmund's Mats Hummels and Bayern's Holger Badstuber as he prepares his side to take on Ronaldo and Co.

Wolverhampton 1 Stoke 2: Peter Crouch propels Potters to fourth win in succession

Wolverhampton 1 Stoke 2: Crouch propels Potters to fourth straight win

Peter Crouch earned Stoke a fourth successive win in the Barclays Premier League as they came from behind to triumph against Wolves.

The England striker netted the 99th league goal of his career as Stoke achieved their first top-flight win at Molineux for 44 years at the 15th attempt.

Wolves went ahead through Stephen Hunt”s penalty but an own goal from Kevin Doyle brought the Potters level after the break before Crouch decided the outcome.

Potters profit: Robert Huth celebrates after levelling at Molineux

Potters profit: Robert Huth celebrates after levelling at Molineux

MATCH FACTS

Wolverhampton: Hennessey, Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Ward, Jarvis, Milijas (Ebanks-Blake 75), Henry, Hunt (Hammill 80), Fletcher, Doyle (Guedioura 75).

Subs: De Vries, Elokobi, Stearman, Forde.

Booked: Berra, Milijas

Goals: Hunt 17 (pen)

Stoke: Sorensen, Woodgate (Pennant 19), Huth, Shawcross, Wilson, Shotton, Whitehead, Whelan (Palacios 83), Etherington (Fuller 87), Crouch, Walters.

Subs: Begovic, Jones, Upson, Jerome.

Booked: Woodgate, Shawcross, Whitehead, Whelan

Goals: Doyle o.g. 58, Crouch 70

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)

The home side had been the better side in the opening 45 minutes, with winger Matt Jarvis causing plenty of problems and Karl Henry making his presence felt in midfield.

But they failed to capitalise on Hunt”s spot-kick and Stoke were a transformed side in the second half, with winger Matthew Etherington and substitute Jermaine Pennant posing athreat.

Wolves made a promising start and thefirst effort at goal came from full-back Ronald Zubar following a Jarvis centre, but his shot curled just past the post.

Stoke defender Jonathan Woodgate became the first player to be yellow-carded for bringing down Jarvis in full flight, and was again to blame after 16 minutes when the recalled Hunt put Wolves ahead from the penalty spot.

Woodgate could have few complaints after chopping down dangerman Jarvis inside the box, although he escapeda second yellow card.

Daddy long legs: Peter Crouch holds off Wolves

Daddy long legs: Peter Crouch holds off Wolves” Roger Johnson

Up stepped Hunt to drill the spot-kick past Thomas Sorensen even though the keeper dived the right way.

Pulis decided a tactical change was needed and after 19 minutes replaced Woodgate with Pennant, allowing Ryan Shotton to drop back to right-back.

Hunt should have done better for Wolves when he headed too fiercely back across goal from a Jarvis cross with two players unmarked in the centre.

The Republic of Ireland international forced Sorensen to block his low drive from a narrow angle with his feet.

Jarvis switched to the right flank inplace of Hunt but continued to cause problems. Stoke”s best chance of the first half fell to Etherington after Crouch dummied a centre from Shotton but he failed to make a full contact on his shot, which Hennessey collected.

Paying the penalty: Stephen Hunt fires Wolves ahead from the penalty spot

Paying the penalty: Stephen Hunt fires Wolves ahead from the penalty spot

Jonathan Walters had a good chance tolevel after 51 minutes when he found himself unmarked at the far post but Etherington”s centre seemed to take him by surprise and he poked hiseffort wide.

Hunt was becoming more involved and forced Sorensen to save low to his left after being teed up on the edge of the box by Steven Fletcher.

But after 58 minutes an own goal from Doyle put Stoke level in fortuitous manner.

Wolves skipper Roger Johnson was adjudged to have fouled Walters 30 yard out and Glenn Whelan rolled the free-kick into the path of Huth.

His free-kick took a major deflectionoff Doyle in the defensive wall and wrong-footed Hennessey, who got a hand to the ball but could not preventing it entering the net.

