Albion 1 Wolves 1

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Carlos Vela's injury-time equaliser ensured honours were shared in the first Premier League Black Country derby at the Hawthorns.

Carlos Vela's injury-time equaliser ensured honours were shared in the first Premier League Black Country derby at the Hawthorns.

The on-loan Arsenal striker struck in the second minute of time added on to cancel out Jamie O'Hara's 40th minute opener for Wolves.

And it was no more than Albion deserved after dominating for long periods and forcing virtually all the chances.

Wolves winger Matt Jarvis and Albion striker Marc-Antoine Fortune both missed golden chances at either end of the second-half.

The draw leaves both sides where they were, with Wolves bottom of the table on goal difference behind West Ham while the Baggies are fourth bottom.

Both teams made one change to their line-ups.

In his first game in charge, Albion boss Roy Hodgson brought in Gabriel Tamas for Youssouf Mulumbu, who has a hamstring injury, in a switch which saw Paul Scharner move out of the back four and into midfield.

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy recalled Kevin Foley for his first start since Chelsea on January 5 at the expense of Adam Hammill, who dropped to the bench.


The visitors settled the quickest but it was Albion who created the first opening in the fourth minute.

Nicky Shorey's deep cross had Wayne Hennessey coming a long way out but the in-form goalkeeper couldn't make the catch and Peter Odemwingie hooked woefully wide of the unguarded net.

Another long ball by the Baggies, this time a chip forward from Tamas, had Odemwingie in hot pursuit, but Hennessey was alert to the danger and booted clear.

Wolves' first-half chance came in the 13th minute when O'Hara floated a header wide after Matt Jarvis outpaced Gonzalo Jara and crossed from the left.


But despite the sky-high tensions of the derby, there was a fair bit of football being played, most of it by the visitors in the early stages.

The first flashpoint came in the 18th minute when former Wolves trialist Jerome Thomas caught Ronald Zubar late with a sliding challenge, leaving the right-back grounded for a few moments and clutching his right shin.

Neither team had established any control on the game but Albion forced the first save in the 21st minute from the game's first corner.

Jonas Olsson rose above Christophe Berra at the far post forcing Hennessey to dive to his left to save in a crowded box from Chris Brunt's flag-kick.

There was also a half chance from the Baggies' second corner, also swung in by Brunt, but Odemwingie headed woefully wide.

A follow-through by Jonas Olsson into the side of Kevin Doyle went unpunished to underline there was no love lost between the two arch rivals.

But Albion were beginning to get a foothold on the game via several corners as they started to exert pressure on their old rivals.

Berra's vital diving header away from Paul Scharner from Nicky Shorey's cross only just cleared the far post.

Albion continued to look the more threatening side and Odemwingie set himself up for a shot, only to fire well wide from 25 yards after cutting inside from the left.

But for all their pressure, it was Wolves who took the lead out of the blue five minutes before the break.

O'Hara was the goalscorer, showing superb technique to curl home a first-time shot that found the top corner of the net from 25 yards, Nenad Milijas rolling a free-kick short to him after Tamas was penalised for a foul from behind on Doyle.

Wolves, who conceded eight first-half corners and failed to force one of their own, were more than happy to go into the break ahead as the half-time whistle was greeted by boos from the Albion faithful.

McCarthy's side should have had more to celebrate six minutes after the restart. Olsson missed a routine header from a ball over the top to leave Jarvis in the clear.

But with only goalkeeper Boaz Myhill to beat, the winger volleyed several feet wide of the far post from 12 yards.

Albion hit back and Hennessey got a hand to deflect Marc-Antoine Fortune's shot into the side-netting on 55 minutes, before George Elokobi's superb challenge denied Odemwingie with Hennessey committed having palmed away Shorey's cross a minute later.

Wolves were living extremely dangerously and Paul Scharner was next to try his luck, rifling just over after Shorey teed him up.

But no one had a better chance to score for Albion than Fortune, who allowed the ball to run across his body rather than stick a foot out, after Odemwingie's header left him bearing down on goal six yards out.

Wolves forced a rare attack of their own when a neat exchange between substitute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Doyle saw the latter burst clear, but Gabriel Tamas slid in to divert the ball inches wide for the visitors' first corner in the 83rd minute.

Albion got the goal they had been threatening for so long in the second minute of time added on when Vela tapped home, after Hennessey failed to hold substitute James Morrison's shot from the edge of the box following Odemwingie's pass from the right.

It was no more than the Baggies deserved but a sickener for Wolves, whose fans must have believed their first win at the Hawthorns since 1996 was within their grasp.

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