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Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Sunday, 12 December 2010

Wolverhampton   1 - 0   Birmingham

Stephen Hunt
Stephen Hunt (right) celebrates scoring the game's only goal

By Les Roopanarine

A clinical first-half strike from Stephen Hunt combined with a first clean sheet since mid-April gave Wolves local bragging rights over Birmingham.

Hunt capped a dominant Wolves display by stealing in at the near post to convert a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake centre.

Ben Foster earlier saved efforts from David Edwards, Hunt and Ebanks-Blake, but Birmingham were otherwise poor.

The visitors' best chance came when substitute Kevin Phillips headed wide in the final minutes.

It was a rare moment of promise for Birmingham, who turned in an uncharacteristically subdued performance on an afternoon when it seemed that a Wolves side severely depleted by injury were there for the taking.

In the event, nothing could have been further from the truth. From the first whistle, second-from-bottom Wolves played with a poise and assurance belying their lowly league position.

Win is all that matters - McCarthy

Edwards set the tone early on, embarking on a marauding run down the right which Birmingham defender Roger Johnson curtailed with a hefty challenge, earning a booking for his troubles.

With the Wolves treatment room more crowded than the dressing room, manager Mick McCarthy had been obliged to fill his bench with a quartet of academy players.

Yet, from the moment Johnson's name entered the referee's book, it was clear that Birmingham, precariously poised two points above the relegation zone, would have to fight tooth and claw if they were to pick up their first away win since March.

Until the final minutes, when Alex McLeish's side were belatedly roused from their torpor by the arrival of Phillips, and the stretching Cameron Jerome narrowly failed to connect with a cross from substitute Jean Beausejour with the goal at his mercy, it never looked likely to happen.

Pressing from the outset, Wolves called Foster into action twice in as many minutes. Edwards forced the first save, with a header from Stephen Ward's cross, before Hunt was denied at close range following another centre.

606: DEBATE
Wooly Bully London

In response, a Birmingham side missing top scorer Craig Gardner from the starting line-up could muster nothing more than a Sebastian Larsson free-kick which flew harmlessly into the stands.

It was an uncharacteristically tepid derby display from the visitors, and Wolves, no doubt sensing the possibility of a second win in three games, were soon causing Foster further problems.

With Liam Ridgewell absent, Birmingham were forced to reorganise their defence and Scott Dann was repeatedly pulled out towards the left, a position in which he looked uncomfortable.

The danger signs were clear for the visitors when Dann's inability to cut out Wolves' right-wing supply line allowed Ebanks-Blake to smash a near-post shot towards Foster, who once again repelled the danger.

But when Ebanks-Blake stoked the dying embers of the opening period by wriggling past Dann to find Hunt at the near post, even Foster was powerless to deny McCarthy's men a deserved lead, the Republic of Ireland midfielder gleefully turning home his second goal of the season.

Outclassed and outfought in the first period, the expectation was that Birmingham would improve in the second. They did, but not until the final stages of the match, by which time Wolves should have been out of sight.

Birmingham deserved to lose - McLeish

With the half only two minutes old, Ward found Edwards in the six-yard box, but with the goal at his mercy the Wales midfielder contrived to head wide.

Nenand Milijas showed greater aerial accuracy from a Hunt corner just after the hour, only for Foster to come to Birmingham's rescue once again.

The arrival of Phillips, so often Wolves' tormentor down the years, briefly reinvigorated the visitors, but when he failed to find the target with a header from six yards following a delightful chip from Gardner, the writing was on the wall for Birmingham.

A second consecutive derby date awaits for Wolves, who face West Brom next weekend, but it will hold few fears if they can reproduce this level of performance.


Wolves manager Mick McCarthy:
"There's no doubt we deserved the victory. I would say their keeper was their star player, and I don't think Wayne Hennessey had too many saves to make.

"We deserved the victory, it was a great clean sheet, and it helps everybody to feel better about themselves.

"I've spoken about the spirit in the camp, how it's good and optimistic, and I think it showed.

"With all the things that have gone wrong, it was set up for us to get beat, but the players weren't going to let it happen. They've been terrific."

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish:
"We didn't turn up at all for the first 60 minutes. We were outfought and then had a go. We need to start games the way we finish them.

