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Stoke City 0 Wolves 2 - Report and pictures

Sport | Published:

[gallery] Wolves produced a stunning cup upset to beat Stoke City 2-0 at the bet365 Stadium.

Helder Costa put them into a first half lead they fully merited.

The Premier League Potters - who showed only four changes from their last league game - came on strong in the second half but Carl Ikeme made a number of fine saves to protect Wolves' lead.

And then with 11 minutes to go Matt Doherty buried a 20-yard free kick to send 4,600 fans into delirium - and Wolves into the fourth round.

Analysis

And they say people don't care about the FA Cup anymore.

Try telling that to 4,600 Wolves supporters who enjoyed one of their best away days for many a year.

Or try telling it to Paul Lambert, or to the 14 Wolves heroes who produced a performance and result to remember for a very long time.

Wolves took on a Premier League team - and beat them comfortably. They took on Shaqiri, Bojan, Crouch, Arnautovic and the rest. And a 2-0 win didn't flatter them.

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To a man Wolves were superb. They could have scored twice in the first eight minutes. They created several good chances, they took their goals well and defended manfully at the back, none more so than Carl Ikeme who made four exceptional saves in a 12-minute spell in the second half, Stoke's best period of the match by far.

Wolves made more changes than Stoke (six to the Potters' four) and even fielded a 16-year-old for 30 minutes with Morgan Gibbs-White the latest young cab off the Compton Park rank.

He was as composed as the imperious 33-year-old Mike Williamson, who came in after 13 months out injured and was the best player on the pitch.

Alongside him Kortney Hause, Dominic Iorfa and Matt Doherty barely put a foot wrong. A midfield two of George Saville and Lee Evans kept things solid. And a front four looked threatening all game.

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And their fans lapped up every second. There were worries that Lambert would field a weakened team and Wolves would be thrashed. Well, they fielded a 'weakened team' and Wolves won with something to spare.

Under Lambert's tutelage, and yes it's early days, you feel there might be a few more days like this in the near future.

Lambert made six changes from the team that drew 0-0 at Sheffield Wednesday on Monday.

In came Williamson for his long awaited comeback, while the returning Lee Evans made his first appearance since August.

Stoke selected a side, as dubbed by one hack in the press box, akin to the Harlem Globetrotters, with Xherdan Shaqiri, Bojan, Ibrahim Afellay and record signing Giannelli Imbula all brought in to an XI that also featured Marko Arnautovoc and Peter Crouch.

However any fears that Wolves would be blown away by the hugely talented hosts were dispelled within minutes - and then some.

Lambert's team looked threatening on the counter attack from the word go and created two good chances inside the first eight minutes, both sent just wide by Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.

They were playing with no fear, and with no little confidence.

Evans and George Saville were keeping things tidy and simple in midfield and the front four of Helder Costa, Bright Enobakhare, Joe Mason and Bodvarrson were menacing, particularly Costa, whose goal gave Wolves a thoroughly deserved lead just before the half hour.

It was his eighth of the season. Coupled with six assists, he has undoubtedly been Wolves star turn. Almost priceless, you might say, and sadly Wolves will almost certainly be unable to afford him next summer.

Stoke improved as the first half wore on but a poor Crouch volley from close range was all they could muster, with captain Carl Ikeme having not a save to make.

Brilliantly backed by 4,600 boisterous away fans who sold out the whole stand behind Ikeme's goal, it was the perfect first half performance, with the imperious Williamson not putting a foot wrong and constantly encouraging and organising the back four.

Mark Hughes inevitably made half time changes. Joe Allen and Charlie Adam came on for Bojan and Imbula and Stoke came racing out of the traps, forcing a free kick on the edge of the box straight away which hit the wall.

And that set the tone for the rest of the half.

Wolves defended deeper and their tackles became more and more last-ditch, while Ikeme was called on far more regularly.

The big keeper made four stunning saves including a couple right out of the 'worldie' bracket. Crouch (twice), Afellay and Allen were all denied in the space of 12 minutes in which Stoke threw the kitchen sink at Wolves.

Ikeme was oustanding. So too were Hause and Doherty who each made a couple of tenacious blocks.

Everyone was throwing their body at the ball. And Wolves' admirable defending during that onslaught proved to be the game's key period - because with 11 minutes to go they doubled their lead and sealed a wonderful victory.

No one expected Irishman Doherty to be the one to strike a 20-yard free kick after Bodvarsson was fouled, but he put Shaqiri, Bojan and the rest to shame with a thunderous hit which beat Grant and sent the 4,600 behind that goal into absolute ecstasy.

They sang their hearts out for the final 11 minutes, in which Wolves continued to look the more likely goalscorers on the counter.

But they had to settle for 2-0! A magnificent performance and result. Lambert could be onto something very good here.

Key moments

4 - Helder Costa races down the right and plays inside for Jon Dadi Bodvarsson whose 15-yard shot whistles past the far post.

8 - Bodvarsson beats his man to the ball on halfway and hares forward before cutting inside and drilling, again, just wide of the far post. It's a great start from Wolves.

13 - Lee Evans curls a 20-yard free kick goalwards and Lee Grant makes a solid save low down to his left.

29 - GOAL - Matt Doherty floats the ball to the right of the box - Costa controls it, cuts inside and beats Grant at his near post with a vicious low shot to give Wolves a deserved lead.

42 - Big chance for Stoke. Marko Arnautovic's superb cross is met by Peter Crouch on the volley but he blazes over from just six yards. A big let off.

61 - An absolutely wonderful save from Carl Ikeme who blocks Arnautovic's rocket shot from 15 yards.

67 - Ibrahim Afellay lets fly from range and Ikeme pushes wide with another great block.

70 - The ball sits up for Crouch and Ikeme again makes a wonderful save to palm wide.

73 - And now Joe Allen tries his luck from range - it's goalbound until Ikeme tips over the bar. Four brilliant saves in 12 minutes.

79 - GOAL - Bodvarsson is hauled down on the edge of the box. Up steps Doherty to send a brilliant free kick past Grant from 20 yards.

Teams

Stoke City (4-2-3-1): Grant; Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Afellay, Imbula (Allen, 45); Shaqiri (Ngoy, 72), Bojan (Adam, 45), Arnautovic; Crouch. Subs: Given, Bardsley, Muniesa, Allen, Adam, Whelan, Ngoy.

Wolves: Ikeme (c), Iorfa (Dicko, 78), Williamson, Hause, Doherty; Evans, Saville; Costa, Enobakhare (Edwards, 71), Mason (Gibbs-White, 61), Bodvarsson. Subs: Burgoyne, Batth, Coady, Price.

Goals: Costa (29), Doherty (79)

Attendance: 21,479 (4,632 Wolves fans)

Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)

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