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Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Derby 1-4 Wolves

Wolves midfielder Kevin Cooper reduced manager Dave Jones' injury concerns by coming off the bench to help settle a pulsating clash with Derby at Pride Park.

Jones had been forced to reshuffle after only half an hour when influential midfielder Paul Ince limped off but replacement Cooper struck with 13 minutes left to end Derby's resistance.

Alex Rae, who had put the Molineux side in front before Malcolm Christie's equaliser, scored his second of the match in the 89th minute and Kenny Miller's injury-time fourth goal gave the scoreline an emphatic look.

Wolves threatened first, Paul Butler heading over from Lee Naylor's corner.

But Derby midfielder Adam Bolder forced a brilliant save from Michael Oakes after 10 minutes with a stinging shot which the keeper did well to parry.

Ivar Ingimarsson then nodded a header straight into the arms of Derby's Andy Oakes but with 19 minutes gone, the visitors took the lead with a well-worked goal.

Shaun Newton's cross was headed out to the edge of the box but Rae kept his composure to drive a low shot across goal and into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

However, Jones was given an unwelcome problem when ex-Manchester United star Ince was forced off through injury and replaced by Cooper.

The substitution gave the Rams a boost with Branko Strupar crashing a 25-yard shot narrowly wide.

Denis Irwin almost grabbed a second for Wolves with a quality free-kick which was tipped round the post at full stretch by Andy Oakes.

With time running out in the first half, Christie was left unmarked to tap home a delivery from Gary Twigg.

Striker Dean Sturridge came close for Wolves as play raged from end to end but Bolder then wasted a great chance for the Rams, scuffing his shot from six yards and dragging the ball wide.

But with 13 minutes left, substitute Cooper crashed home a wonderful shot from 20 yards to silence Pride Park and sent Wolves on their way to the three points.

On 86 minutes Miller set up Rae who hit a screamer past Bolder from all of 30 yards to rub salt into Derby's wounds.

And worse was to come two minutes into injury-time when Blake crossed from the left and Miller drilled a right-footed shot low past Bolder from six yards.


Derby: Oakes, Barton, Evatt, Higginbotham, Grenet, Bolder, Lee, Murray, Twigg, Christie, Strupar. Subs: Grant, Morris, Jackson, Boertien, Tudgay.

Wolverhampton: Oakes, Irwin, Butler, Lescott, Naylor, Newton, Ince, Ingimarsson, Rae, Sturridge, Blake. Subs: Murray, Proudlock, Pollet, Cooper, Miller.

Referee: A Kaye (W Yorkshire).

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Stewart Gardner
"This was a scrappy and disjointed affair"
Derby boss John Gregory
"I thought we looked more likely to win"
Wolves' Alex Rae
"We're over the moon"

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