Wolves celebrate Adlene Guedioura's winner at Molineux
By Stephan Shemilt
Adlene Guedioura's second-half strike gave Wolves an entertaining final-day victory over nine-man Sunderland.
Kenwyne Jones's shot went in off Jody Craddock to give Sunderland the lead, but Kevin Doyle levelled from the spot after Alan Hutton tripped Matt Jarvis.
Guedioura fired in the winner from outside the box 12 minutes from time after good work by Ronald Zubar.
Michael Turner was dismissed for a second yellow card, while substitute Jack Colback was also booked twice.
The win left Wolves in 15th place in their first season back in the top-flight, but manager Mick McCarthy knew before the game that, regardless of the result, he had guided his side to their highest finish since 1980.
Sunderland finished two places higher, a vast improvement on last season when they only escaped relegation on the final day, despite a mid-season run that saw them go 14 games without a win.
The Wearsiders climbed as high as seventh in the Premier League table in October, but their long winless run extinguished any dreams of qualifying for Europe and boss Steve Bruce will want greater consistency next term.
Bruce chose to recall striker Jones and move Frazier Campbell to the right wing and his aggressive approach almost paid immediate dividends when Darren Bent, fed by Steed Malbranque, sprung the offside trap and forced Marcus Hahnemann to save low to his right.
The early action was a signal of positive things to come but Wolves striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was unable to muster a meaningful effort after collecting Doyle's cross on his chest and his side fell behind shortly afterwards.
Campbell cut in from the right and fed Trinidad & Tobago international Jones, whose shot deflected off former Sunderland man Jody Craddock, past Hahnemann and in off the far post.
Staying up was tough - McCarthy
The lead lasted barely two minutes as Wolves were awarded a penalty in their next attack after Alan Hutton needlessly lunged at Jarvis, who was back in action after two games out with a thigh strain.
Doyle stepped up to to take the spot-kick and rolled it to the left of goalkeeper Craig Gordan and although the Scotland international got a hand to the ball, he could not deny the striker his ninth goal of the season.
The pace did not drop with both sides having further chances, the first seeing Malbranque meet Hutton's cross with an acrobatic overhead kick but he was denied by the same post which had played a part in Sunderland's opener.
Then, Jordan Henderson scuffed his shot when presented with a clear sight of goal after more good work by Malbranque, before Jarvis was denied by Gordon after being played in by Ebanks- Blake.
Doyle seized on a mistake by Richardson but lifted his effort wide and Campbell blazed over on the whistle as the score remained level at the break.
Bruce annoyed with 'unacceptable performance'
The early second-half action did not match the first period for quality, but Bent did escape the Wolves backline only to be denied by Hahnemann.
Gradually, however, the hosts exerted authority on the game and their winner came when Zubar nipped in to intercept a cross-field pass and fed Guedioura from the right, with the French-born Algerian firing his first goal for Wolves stylishly past Gordon.
Soon after, Turner, who had been booked in the first half for a challenge on Doyle, was shown a second yellow for a crude challenge on Jarvis and with a numerical advantage, Wolves pushed for a third.
Chris Iwelumo missed the target with a far-post header from close-range and Christophe Berra forced Gordon into a point-blank save from a near identical position.
Sunderland never looked like forcing an equaliser and Colback, on his Premier League debut, compounded their misery when he was shown a second yellow in injury time for an unnecessary foul on Zubar.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy: "When you go behind, more often than not you don't win but we made a great response. I'm delighted that we've won the game.
"We were great in the second half. We were fortunate when they hit the post at 1-1 but overall I thought we deserved the win.
"I've been thinking about next season since Christmas, it never stops. We've finished on a positive note and I can go away and enjoy my holiday."
Sunderland manager Steve Bruce: "We did OK in the first half, I was pleased with the way we started, but the second half was a horror show.
"I have to question the players' appetite. We had a top-10 finish to aim for and if we're going to improve then we have to better than that.
"I'm devastated that everyone thinks 13th is OK. I'm not satisfied and if anyone is satisfied with that then maybe Sunderland isn't the club to be at."
90:00+5:06 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
90:00+3:16 Ronald Zubar takes the free kick.
