Tag Archives: levelling

Matthew Stevens beats Neil Robertson in Kaikou Open semi-final

Stevens nicks final two frames to squeeze past Robertson into first final for five years

By
Steven Donaldson

PUBLISHED:

14:08 GMT, 2 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:08 GMT, 2 March 2013

Matthew Stevens reached his first ranking final in five years after winning the last two frames to secure a 6-5 win over Neil Robertson in the Haikou Open in China.

The Carmarthen 35-year-old finished with breaks of 60 and 51 respectively to overhaul his Australian opponent and book his place in his first final since the 2008 Bahrain Championship.

The match was not without controversy after referee Eirian Williams incorrectly replaced the balls following a Stevens foul in frame four, with Robertson winning the frame and levelling at 2-2.

Held his nerve: Matthew Stevens beat Neil Robertson in a final-frame shootout

Held his nerve: Matthew Stevens beat Neil Robertson in a final-frame shootout

LIVE World Darts Final: Scott Waites v Tony O"Shea at Lakeside

BDO World Darts Championship final: All the live news from Waites v O'Shea

By
Nick Metcalfe

PUBLISHED:

17:59 GMT, 13 January 2013

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UPDATED:

18:18 GMT, 13 January 2013

LATEST SCORE
O'Shea 0 Waites 1 Have your say here

18.18: Waites with the darts in the third leg of the second set, and he's always too far ahead to be under any pressure. Waites goes 2-1 up.

18.16: O'Shea levels it up in the second set, with a double 10 finishing it off.

18.15: The Chelsea pensioners are in attendance. No personalities so far, from what I can see. You used to be able to rely on a few snooker players to make it, but with the Masters starting today, I'm not so sure any will be here.

18.14: Best leg of the match so far, with successive 180s in the middle of it. Waites misses a couple of doubles, but makes no mistake with double four and goes one leg up in the second set.

18.12: Scott Waites wins the opening set.

O'Shea is not at the races in this fourth leg of the match, leaving Waites with six darts to make 42. He doesn't make the first three count, but with his fourth he hits double 16 and puts the first set on the board. He really does look determined here, does Waites.

18.10: O'Shea misses a chance with bullseye, and Waites takes full advantage, with a treble 16 and double eight finish seeing him break the darts.

18.09: This is bringing back nice memories of my own days at the Lakeside. It's always a fun night out, I remember when it was seen as really raucous in Frimley Green, but with the antics of the crowd up at Ally Pally these days, it seems positively innocent in Surrey.

18.07: Waites hits the first 180 of the final in the second leg, and is on a finish in no time. He misses a few doubles, before eventually nailing double six and levelling the scores.

18.05: Waites has a chance to win the first leg with a 170, but falls well short, O'Shea misses a chance with double 16, Waites then can't hit double 20, before O'Shea holds his nerve to pick off a double eight and make sure he holds with the darts.

18.03: We're under way, so we are. Both these men are going for their first title. Who will be picking up the famous old trophy in a couple of hours

Into the final: O'Shea celebrates his semi-final match win over Wesley Harms

Into the final: O'Shea celebrates his semi-final match win over Wesley Harms

18.02: It's been some month for us darts fans, has it not All the thrills of the PDC event at Alexandra Palace, with a 16th world title for Phil Taylor. And after a week of BDO action, here comes the climax to it all. All eyes on the oche.

18.00: The atmosphere at the Lakeside is terrific, as the players make their entrance for this final. Plenty of fancy dress on display at what the commentators remind us is 'the spiritual home of darts'.

Welcome to our live coverage of the world darts final. Let's hope for a thriller between Scott Waites and Tony O'Shea.

Looking good: Scott Waites celebrates reaching his first final

Looking good: Scott Waites celebrates reaching his first final

Reading Manchester United match report

Reading 3 Manchester United 4: The 34 minutes of madness! Fergie's men march three points clear with rollercoaster victory

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UPDATED:

19:53 GMT, 1 December 2012

Wayne Rooney answered the goalscoring rallying cry of his manager as Manchester United twice came from behind to beat Reading and move three points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Sir Alex Ferguson said he wanted to see his striker find the back of the net more often and Rooney responded with two strikes in a thrilling match at the Madejski Stadium, where all seven goals came in a 34-minute spell in the first half.

