Hunt hands Wolves a lifeline

Wolves are now just a point from Premier League safety after Stephen Hunt's first-half goal earned them a 1-0 win over Birmingham at Molineux.

Last Updated: 12/12/10 at 15:52 Post Comment

Hunt: Mobbed after goal

Hunt: Mobbed after goal

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy claimed before the game that he was dealing with the worst injury crisis he has experienced in almost two decades of management, but his makeshift side did him proud.

The home side were on the front froot from the very first whistle against their West Midlands rivals and Hunt's goal, a near-post finish from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's cross, came after Ben Foster had already made two excellent saves.

Wolves missed further chances after the break and were nearly made to pay by their old foe Kevin Phillips, who headed wide when unmarked after coming on as a substitute.

McCarthy's men held on, though, to record their first clean sheet since April and move to within a point of Wigan and Fulham above them. Blues are now just three points away.

With enough players sidelined to make an entire starting XI, McCarthy was forced to make four changes from the side who went down 3-0 at Blackburn last weekend - Kevin Doyle (dead leg), Matt Jarvis, Michael Mancienne (both knee) and Steven Mouyokolo (back) making way for Ebanks-Blake, Hunt, David Edwards and Richard Stearman.

Birmingham counterpart Alex McLeish also made three changes, handing starts to Serbia striker Nikola Zigic, Sebastian Larsson and David Murphy.

The opening stages were played at a typical bustling derby tempo, setting the trend for the afternoon.

Foster's first save of the encounter came with 10 minutes on the clock, diving to his right to pluck Edwards' goalbound header out of the air.

The former Manchester United stopper was at it again less than 60 seconds later, denying Hunt with a great point-blank block after the ball broke six yards out.

Blues were losing possession far too easily in the final third, meaning they were struggling to create a worthwhile chance.

Foster was made to work again just before the half-hour mark, getting down low to save Ebanks-Blake's shot on the turn from the edge of the area.

Wolves, despite their injury crisis, were definitely looking the most likely to break the deadlock.

Stephen Ward lobbed a speculative effort over the crossbar before Ebanks-Blake was again left cursing the form of Foster as he parried his drilled effort at the near post.

Ward did find the net just before the interval but he was rightfully flagged offside.

Yet there was nothing wrong with Hunt's 45th-minute breakthrough as he got in between Roger Johnson and Stephen Carr to connect with Ebanks-Blake's low cross, leaving Foster with no chance.

The lively Edwards should have doubled Wolves' advantage within minutes of the restart, somehow planting his unmarked header inches wide from Ward's right-wing cross.

The momentum from the first half had failed to shift and Foster was again called into action, getting his body behind Nenad Milijas' free-kick before collecting Ronald Zubar's tame shot.

Christophe Berra headed over from Hunt's corner as McCarthy's side looked for a killer second.

Birmingham were in desperate need of some fresh impetus and McLeish turned to Craig Gardner and Jean Beausejour from the bench.

But it was Foster who continued to be the visitors' key performer as he produced his umpteenth save of the match to tip Milijas' header over the bar.

Berra collided with a post as he tried to head home, but Wolves were unable to build on their one-goal advantage with 20 minutes remaining.

Ward's dangerous cross was well held by Foster before McLeish threw his last roll of the dice, bringing on former West Brom man Phillips to boos from the Molineux faithful.

Despite the home side's dominance they nearly threw the points away as the game entered the final 15 minutes but Cameron Jerome was unable to connect with Beausejour's left-wing cross when, if he had, he surely would have scored.

Phillips, who has a wonderful record in derbies, had an even better chance in the 89th minute but got his angles all wrong and headed off target, much to the relief of the majority of the 25,150 present.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

More Match Results

Wednesday, 16 April 2014
19:45
Everton 2-3 C Palace Report
Man City 2-2 Sunderland Report
Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Arsenal 3-1 West Ham  
Sunday, 13 April 2014
16:07
Swansea 0-1 Chelsea Report
13:37
Liverpool 3-2 Man City  
Saturday, 12 April 2014
15:07
C Palace 1-0 A Villa Report
Fulham 1-0 Norwich Report
Southampton 0-1 Cardiff  
Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle  
Sunderland 0-1 Everton Report

Barclays Premier League

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Liverpool 34 51 77
2 Chelsea 34 42 75
3 Man City 33 54 71
4 Arsenal 34 18 67
5 Everton 34 21 66
6 Tottenham 34 0 60
7 Man Utd 33 18 57
8 Southampton 34 5 48
9 Newcastle 34 -14 46
10 Stoke City 34 -10 43
11 C Palace 34 -14 40
12 West Ham 34 -9 37
13 Hull City 33 -6 36
14 A Villa 33 -14 34
15 Swansea 34 -5 33
16 West Brom 33 -11 33
17 Norwich 34 -27 32
18 Fulham 34 -40 30
19 Cardiff 34 -34 29
20 Sunderland 33 -25 26

Updated Thu, 17 Apr 2014

Footer 365

Champions League: Eden Hazard is in a race against time to be fit to face Atletico Madrid

Eden Hazard will need to return to full training quickly if he is to be considered for Tuesday's Champions League match.

Primera Liga: Leaders Atletico Madrid pull six points clear after 2-0 win over Elche

Joao Miranda and Diego Costa scored as Primera Liga leaders Atletico Madrid beat Elche 2-0 to pull six points clear.

Yaya Toure feels he does not get the respect he deserves because he is from Africa

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure feels he does not get the respect he deserves because he is from Africa.

Mail Box

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property