Wolves celebrate after coming from two goals down to draw at Stoke
By Peter Scrivener
Jody Craddock scored two second-half goals to salvage a point for Wolves as their first Premier League derby with Staffordshire rivals Stoke ended 2-2.
Wolves full-back George Elokobi, under pressure from James Beattie, turned a Matthew Etherington cross into his own net to gift the home side the lead.
Etherington then volleyed in from the edge of the box before half-time.
But Craddock turned in a Nenad Milijas free-kick before glancing in a near-post header to rescue a deserved point.
At half-time, it looked likely that Stoke would win a third successive match in the top flight for the first time since February 1984.
Their first-half dominance owed much to the pace and guile of Etherington who tormented Wolves from the kick-off.
Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen could also claim an assist for the first goal after his quick throw out set Etherington racing down the left wing.
Poor decisions cost us - Pulis
Etherington outpaced Ronald Zubar before firing a low ball across the six-yard box towards Beattie, who was arriving at the back post, but the striker was beaten by Elokobi who deflected the ball past a static Hennessey.
Beattie too was causing problems with his prowess in the air, although he caused a scare for the home fans when he landed awkwardly on his right leg after winning another header.
But the striker recovered sufficiently to blast a shot over, after more intricate work from Etherington, before seeing a header superbly palmed away by Hennessey.
However, the Wales international keeper could only watch as Etherington scored a deserved goal of his own as half-time approached.
A trademark Rory Delap throw-in was half-headed clear by Christophe Berra, but Etherington, lurking on the edge of the box, calmly chested the ball down before smashing a volley into the top corner.
At half-time Wolves boss Mick McCarthy sent on Milijas. And the Serbian international soon made the kind of impact that Etherington had made for Stoke in the opening 45 minutes.
With his first touch, Milijas delivered the free-kick that led to Craddock, who kickstarted his Wolves career with a successful month on loan at Stoke at the start of the 2007/08 season, turning the ball in at the back post.
Milijas's cross was nodded on by Berra and Craddock, who appeared to be in an offside position, guided the ball past Sorensen.
Moments later, Milijas preferred to go straight for goal with a free-kick from an almost identical position, but Sorensen comfortably held his effort.
Wolves remained wary of Etherington's threat though and Michael Kightly, who was booked in the first half for fouling his fellow winger, was joined in the referee's notepad by Elokobi, for a similar challenge.
But the visitors continued to make their own forays forward and Craddock deservedly headed them level from Milijas's right-wing corner.
We should have won - McCarthy
Centre-back Craddock left his marker as he ran towards the near-post and deftly glanced the ball beyond Sorensen.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis hauled off strikers Beattie and Ricardo Fuller for Tuncay Sanli and Mamady Sidibe in an effort to lift his side before also bringing on Liam Lawrence for Delap.
But it was captain Abdoulaye Faye who ultimately wasted City's best chance to win it. Stoke's captain rose unchallenged but inexplicably headed Etherington's well-flighted corner over from eight yards.
Wolves too had one last chance, but Milijas curled an effort high and wide as the visitors recorded their third successive Premier League draw.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis: "We were very good in the first half and we should have been more than 2-0 up at the break.
"They then scored straight after the break from a free-kick which I didn't think should have been given. If the referee gives that, then he has to give a lot more in the game.
"We rely on referees to make a decision and we hope they don't affect the results, but today one has gone against us.
"But we'll take it on the chin and we'll bounce back."
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "I brought Nenad Milijas on at half-time to try and hold the ball up a bit for us.
"He's found it difficult to settle in, but he's a quality player and his delivery is second to none.
"I'm disappointed though because we could have won that. We had opportunities at the last knockings, but we didn't punish them.
"Was (Jody Craddock's goal) one yard, two yards or five yards offside? I ain't bothered.
"We've had a few go against us this season and I've accepted them good grace, it's about time someone else had to."
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