Hal Robson-Kanu gave Reading an early lead before United hit back with Anderson levelling and Rooney putting them ahead from the spot.

Reading stunned the visitors with two quick-fire goals to regain the lead as Adam Le Fondre and Sean Morrison capitalised on lapses in United's defence to both score with close-range headers.

But another effort from Rooney and a neat finish from Robin van Persie saw United take the spoils.

The second half was less entertaining but both sides still created decent chances on a day where neither team's defending was deserving of praise.

1-0: Reading's Hal Robson-Kanu (centre right) put the home side a goal up after eight minutes

1-0: Reading's Hal Robson-Kanu (centre right) put the home side a goal up after eight minutes

1-1: Anderson equalised for Manchester United shortly afterwards

1-1: Anderson equalised for Manchester United shortly afterwards

1-2: Wayne Rooney found the bottom corner with a penalty to give United the lead after Jonny Evans had been fouled

1-2: Wayne Rooney found the bottom corner with a penalty to give United the lead after Jonny Evans had been fouled

Match facts

Reading: Federici, Shorey, Mariappa, Morrison, Cummings, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Tabb, Robson-Kanu (Hunt 83), Le Fondre, Roberts (Pogrebnyak 69)

Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Harte, Guthrie, McCleary

Scorers: Robson-Kanu 8, Le Fondre 19, Morrison 23

Booking: Tabb

Manchester United: Lindegaard, Rafael (Smalling 31), Evra, Ferdinand, Evans, Anderson (Jones 45), Carrick, Young, Fletcher, Rooney, Van Persie (Welbeck)

Subs not used: De Gea, Giggs, Cleverley, Hernandez

Scorers: Anderson 13, Rooney 16 (pen), 30, Van Persie 34

Booking: Rafael

Referee: Mark Halsey

Attendance: 24,095

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

The home side went ahead in the
seventh minute after Jonny Evans could only head Jobi McAnuff's cross
into the path of Robson-Kanu, who volleyed past Anders Lindegaard.

United found themselves in the familiar position of chasing a game and soon showed their ruthlessness when coming from behind.

Anderson picked out Ashley Young wide
on the left and the Brazil international continued his run before Young
picked him out and he lashed United level.

Just nine minutes after falling behind the visitors were ahead after Jay Tabb bundled into the back of Evans.

Reading were level just three minutes
later as United fan Le Fondre wriggled free of Evans in the area to head
home a Nicky Shorey corner.

Brian McDermott's side have shown
great resolve this season and took advantage of further poor defending
from United to re-take the lead.

Moments after Rio Ferdinand had headed
away a cross ta the back post, Morrison beat Evans to a corner and
powered a close-range header past Lindegaard.

With title rivals Manchester City
being held at home to Everton earlier in the day, United knew a win was
vital ahead of the Manchester derby next weekend and they were soon back
on top.

A sublime piece of skill from Young
freed Patrice Evra down the left and his low cross was tucked away by
Rooney to make it 3-3 with only half an hour gone.

2-2: Adam Le Fondre (centre) scores a header to restore parity once again

2-2: Adam Le Fondre (centre) scores a header to restore parity once again

3-2: Reading then took the lead with another header through Sean Morrison

3-2: Reading then took the lead with another header through Sean Morrison

3-3: Wayne Rooney levelled things again with a close-range finish from Patrice Evra's cut back

3-3: Wayne Rooney levelled things again with a close-range finish from Patrice Evra's cut back

3-4: Ten minutes before half-time, Robin Van Persie raced through to score what proved to be the winner

3-4: Ten minutes before half-time, Robin Van Persie raced through to score what proved to be the winner

Ferguson decided to make a tactical
substitution and replaced Rafael, who had been cautioned moments
earlier, with the more powerful Chris Smalling, although the Brazilian
did not take kindly to being hauled off.

Just four minutes after Rooney's effort United took the lead yet again.

Michael Carrick's through-ball was
deflected into the path of Van Persie by a clever Rooney touch and the
Dutchman slotted past Federici with his weaker right foot.

