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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 22:26 GMT
Wolves 0-0 Stoke

Wolves failed to consolidate their play-off position as they were held to a goalless draw at home by lowly Stoke.

In an opening period of few scoring opportunities, the visitors gave Wolves keeper Matt Murray an early scare when Clive Clarke fired a long-range free-kick narrowly wide in the third minute.

The hosts' riposte arrived moments later though, only for a perfectly-timed saving tackle from Wayne Thomas to dispossess Shaun Newton as the Molineux midfielder shaped to shoot.

Next to chance his arm was the Potters' Mark Wilson.

He let loose in the 21st minute but Murray was comfortably able to gather the ball at the second attempt.

Wolves' best chances of the first half both fell to Alex Rae but both were squandered.

The Potters threatened early in the second half when a neat interchange featuring Andy Cook and Clarke saw the latter burst through the Wolves rearguard and into the penalty area.

But keeper Murray was off his line quickly to smother the danger.

An indication of the home team's growing frustration was provided in the 55th minute when Kenny Miller went down inside the box.

He was booked for his trouble with referee Jeff Winter ruling the Wolves striker had dived following an innocuous collision with Wayne Thomas.

Chances in the game remained scarce until home left-back Lee Naylor produced a 25-yard effort which keeper Mark Crossley struggled to divert around the post.

Mark Kennedy then curled a Wolves free-kick to the back post where Joleon Lescott nodded the ball into the danger area - but Paul Ince could only direct his spectacular overhead effort skywards.

Kennedy might have scored late on but was denied by Clarke's goal-line clearance.

Wolverhampton: Murray, Irwin, Lescott, Butler, Naylor, Newton, Ince, Rae, Kennedy, Miller, Sturridge. Subs: Oakes, Clyde, Cooper, Cameron, Proudlock.

Stoke: Crossley, Thomas, Handyside, Shtanuk, Williams, Marcus Hall, Gunnarsson, Brian Wilson, O'Connor, Clarke, Cooke. Subs: Banks, Gudjonsson, Hoekstra, Iwelumo, Greenacre.

Referee: J Winter (Cleveland)

BBC Radio Stoke's Nigel Johnson
"Every player worked tremendously hard"

Stoke boss Tony Pulis
"We've got to praise the players tonight"



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