Arms race: Stoke

[caption

Dean Whitehead was booked for a challenge on Christophe Berra, who soon took retribution on the Stoke midfielder with a late tackle and was also yellow-carded.

Hennessey made a fine save to turn over a powerful 25-yard drive from Etherington but after 70 minutes, Crouch put Stoke in front.

In the Hunt: Nenad Milijas (left) goes to congratulate the Irishman

In the Hunt: Nenad Milijas (left) goes to congratulate the Irishman”s opener

Pennant turned the ball back into thepath of Etherington whose deep cross was converted by Crouch, who got in front of left-back Stephen Ward on the far post.

Wolves substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blakeheaded wide from a corner by Hunt but Stoke faced few alarms in the final stages before securing victory.

Neil Lennon left livid over "penalty" decision as Celtic crash out in Italy

Armed robbery: Lennon left livid over “penalty” decision as Celtic crash out

Battling Celtic crashed out of the Europa League despite coming close to pulling off an unlikely Italian job.

And the evening ended in anger for boss Neil Lennon who insisted his team were denied a spot-kick in the closing minutes when a Udinese defender appeared to handle in the penalty area.

Chasing their first victory on Italian soil, Lennon’s side needed a win to advance to the last 32 of the competition.

And Gary Hooper’s close-range finish in 29 minutes gave the Scottish Cup holders hope of pulling off a shock.

The one that got away: Lennon pleads in vain with the linesman for a Celtic penalty

The one that got away: Lennon pleads in vain with the linesman for a Celtic penalty

Another Cha Du-ri error on foreign soil unhinged the Parkhead side’s chances, however, when a loose defensive header teed up a leveller for dangerman Antonio di Natale in first-half injury time.

Also the fall guy in Rennes, where he scored an own goal, the South Korean’s error proved costly on a night when goalkeeper Fraser Forster pulled off a string of superb second-half saves to tee up a grandstand finish.

Although TV footage of the incident was inconclusive, Lennon was convinced that Greek referee Michail Koukoulakis missed a handball by Brazilian Danilo in the dying stages which would have handed Celtic a dramatic shot at glory.

The Northern Irishman said: ‘I was very proud of the team. Everyone made a fantastic contribution and with a bit of luck we would be through. But I thought there was a clear handball. I thought it hit one of their centre-backs on the arm, I think it was Danilo.

Level terms: Di Natale ended Celtic

Level terms: Di Natale ended Celtic”s European dream

‘It was a great effort all round. We hit the post, we had one cleared off the line.

‘Interms of chances, it was almost as good as we’ve played. To come away from home, to Italy of all places, and play like that was really good tosee.’

Forster was key to keeping Celtic’s hopes alive with several fine stops and Lennon likened the on-loan Newcastle United man to a former Hoops favourite.

‘Wehad Artur Boruc a couple of years ago and, in Forster, I think we’ve found another one like that,’ he said. ‘There were some top-class saves.You need a keeper like that.’

Class act: Forster was excpetional in Italy

Class act: Forster was excpetional in Italy

Chahad a dramatic evening, almost becoming the hero after his defensive blunder for di Natale’s goal, when he hit the post with a late shot thatSamir Handanovic allowed to then escape his grasp and almost trundle over the line.

The full-back had earlier been caught up in a case of mistaken identity whenhe was booked for a foul which was committed by Scott Brown. When Cha was later yellow-carded again, the Celtic bench held their collective breath but referee Koukoulakis appeared to have rectified his mistake with his assistants and the Hoops star stayed on the park.

Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin was in no mood to discuss Lennon”s penalty theory. He said: “Neil Lennon said the difference was the penalty awarded in Glasgow and the penalty that wasn”t awarded tonight.

“Well, in 25 years I have never talked about single incidents and that won”t change now. I think what was important tonight was that we scored just before the end of the first half.

“I was not surprised by the way Celtic played, I was expecting to see that performance from them.

“Celtic are a very strong team, very aggressive and filled with spirit.”