United were denied a fifth goal before
half-time as Van Persie pounced on a smart Federici save and directed
an effort goalwards. Adrian Mariappa was in the right place to clear but
it appeared the whole of the ball had crossed the line before the
former Watford man hacked it away.

Disallowed: Van Persie then had this clear goal chalked off

Disallowed: Van Persie then had this clear goal chalked off

Facetime: Adam Federici keeps out Chris Smalling with his head

Facetime: Adam Federici keeps out Chris Smalling with his head

Aerial combat: Michael Carrick and Pavel Pogrebnyak challenge for the ball in the air

Aerial combat: Michael Carrick and Pavel Pogrebnyak challenge for the ball in the air

The second half started much calmer but it was the home side who were pressing forward.

Lindegaard fumbled a simple catch from
a Shorey corner before Halsey waved away Reading appeals for a penalty
after Evra won the ball in a challenge with Mariappa.

Van Persie wasted a good chance to put
United two clear when he shot wide after being picked out by Phil
Jones, although the ball into the ex-Arsenal striker was slightly behind
him.

The 29-year-old missed an even better
opportunity moments later as he robbed the ball off a dallying Federici
but could not hit the empty net from a relatively tight angle.

McDermott introduced Pavel Pogrebnyak for the tiring Jason Roberts as his side went in search of an equaliser.

Smalling found himself in space on the
right flank with just three minutes left on the clock but he could only
blaze an uncontrolled effort into the United fans behind Federici's
goal.

Reading pushed on in stoppage time and
a Morrison header was tipped over by Lindegaard with the same player
heading wide from the resulting corner as United just held on.

Put a sock in it! Patrice Evra expresses his delight at the final whistle

Put a sock in it! Patrice Evra expresses his delight at the final whistle

Norwich to report racist abuse aimed at Sebastien Bassong to police

Norwich set to report racist abuse aimed at goal hero Bassong to police

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 25 November 2012

Norwich chief executive David McNally has confirmed the club will speak to police about alleged racist comments directed at defender Sebastien Bassong.

The Cameroon defender headed a late equaliser to earn the Canaries a 1-1 draw at Everton in the Barclays Premier League yesterday and was last night believed to be the subject of racist abuse on Twitter.

Levelling up: Sebastien Bassong earns a point for Norwich with his late goal

Levelling up: Sebastien Bassong earns a point for Norwich with his late goal

Heading for a draw: Bassong was allegedly racially abused on Twitter after the game

Heading for a draw: Bassong was allegedly racially abused on Twitter after the game

Norwich are aware of the comments and McNally tweeted: 'For those asking last night, we will be following up with the police regarding the racist comments reported after the game.'

He later added: 'Not relevant which team they support. Don't accept racism from anyone and so these comments will be reported to the police.'

Laura Robson beats Eleni Daniilidou in HP Open

Robson sails through to second round of HP Open after straight-sets victory

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UPDATED:

07:26 GMT, 9 October 2012

British No 1 and eighth seed Laura Robson saw off Greece's Eleni Daniilidou 6-4, 6-2 to reach the second round of the HP Open in Osaka.

Robson, seeded in a WTA tournament for the first time, appeared to be letting her opponent back into the match when Daniilidou came back from 3-0 down in the second set to the brink of levelling at 3-3.

But Robson held a tough service game, re-established her double break at 5-2 and served out at the first attempt to join compatriot Heather Watson in the second round, where she will face either Japan's Kurumi Nara or Zhou Yimiao of China.

Going through: Robson saw off Daniilidou to reach the second round

Going through: Robson saw off Daniilidou to reach the second round

Wimbledon 2012: Elena Balatcha beats Karin Knapp

Brit Baltacha battles back to catch Knapp napping and seal spot in second round

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UPDATED:

18:10 GMT, 26 June 2012

Elena Baltacha came through a battle of the walking wounded on Court 18 this afternoon to secure a first-round win over Karin Knapp.

The 28-year-old Briton, who was today handed a wildcard place for the Olympics, saw off her Italian opponent 4-6 6-4 6-0 after a match littered with medical time-outs.

It had first looked as though Baltacha would win through retirement, with Knapp requiring lengthy treatment after a fall early in the second set.