"There were some boosts for us with Kevin Doyle and Matt Jarvis not playing for them, but they had their backs to the wall and they bullied us.

"Wolves had a cause, and maybe we were complacent because they had some big players missing.

"I felt there was a goal in it for us, and there's no finer man to bring on than Kevin Phillips, but it wasn't to be and Wolves deserved the victory."

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Wolves 1-0 Birmingham FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Hunt 45

    Wolverhampton

    Substitutes

    Birmingham

    Substitutes

    Ref: AtkinsonAtt: 25,150
    WOLVES
    BIRMINGHAM

    Possession

    • Wolves 52%
    • Birmingham 48%

    Attempts on target

    • Wolves 9
    • Birmingham 0

    Attempts off target

    • Wolves 5
    • Birmingham 3

    Corners

    • Wolves 7
    • Birmingham 2

    Fouls

    • Wolves 10
    • Birmingham 15
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+5:14 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
    • 90:00+4:11 Cameron Jerome challenges Stephen Ward unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.
    • 90:00+3:09 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake fouled by Barry Ferguson, the ref awards a free kick. Nenad Milijas restarts play with the free kick.
    • 90:00+2:14 Booking Sebastian Larsson receives a caution.
    • 90:00+1:54 Effort from deep inside the area by Sebastian Larsson misses to the right of the goal.
    • 90:00+1:27 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Sebastian Larsson, clearance by Richard Stearman.
    • 89:52 The assistant referee flags for offside against Steven Fletcher. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
    • 88:27 Kevin Phillips has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.
    • 85:25 Effort from outside the penalty box by Nenad Milijas goes wide left of the goal.
    • 84:04 Steven Fletcher fouled by Stephen Carr, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Stephen Hunt, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.
    • 83:23 Substitution Steven Fletcher joins the action as a substitute, replacing David Edwards.
    • 77:20 Kevin Foley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Craig Gardner. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
    • 77:20 Booking Booking for Kevin Foley.
    • 76:31 Unfair challenge on Stephen Hunt by Sebastian Larsson results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by George Elokobi.
    • 74:14 David Murphy handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Free kick crossed by Stephen Hunt, save made by Ben Foster.
    • 72:30 Substitution Kevin Phillips on for Lee Bowyer.
    • 71:44 Stephen Ward produces a cross, save by Ben Foster.
    • 71:03 Craig Gardner challenges Nenad Milijas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.
    • 67:23 Header from close in by Christophe Berra misses to the left of the goal.
    • 66:30 Corner taken by Stephen Hunt played to the near post, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
    • 65:03 Inswinging corner taken by Stephen Hunt from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by David Murphy.
    • 64:47 Kevin Foley takes a shot. Barry Ferguson gets a block in.
    • 63:42 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Stephen Hunt, Nenad Milijas takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save. Stephen Hunt takes a outswinging corner.
    • 60:01 The assistant referee signals for offside against Lee Bowyer. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.
    • 60:01 Substitution Jean Beausejour replaces Nikola Zigic.
    • 60:01 Substitution Craig Gardner is brought on as a substitute for Keith Fahey.
    • 57:42 Outswinging corner taken by Stephen Hunt, Christophe Berra has a header from deep inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
    • 56:44 Outswinging corner taken by Stephen Hunt from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Nikola Zigic.
    • 55:05 The referee blows for offside against Nikola Zigic. Indirect free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.
    • 53:54 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake challenges Roger Johnson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ben Foster restarts play with the free kick.
    • 52:40 Ronald Zubar takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.
    • 50:16 Scott Dann challenges Stephen Ward unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nenad Milijas produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save by Ben Foster.
    • 49:04 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nikola Zigic on Christophe Berra. Free kick taken by Richard Stearman.
    • 49:04 Booking Booking for Nikola Zigic for unsporting behaviour.
    • 47:16 Free kick awarded for a foul by Christophe Berra on Nikola Zigic. Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel.