90:00+3:16 Sent off Jack Colback sent off.
90:00+3:15 Jack Colback challenges Ronald Zubar unfairly and gives away a free kick.
90:00+2:08 The ball is crossed by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Chance falls to Christophe Berra who heads at goal, save made by Craig Gordon.
90:00+1:56 Fraizer Campbell challenges Kevin Foley unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Kevin Foley.
90:00+0:15 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Kevin Foley from the left by-line.
87:20 Adlene Guedioura fouled by Benjani Mwaruwari, the ref awards a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann restarts play with the free kick.
87:02 Effort on goal by Chris Iwelumo from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.
85:21 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake gets a header at goal, comfortable save by Craig Gordon.
84:13 Substitution Kevin Foley replaces Matthew Jarvis.
84:13 Indirect free kick taken by Ronald Zubar.
84:13 Booking Jack Colback is booked.
84:04 Jack Colback challenges Ronald Zubar unfairly and gives away a free kick.
83:18 Header from close range by Christophe Berra clears the bar.
82:20 Free kick crossed by Matthew Jarvis.
82:20 Sent off The referee shows Michael Turner a red card for second bookable offence.
82:10 Free kick awarded for a foul by Michael Turner on Matthew Jarvis.
77:38 Substitution (Wolverhampton) makes a substitution, with Chris Iwelumo coming on for Kevin Doyle.
77:38 Assist on the goal came from Ronald Zubar.
77:38 GOAL - Adlene Guedioura:Wolverhampton 2 - 1 Sunderland A goal is scored by Adlene Guedioura from just outside the box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 2-1 Sunderland.
77:28 The referee blows for offside against Kevin Doyle. Alan Hutton takes the free kick.
76:44 Substitution (Sunderland) makes a substitution, with Jack Colback coming on for Steed Malbranque.
75:24 George Elokobi has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
74:42 Darren Bent is caught offside. Indirect free kick taken by Karl Henry.
72:51 Substitution Lorik Cana leaves the field to be replaced by Benjani Mwaruwari.
72:51 Foul by Fraizer Campbell on Adlene Guedioura, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jody Craddock.
70:44 Foul by Adlene Guedioura on Steed Malbranque, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Kieran Richardson.
69:17 Steed Malbranque challenges David Edwards unfairly and gives away a free kick. Karl Henry crosses the ball in from the free
kick, clearance by Kenwyne Jones.
65:52 The ball is sent over by Boudewijn Zenden, save made by Marcus Hahnemann.
63:33 Inswinging corner taken by Matthew Jarvis.
62:58 The assistant referee flags for offside against Darren Bent. Christophe Berra takes the free kick.
61:12 Corner taken right-footed by Matthew Jarvis, Jody Craddock produces a drilled right-footed shot from 6 yards. Blocked by Sylvan
60:34 Substitution David Edwards on for David Jones.
60:20 David Jones has an effort at goal. Blocked by Darren Bent.
59:28 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake fouled by Lorik Cana, the ref awards a free kick. David Jones takes the indirect free kick.
57:02 Christophe Berra challenges Boudewijn Zenden unfairly and gives away a free kick. Darren Bent has a direct shot on goal from
the free kick.
55:14 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle by Michael Turner. David Jones takes the indirect free kick.
53:27 The ball is sent over by Kieran Richardson, Header from deep inside the area by Kenwyne Jones goes over the bar.
52:09 Shot by Steed Malbranque. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
50:03 George Elokobi crosses the ball.
49:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Adlene Guedioura by Lorik Cana. Marcus Hahnemann takes the free kick.
46:05 A cross is delivered by Kieran Richardson, Shot from 12 yards by Kenwyne Jones. Marcus Hahnemann makes a save.
Correction - 46:03 Kieran Richardson produces a cross, Kenwyne Jones takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:01 Substitution Boudewijn Zenden is brought on as a substitute for Jordan Henderson.
45:00+2:17 The players leave the pitch at half time.
45:00+2:16 Fraizer Campbell takes a shot from just outside the penalty area clears the crossbar.
45:00+0:37 Darren Bent produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.