Victory: Elena Baltacha

Serve: Baltacha

Victory: Elena Baltacha defied her injury problems to progress at Wimbledon

But then, after Knapp returned and failed to stop her opponent levelling at one set apiece, Baltacha, the world number 101, asked for treatment herself.

She was the stronger player in the third set, though, and broke serve three times to tee-up a second-round meeting with defending champion Petra Kvitova.

Never say die: Baltacha in action against Karin Knapp on day two at SW19

Never say die: Baltacha in action against Karin Knapp on day two at SW19

Appearing at Wimbledon for the 11th time and already buoyed by her Olympics news, Baltacha started the better of the two players and took the first break in the fifth game, forcing Knapp to hit a backhand off the court.

With momentum in her favour it was therefore surprising to see her surrender her advantage in a marathon eighth game. She had already saved two break points on deuce and squandered three match points of her own when she planted a forehand wide, letting Knapp in to level, with the 24-year-old quickly breaking again to take the set.

Good day: Baltacha has also been handed a wild card for the Olympics

Good day: Baltacha has also been handed a wild card for the Olympics

The second set started with Baltacha pinning a forehand to the corner that Knapp reached for but could not get, causing her to fall to the floor.

She was clearly in some pain and was treated for almost 20 minutes but, to her credit, she returned, albeit only to fall to a 6-4 loss.

Baltacha offered Knapp hope at the end of the set, though, asking for medical attention herself, only to shake off whatever the problem was and break three times in a row to take the match.

Leeds 3 Doncaster 2

Leeds 3 Doncaster 2: Warnock's half-time team talk inspires new club to stunning comeback

Luciano Becchio fired in a dramatic winner nine minutes into injury-time as Leeds came from two down to beat Doncaster and give new manager Neil Warnock the perfect welcome to Elland Road.

Former QPR boss Warnock was appointed as the club's new manager on an 18-month deal this morning after a meeting with owner Ken Bates in Monaco and, although temporary manager Neil Redfearn picked the side, Warnock spoke to his players before kick-off and also at half-time.

His interval address may well have been as a result of a dismal first-half performance which saw Mamadou Bagayoko open the scoring, but whatever he said did not seem to have worked as the Malian made it two after the break.

Level pegging: Adam Clayton (right) celebrates scoring Leeds' second

Level pegging: Adam Clayton (right) celebrates scoring Leeds' second

MATCH FACTS

Leeds: Lonergan, Bruce, Lees, O'Dea, White, Snodgrass, Clayton, Pugh (Brown 60), Townsend (Rogers 79), Becchio, McCormack, Rogers (Forssell 90).

Subs Not Used: Taylor,Connolly.

Booked: Pugh, Snodgrass.

Goals: Townsend 55, Clayton 80, Becchio 90.

Doncaster: Button, Chimbonda, Hird, Lockwood, Spurr (O'Connor 90), Bamogo (Bagayoko 25),Stock, Gillett, Barnes, Hayter (Robert 89), Diouf.

Subs Not Used: Martis,Oster.

Booked: Barnes,Hird,Stock,Spurr.

Goals: Bagayoko 32,54.

Ref: Keith Stroud (Hampshire).

That prompted an outpouring of dissent on the terraces, with Leeds' fans renewing their feud with Bates over a perceived lack of investment.

At two down, Warnock's plans to achieve the promotion target former boss Simon Grayson had failed to looked slim at best, something that remained despite Andros Townsend and Adam Clayton levelling matters.

But, Warnock's career has always been colourful and when Becchio cracked in a curling drive from 20 yards, it suggested that will continue to be the case.

The last time Warnock was at Elland Road, his QPR side were beaten 2-0 in December 2010, an his new team started little better than his last one fared.

Doncaster midfielder Brian Stock drove over from the edge of the box after the ball came loose and then, with 10 minutes on the clock, Habib Bamogo back-heeled El-Hadj Diouf's flick-on against the post.

That stirred Leeds briefly and Robert Snodgrass and Clayton fashioned a chance for Becchio, with his back header being tipped over by a scrambling David Button.

