Wolverhampton W 1 Derby County 1

Boo boys target Wolves as Derby make point
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The Independent Football

Kenny Miller gave Wolves the ideal start, the Scot scoring his 10th goal for club and country this season. But the second goal would not come, and Mounir El Hamdaoui, on loan from Spurs, earned Derby their eighth stalemate in 14 outings to leave Wolves without a win in front of their restive followers since 30 August.

After taking a solitary point from games at Molineux against Leicester, Millwall and Burnley, Wolves urgently needed a home victory. For Derby, the priority had been to build on Saturday's victory over Stoke, their first in a nine-match sequence littered with draws.

Both managers went to the extremes of the age spectrum in their selections. Glenn Hoddle gave a first start to Mark Davies, 17, a locally born midfielder whom Wolves' academy director, Chris Evans, rates as better than Robbie Keane at the same age. Darren Anderton, 33, returned to help the teenager through a feisty debut, which included a 17th-minute caution for a foul on Hoddle's failed summer target, Inigo Idiakez.

Derby's Phil Brown also blooded a 17-year-old, Lewin Nyatanga, whose hopes of marking the occasion by helping Kevin Poole, 42, keep a clean sheet were dashed after just six minutes. Lee Naylor's measured through-pass saw Miller burn off Nyatanga before going on to find a gap between Poole and his right-hand post with the aplomb that has attracted interest from Serie A.

Wolves could have been safe by half-time. Carl Cort, having done the hard work by chesting down Anderton's cross and rounding Nyatanga, blazed the ball high into the North Bank with only Poole to beat. Miller sent a ferocious volley inches wide and then gave the veteran keeper a chance to show his agility with an angled left-footed shot.

Derby, doubtless relieved to be only one goal down in the face of Wolves' pressure, gained in confidence as half-time approached. Paul Peschisolido, whose every touch was jeered by the home fans, set up El Hamdaoui for a shot that Michael Oakes palmed away for a corner.

There was no such respite for Wolves when the same player equalised 42 seconds after the interval. Seth Johnson's long-range drive thudded into a retreating defence and fell obligingly for El Hamdaoui, who advanced before placing his shot almost exactly where Miller had earlier put his own. Poole, for so long a patient substitute at countless clubs, revelled in his return to the line of fire. His handling and reflexes were sharp, although on the hour, Wolves claimed that Cort's header from Mark Kennedy's cross had crept over the goal line as he strove to keep it out.

With the odd flamboyant touch, and a wicked set-piece delivery, Idiakez highlighted why Hoddle perhaps saw something of himself in the Spaniard. Collectively, too, Derby were more assured in the second half, with Nyatanga settling well after his early Bambi-on-ice impression.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-3-3): Oakes; Edwards, Gyepes, Lescott, Naylor; Anderton (Clarke, 84), Davies, Kennedy; Seol (Ganea, 62), Cort, Miller. Substitutes not used: Postma (gk), Craddock, Cameron.

Derby (4-4-2): Poole; Kenna, Nyatanga, M Johnson, Whittingham; Bisgaard, Idiakez, S Johnson, Smith; Peschisolido (Jackson, 62), El Hamdaoui ( John, 62). Replacements not used: Camp (gk), Doyle, Tudgay.

Referee: M Thorpe (Suffolk).

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