Saturday 16 December 2017

Late Huth winner sends tame Wolves packing

Wolves 0 Stoke city 1

Phil Shaw

Late drama, in the form of a goal by Stoke's Robert Huth and a fluffed penalty for Wolves by Nenad Milijas, helped the Potters put their near neighbours out of the FA Cup for the first time in seven attempts spread over three centuries yesterday.

Huth, having capped an imperious display by heading Stoke in front with nine minutes remaining, then combined with Matthew Etherington to send Milijas tumbling in the last seconds of normal time. The Serbia midfielder's spot-kick had neither the power nor the placement to beat Thomas Sorensen, who plunged left to parry the ball, securing a fifth-round home tie against League One leaders Brighton.

Sorensen lost his place in the Premier League side to Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in October, but was keen to impress at Molineux in the hope of keeping his place in the Denmark line-up for England's visit to Copenhagen next month. Meanwhile, Mick McCarthy has completed what he insisted would be his final business during the transfer window, taking midfielder Jamie O'Hara on loan from Tottenham for the rest of the season.

"I want him to run fast, score goals and keep us up," the Wolves manager said.

Fewer than 12,000 spectators, a quarter of them from Stoke, were scattered around Molineux, an abysmal attendance considering barely 30 miles separate the two top-flight clubs. The stay-aways were vindicated by an encounter in which defences dominated. Steven Fletcher headed against Sorensen's left-hand post in the 36th minute and the Dane saved well from Sam Vokes in the closing minutes. It said much for the standard of entertainment, though, that an assistant referee's offside flag provoked the loudest song of the day, a topical chorus of "Bring the woman back".

A muddy, churned pitch was about the only similarity with FA Cup ties of the 1970s. That, of course, is scant impediment to Stoke, who are so effective in the air, as Huth's fifth goal of the season demonstrated.

(© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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