But with the quality so low, a goal was always likely to be as a result of a mistake and so it proved when Doncaster took a 32nd-minute lead.

James Hayter found himself through on Andy Lonergan's goal and, although the goalkeeper smothered his effort he did not hang on to the ball and Bagayoko, on for the injured Bamogo, tucked into the vacant goal.

Warm welcome: Neil Warnock (back left) watched his new side triumph

Warm welcome: Neil Warnock (back left) watched his new side triumph

Doncaster's fans, no friends of Warnock after his long stint in charge of their local rivals Sheffield United, quickly taunted him from their position next to the directors' box and his response was to make his impromptu half-time address, but the response was not immediate, with Doncaster the first to impress after the restart.

Leeds were caught short at the back and, after Giles Barnes threaded Hayter in, the striker was desperately unlucky to crunch the bar.

The close shave only put off what had been coming, though, and Bagayoko made it two with 54 minutes gone, tapping into an open goal for a second time after Diouf turned Tommy Spurr's cross into the six-yard box.

Winner: Luciano Becchio celebrates

Winner: Luciano Becchio celebrates

The goal triggered mass unrest amongst the home fans, with Bates at the centre of the ire, and even an immediate response from Townsend did little to pacify them.

A minute after Bagayoko's second, Becchio fumbled his way into the box, the ball fell to Townsend and he placed a crisp drive beyond Button.

The game was well and truly alive now, with Becchio bringing a low save out of Button after Snodgrass' cross and then the keeper saving at the feet of McCormack.

Leeds had now replaced Doncaster in the ascendancy and when they equalised with 10 minutes remaining, it had been coming. Snodgrass fizzed a cross in from the left and Clayton arrived in the box to stab it beyond Button on the volley.

That was not the end of the drama however and, after a lengthy delay after Robbie Rogers was knocked out, Becchio took in a loose ball and capped a memorable turnaround.

Bayer Leverkusen 1 Barcelona 3: Sanchez and Messi put holders on easy street

Bayer Leverkusen 1 Barcelona 3: Sanchez and Messi put holders on easy street

Barcelona put one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with victory over a Leverkusen side who might wonder what would have been had they attacked from the start.

After the German hosts sat deep to frustrate Barca in the first half, Alexis Sanchez's first Champions League goal, scored in the 41st minute, separated the teams at the break.

But Leverkusen came out with a much more positive outlook after the break, levelling through Michal Kadlec and then having several chances before Sanchez's second and a late Lionel Messi strike gave Barca victory.

Double top: Sanchez beats Leno to fire his second of the game

Double top: Sanchez beats Leno to fire his second of the game

MATCH FACTS

Bayer Leverkusen: Leno, Corluka (Da Costa 90+1), Schwaab, Friedrich, Kadlec, Reinartz, Rolfes (Kiessling 77), Bender, Castro, Schurrle (Bellarabi 90), Renato Augusto. Subs not used: Yelldell, Oczipka, Ortega, Toprak.

Booked: Schwaab, Corluka, Castro.

Scorer: Kadlec 51.

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Abidal, Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta (Alcantara 61), Sanchez, Messi, Adriano (Pedro 70). Subs not used: Pinto, Jonathan, Roberto, Bartra, Cuenca.

Booked: Alcantara.

Scorer: Sanchez, 41, 55, Messi 88.

Referee: Craig Thomson (Scotland).

Attendance: 30,000.

Leverkusen, hit heavily by injury, set up to defend against a Barcelona side that was missing Xavi Hernandez.

The result was a fairly drab opening,
with a Dani Alves free-kick, sent comfortably over the bar, the sum
total of the chances in the opening quarter of an hour.

Daniel Schwaab made a fine
intervention to prevent Messi nipping in for an easy close-range chance,
before Adriano curled a shot well wide from the left channel with
openings hard to come by.

Andre Schurrle fluffed Leverkusen's
only half-chance of the first 45 minutes, totally miskicking when the
ball sat up invitingly on the edge of the area.

Messi was doing his best to wriggle
through the Leverkusen defence, but could not get enough power on a shot
through Schwaab's legs from a difficult angle.

But the Argentinian was the provider
for the opening goal, flicking a pass over the defence that had Alexis
and Cesc Fabregas scampering after it.

