Stoke City 1 Wolves 1: Hill fires lacklustre Stoke

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The Independent Online

Hardly an advert for the Premiership claims of either side, this draw at the Britannia Stadium did little for their play-off aspirations. A second half goal from Neill Collins looked as if it would prove enough for Wolverhampton Wanderers to win, but Stoke's Clint Hill headed an equaliser late on.

In the first half both teams struggled in the blustery conditions. Wolves were marginally the more entertaining, but it was Stoke who came closest to opening the scoring after 19 minutes. Ricardo Fuller, the Jamaican striker, ran through on goal but his low shot deflected off Collins, the covering defender, and on to the post. In 30th minute, Wolves hit the woodwork when the midfielder Michael Kightly stuck a firm shot from distance.

Stoke, who had won three of their previous four games, nearly took the lead three minutes after the break but Mamady Sidibe, who had been played through by Fuller from within the penalty area, hesitated on the ball. The striker was dispossessed by the alert Jamie Clapham.

But Wolves took the lead after 62 minutes when Collins rose unopposed to head home a corner from Michael McIndoe.

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, would have wanted an immediate and effective response from his players, but it did not come. Instead, Wolves pushed on and in the 67th minute nearly extended their lead. Collins stole in at the back post but his header was tipped over the crossbar by the Stoke goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.

But Wolves wasted what good work they did produce when they allowed Stoke to equalise five minutes from time, Hill heading home from close range after a free-kick from Liam Lawrence caused confusion in the visitors' defence.

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