Football: Bull breaks new ground for Wolves

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The Independent Online
Wolverhampton Wanderers. .3

Leicester City. . . . . . 0

WITH sickening inevitability for Leicester, Steve Bull last night became the first player in Wolves' history to reach 200 League and Cup goals. The only surprise was that the ex-England striker failed to increase his tally after the dismissal of the visiting captain, Steve Walsh, following a clash between them early in an entertaining First Division match.

Wolves, for whom Bull's revitalised partner, Andy Mutch, also scored while Leicester struggled to regroup, have now won their two opening fixtures for the first time in 13 years. The visitors' sole consolation was that their 10 men created chances to the bitter end. They even contrived to miss a penalty, and in the dying seconds had to watch Paul Birch show how it was done.

The bad blood between Walsh and Bull goes back to a match three years ago, when they were sent off together. They were quickly at each other's throats again. In the tenth minute, the acting Wolves captain was cautioned after the referee adjudged him guilty of dangerous play as he and Walsh lunged for the ball.

Within nine minutes Bull had the perfect riposte, fastening on to Andy Thompson's long pass and shrugging off two defenders before rolling the ball under Carl Muggleton. It had taken the former Tipton Harrier - his first club and an apt description - a mere 294 games to reach his landmark.

It was like a red rag to Walsh, and four minutes later he was shown a card of the same colour after appearing to strike Bull, off the ball, but in full view of Mr Wilkes. The walk of shame at Molineux is a long one, too. With the ground under reconstruction, the dressing-rooms seem to be half-way to Stafford.

That should have been the cue for Bull to run amok. Instead, the tall playmaker, Paul Cook, took over, spraying passes around and striking a post with a long-range drive. Mutch revelled in his service, although Birch was the provider when he doubled the lead with a low shot after 37 minutes.

Leicester, for whom Phil Gee would have christened Wolves' splendid new Cullis Stand with a goal after 80 seconds had he not shot feebly wide, retaliated strongly after the interval. Ian Ormondroyd spurned a free header and Steve Thompson hit an upright, before Shane Westley fouled Bobby Davison to concede a penalty in the 62nd minute.

Mike Stowell had saved a brentford spot-kick on saturday. Now he plunged to his left to deny Gary mills, whose consternation was complete when he handled to allow Birch to round off an emphatic if slightly flattering victory.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Stowell; Ashley, A Thompson, Downing, Westley, Blades, Birch, Cook, Bull, Mutch, Dennison. Substitutes not used: Simkin, Roberts.

Leicester City: Muggleton; Mills, Whitlow, Smith, Walsh, Hill, Oldfield, S Thompson, Davison, Ormondroyd, Gee. Substitutes not used: Grayson, Fitzpatrick.

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucester).

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