High point: Sanchez hails his - and Barcelona's - second as the holders sealed an easy win in Germany

High point: Sanchez hails his – and Barcelona's – second as the holders sealed an easy win in Germany

Alexis won the debate between the two and slipped it through the legs of Bernd Leno and into the bottom corner.

With their containment strategy
undone, Leverkusen looked much more positive to start the second half,
with Manuel Friedrich having an early chance when Puyol's header fell
for him at the far post, but he could not stretch far enough to turn it
goalwards.

They were level in the 52nd minute as
Vedran Corluka was allowed the time to cross from a tight position,
standing the ball up for Kadlec to head in.

At full stretch: Lionel Messi makes it 3-1

At full stretch: Lionel Messi makes it 3-1

But parity lasted only four minutes
before Alexis got his second, latching on to a wonderful threaded ball
from Fabregas to round the goalkeeper and finish.

Moments later, a defensive mix-up gave Renato Augusto another chance for the hosts, but his shot was straight at Victor Valdes.

They had another chance to level in
the 64th minute when Gonzalo Castro raced onto the ball and powered a
low shot at goal, but Valdes used fingertips to push it onto the post.

No chance: Victor Valdes can do nothing but watch Michal Kadlec's thundering header sail into the net

No chance: Victor Valdes can do nothing but watch Michal Kadlec's thundering header sail into the net

Messi was the next to find the
woodwork, racing in from the right wing and then dinking a shot over the
onrushing Leno from a tight angle, only to see it come back off the
upright.

Leverkusen introduced Stefan Kiessling
from the bench and he almost had an immediate impact, stooping to head
Castro's curling cross goalwards and forcing Valdes into a good save on
the line.

Leno was then called on to make a fine save and deny Alexis a hat-trick as he sent a diving header goalwards.

But Barca got what could be a killer
third goal two minutes from time, with Messi the creator and finisher as
he slipped Dani Alves through and the Brazilian selflessly squared for
the Argentinian to find the net.

Kevin Painter, Andy Hamilton and Mervyn King into round two of world darts championships

Picture perfect: Painter through to second round after seeing off Monk

World number nine Kevin Painter reached the second round of the PDC World Championships with a 3-1 win over young prospect Arron Monk.

Painter was clearly the better thrower but his opponent was not overawed and pushed the older man all the way.

Monk missed double top for 2-2 and instead Painter took full advantage to nail the same and win the first set 3-1.

Artist in residence: Kevin Painter eased through the first round

Artist in residence: Kevin Painter eased through the first round

The 21-year-old then nailed bullseye to go 1-0 up in the second which then went to 2-2 only for Painter to dominate the deciding leg for a 2-0 lead.

Double top took Monk to a 2-1 lead in the third set which Painter promptly levelled but the former held his nerve to find double 20 with his third dart to pull a set back.

Double 16 gave Painter a 2-1 lead in the decider as he moved to the brink of victory but double nine levelled it for Monk.

However, another double 16 won it for Painter.

Warm welcome: Andy Hamilton is through to round two

Warm welcome: Andy Hamilton is through to round two

Andy Hamilton booked a second round clash with Vincent van der Voort after he edged Antonio Alcanas 3-2.

“The Hammer” twice came from behind and after levelling at 2-2, Hamilton forced the game into a deciding set.

Alcanas missed five chances to win the third leg allowing Hamilton to nip in and win with a double 16.

No problems for The King: Mervyn King beat Geoff Kime 3-0

No problems for The King: Mervyn King beat Geoff Kime 3-0

Hamilton nailed five 180s, one less than his opponent.

Mervyn King eased to a 3-0 win over Geoff Kime, securing victory with double 10.

Former World Championship semi-finalist James Wade avoided an upset as he claimed a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Finland”s Petri Korte.

Wade looked to be cruising when he moved into a 2-0 lead, but Korte fought back and missed a double to level the match at 2-2 as the favourite wobbled.

But the 28-year-old rediscovered his form in time to close out the match.

“If you give people a chance they will take the chances now,” Wade said afterwards on Sky Sports. “Fair play to him he did finish very well and he scored ok.”

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.