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Last Updated: Monday, 26 May, 2003, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Wolves back in big time
Wolves' goalscorer Mark Kennedy is mobbed by his team-mates
Wolves were always on top
Sheffield United 0-3 Wolves

Wolves reached the promised land of the Premiership with a superb victory over Sheffield United at the Millennium Stadium.

Dave Jones' men dominated the Division One play-off final and deservedly ended their 19-year exile from the top flight.

Wolves got off to a flying start courtesy of Mark Kennedy's stunning first-time strike from the edge of the area.

Nathan Blake headed home a second, before Kenny Miller sealed the match for Wolves on half-time, applying the finishing touch to a sweeping three-man move.

Sheffield United simply could not match their opponents, nor could they find a way past inspired Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray, who saved a Michael Brown penalty moments after the restart.

But the Blades' cause was blunted before Brown's miss when manager Neil Warnock was sent to the stands for remonstrating with referee Steve Bennett during the interval.

MILLENNIUM STADIUM GOALS
6 mins: Kennedy fires Wolves into the lead with a superb strike
22 mins: Blake heads home Wolves' second
45 mins: Miller nets a third for Wolves
48 mins: Murray saves Michael Brown's penalty
68 mins: Tonge's free-kick is pushed onto bar, Page blazes rebound over

Wolves' triumph ends years of frustration at failing to join the nation's footballing elite, which reached its nadir last season when the Molineux club choked having led the First Division for most of the campaign.

And chairman Sir Jack Hayward will finally be able to reap the rewards of the 50m he has invested in his beloved club, with Wolves set for a 15m-20m windfall thanks to their promotion to the Premiership.

With so much riding on the match, a more cautious approach would have been understandable.

Yet it was clear from the opening exchanges that both teams were in the mood for goals.

And Wolves seized the initiative. Blake headed into the path of Miller, who fed the ball out left to Kennedy.

The Republic of Ireland striker unleashed a sweet left-foot strike that left Sheffield United keeper Paddy Kenny with no chance and sent the Wolves fans into raptures.

It's a dream come true - we were terrific
Sir Jack Hayward
Wolves chairman

We've had a fantastic season, but we'll have to go away and lick our wounds
Neil Warnock
Sheffield United manager

To their credit, the Blades immediately came back at Wolves, with Carl Asaba and Steve Kabba combining well in attack.

However, it was United's poor defending that cost them.

Discipline and spirit have been the watchwords of an incredible season which has seen Warnock's men reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Worthington Cup on a shoestring budget.

But the Blades defence fell asleep on 22 minutes when Ince was allowed to flick on Kennedy's corner and an unmarked Blake headed home.

United midfielder Brown, one of the division's star performers, had a wretched afternoon as did team-mate Phil Jagielka.

The excellent Miller effectively ended the game as a contest on the stroke of half time, converting Wolves' third from close range.

The Midlands club rode their luck at times after the break, and relied on the brilliant marshalling provided by captain Paul Ince.

But Wolves thoroughly merited the victory, and the cloud that has hung over Molineux for almost two decades finally revealed a golden lining.


Sheff Utd: Kenny, Kozluk, Curtis, Page, Jagielka, Tonge, Brown, Rankine (McCall 45), Ndlovu (Peschisolido 64), Kabba, Asaba (Allison 74).
Subs Not Used: Kelly, Montgomery.

Booked: Tonge, Brown.

Wolverhampton: Murray, Naylor, Lescott, Butler, Irwin, Newton, Cameron, Kennedy, Ince, Blake (Proudlock 88), Miller (Sturridge 75).
Subs Not Used: Oakes, Rae, Edworthy.

Booked: Irwin.

Attendance: 69,473

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Pearce
"Unbridled joy for Wolves, utter desolation for Sheff Utd"


Wolves boss Dave Jones
"A magnificent performance from my players"


wolves_26_05_03

SHEFFIELD UNITED

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

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