45:00+0:16 Adlene Guedioura is penalised for a handball. Craig Gordon restarts play with the free kick.
42:38 Kenwyne Jones fouled by Jody Craddock, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Kieran Richardson.
41:42 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by David Jones.
40:21 George Elokobi takes the free kick.
40:21 Booking Michael Turner is booked.
40:15 Free kick awarded for a foul by Michael Turner on Kevin Doyle.
37:46 Unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle by Steed Malbranque results in a free kick. Marcus Hahnemann takes the free kick.
36:41 Free kick awarded for a foul by Karl Henry on Steed Malbranque. Kieran Richardson fires a strike on goal direct from the free
kick, blocked by Karl Henry.
36:01 Long distance effort from Matthew Jarvis misses to the left of the goal.
34:39 Foul by Jordan Henderson on Ronald Zubar, free kick awarded. Indirect free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
33:35 Darren Bent is caught offside. Marcus Hahnemann takes the free kick.
Correction - 32:07 Foul by Karl Henry on Steed Malbranque, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
32:07 Karl Henry concedes a free kick for a foul on Steed Malbranque. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
30:14 Kevin Doyle takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.
26:27 Unfair challenge on Jordan Henderson by David Jones results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Lorik Cana.
25:25 Effort from 18 yards by Matthew Jarvis. Save by Craig Gordon.
23:08 Kieran Richardson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adlene Guedioura. The free kick is delivered left-footed
by David Jones from right channel, clearance made by Michael Turner.
21:46 Free kick crossed right-footed by Kieran Richardson from right channel, Karl Henry manages to make a clearance.
21:46 Booking Booking for Matthew Jarvis for unsporting behaviour.
21:39 Unfair challenge on Fraizer Campbell by Matthew Jarvis results in a free kick.
17:12 Effort from the edge of the area by Jordan Henderson goes wide of the right-hand post.
16:20 Darren Bent is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Marcus Hahnemann takes the indirect free kick.
15:28 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Sylvan Ebanks-Blake by Matthew Kilgallon. Karl Henry delivers the ball from the
free kick left-footed from right channel, Craig Gordon makes a comfortable save.
14:06 Kevin Doyle challenges Fraizer Campbell unfairly and gives away a free kick. Alan Hutton restarts play with the free kick.
Correction - 13:15 Alan Hutton crosses the ball, Effort on goal by Steed Malbranque from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of
13:15 The ball is sent over by Alan Hutton, Kieran Richardson produces a volleyed right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty
box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.
13:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Lorik Cana by David Jones. Lorik Cana restarts play with the free kick.
12:47 Jordan Henderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Karl Henry. Jody Craddock takes the free kick.
12:10 Unfair challenge on Michael Turner by Matthew Jarvis results in a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
11:28 Adlene Guedioura takes a shot from inside the box clearing the bar.
10:39 Michael Turner gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Kevin Doyle. Free kick taken by Karl Henry.
9:24 GOAL - Kevin Doyle:Wolverhampton 1 - 1 Sunderland Placed penalty scored by Kevin Doyle. Wolverhampton 1-1 Sunderland.
Correction - 8:54 Penalty awarded for a foul by Alan Hutton on Matthew Jarvis.
8:54 Alan Hutton challenges Matthew Jarvis unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
7:10 Assist on the goal came from Fraizer Campbell.
7:10 GOAL - Kenwyne Jones:Wolverhampton 0 - 1 Sunderland Kenwyne Jones scores a goal from just outside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 0-1 Sunderland.
6:50 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake takes a shot. Craig Gordon makes a comfortable save.
5:23 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Kieran Richardson from the right by-line to the near post, Adlene Guedioura makes a
4:19 Long range effort by David Jones goes over the target.
3:18 Steed Malbranque fouled by Ronald Zubar, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Kieran Richardson.
2:39 The ball is delivered by Matthew Jarvis, Craig Gordon makes a comfortable save.
1:16 Shot by Darren Bent from 18 yards. Save by Marcus Hahnemann.
0:23 Jordan Henderson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Karl Henry. Indirect free kick taken by Marcus Hahnemann.
0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.