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Saturday, 23 February, 2002, 18:51 GMT
Stockport 1-4 Wolves
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Dave Jones showed no sentiment towards his old club as Wolves swept Stockport aside to maintain their lead at the top of the First Division.

The former County boss was given a great reception on his first appearance at Edgeley Park since leaving for Southampton in the summer of 1997.

But his table-toppers were quick to put Carlton Palmer's youngsters to the sword, and a brace from both Dean Sturridge and Mark Kennedy, including a serious contender for goal of the season from the latter, ensured this top-versus-bottom clash went to form.

Luke Beckett's opportunism had given the home side brief hope in a goal-laden opening half, but it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Hatters after Rob Clare's 15th-minute red card for upending Nathan Blake.

Wolves, fresh from their 4-1 win at Crewe in midweek, began full of confidence and it came as no surprise when they went ahead in the 16th minute, albeit in quite controversial circumstances.

Jones will be delighted with another away win

Blake latched onto a Shaun Newton through ball and after a tangle with Clare went sprawling on the edge of the penalty area.

After consulting his linesman, referee David Pugh elected to give the County centre-half a straight red card and award a penalty, much to the fury of the home crowd.

Sturridge then added to County's misery when calmly slotting the spot-kick home low to Lee Jones' right.

Things went from bad to worse for the Hatters in the 26th minute when Wolves extended their lead through Kennedy.

The former Manchester City man curled in a low left-footed cross from the right flank which eluded everyone, including Jones, and crept into the far corner of the net.

With the visitors in complete control it seemed a matter of just how many they would score, but Beckett threw County a lifeline in the 33rd minute.

Points in the bag

The former Chesterfield man charged down Michael Oakes' attempted clearance in the Wolves goal before tapping in gleefully from five yards.

Wolves soon quelled any hopes of a County fightback, however, when restoring their two-goal cushion in the 44th minute through Sturridge.

Jones completely missed Colin Cameron's right-footed corner to give the former Leicester man the easiest of conversions from two yards.

The second half began with Wolves continuing to enjoy all the play, but Jones seemed intent on atoning for his earlier errors by saving well from both Blake and Kennedy.

Sturridge missed a glorious chance to grab his hat-trick and his side's fourth in the 66th minute when steering the ball wide from barely five yards from a Kennedy cross.

The visitors finally put the game beyond County in the 71st minute with a glorious strike from Kennedy.

Newton's cross-field ball fell invitingly to the Republic of Ireland international and he lashed home a left-foot volley from 35 yards into the top corner of the net past a helpless Jones.

With the points safely in the bag, Wolves chose to give run-outs to substitutes Keith Andrews, Kenny Miller and George Ndah as Jones readied all his troops for harder battles ahead in the race to the Premiership.


Stockport: Jones, Hardiker, Challinor, Palmer, Briggs, Fradin, Lescott, Clare, Thomas, Beckett, Wild. Subs: Turner, Hancock, Ross, Williams, Carratt.

Wolverhampton: Oakes, Muscat, Lescott, Butler, Camara, Newton, Rae, Cameron, Kennedy, Sturridge, Blake. Subs: Andrews, Ndah, Connelly, Miller, Murray.

Referee: D Pugh (Bebington).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Charlie Lambert
"This was men against boys"
Wolves boss Dave Jones
"We should have had more"
Links to more Eng Div 1 stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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