    • 46:52 The ball is swung over by Stephen Ward, David Edwards has a headed effort at goal from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 46:35 Free kick awarded for a foul by Nikola Zigic on Ronald Zubar. Direct free kick taken by Ronald Zubar.
    • 46:01 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.
    • 45:22 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Cameron Jerome by Christophe Berra. Free kick taken by Ben Foster.
    • 45:01 The second half has started.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:44 The half-time whistle blows.
    • 44:52 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake provided the assist for the goal.
    • 44:52 GOAL - Stephen HuntWolverhampton 1 - 0 Birmingham Stephen Hunt scores a goal from inside the six-yard box to the top right corner of the goal. Wolverhampton 1-0 Birmingham.
    • 44:16 Foul by Cameron Jerome on Richard Stearman, free kick awarded. Wayne Hennessey takes the direct free kick.
    • 43:42 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake concedes a free kick for a foul on Roger Johnson. Ben Foster takes the free kick.
    • 41:37 The offside flag is raised against Stephen Ward. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
    • 40:09 Nikola Zigic gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Richard Stearman. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Hennessey.
    • 39:20 Richard Stearman challenges Cameron Jerome unfairly and gives away a free kick. Barry Ferguson restarts play with the free kick.
    • 39:20 Booking Booking for Richard Stearman.
    • Correction - 36:55 Sebastian Larsson challenges Stephen Hunt unfairly and gives away a free kick. Nenad Milijas delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, save by Ben Foster.
    • 36:55 Free kick awarded for a foul by Sebastian Larsson on Stephen Hunt. Free kick crossed by Nenad Milijas, save by Ben Foster.
    • 36:37 A cross is delivered by Ronald Zubar.
    • 36:13 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake takes a shot. Save by Ben Foster.
    • 32:58 Shot by Stephen Ward from just outside the area goes over the net.
    • 30:08 Roger Johnson fouled by Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, the ref awards a free kick. Ben Foster takes the direct free kick.
    • 28:24 The assistant referee signals for offside against Stephen Ward. Indirect free kick taken by Scott Dann.
    • 27:26 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Richard Stearman by Cameron Jerome. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.
    • 27:26 Booking Cameron Jerome is cautioned.
    • 27:04 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
    • 25:25 Corner taken by Stephen Hunt from the right by-line played to the near post.
    • 22:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Richard Stearman on Nikola Zigic. Sebastian Larsson has an effort direct from the free kick.
    • 21:59 Unfair challenge on Barry Ferguson by Stephen Hunt results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Sebastian Larsson.
    • 20:18 Foul by Christophe Berra on Stephen Carr, free kick awarded. Stephen Carr restarts play with the free kick.
    • 18:30 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Hunt by Sebastian Larsson. George Elokobi crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance made by Roger Johnson.
    • 16:17 Foul by Stephen Carr on Stephen Hunt, free kick awarded. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.
    • 10:41 The referee blows for offside. Wayne Hennessey restarts play with the free kick.
    • 10:28 Stephen Hunt takes a shot. Ben Foster makes a save.
    • 9:12 Stephen Ward delivers the ball, David Edwards takes a shot. Save made by Ben Foster.
    • 5:55 The assistant referee signals for offside against Nikola Zigic. Ronald Zubar takes the free kick.
    • 2:36 Corner from right by-line taken by Sebastian Larsson.
    • 1:51 Ronald Zubar delivers the ball, Roger Johnson manages to make a clearance.
    • 1:05 Unfair challenge on David Edwards by Roger Johnson results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Stephen Hunt from right wing, clearance by Nikola Zigic.
    • 1:05 Booking The referee shows Roger Johnson a yellow card.
    • 0:00 The game gets underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Barclays Premier League results

    12 Dec 2010 23:59 UK


    Barclays Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 12 Dec 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Arsenal 16 16 32
    2 Man City 17 11 32
    3 Man Utd 15 19 31
    4 Chelsea 17 19 31
    5 Tottenham 17 3 27
    6 Bolton 17 6 26
    7 Sunderland 17 2 24
    8 Newcastle 17 1 22
    9 Liverpool 17 -1 22
    10 Blackpool 16 -5 22
    11 West Brom 17 -5 22
    12 Stoke 17 -1 21
    13 Blackburn 17 -5 21
    14 Aston Villa 17 -9 20
    15 Everton 17 -2 18
    16 Birmingham 17 -3 18
    17 Fulham 17 -4 16
    18 Wigan 17 -15 16
    19 Wolves 17 -12 15
    20 West Ham 17 -15 12

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