Big spender McCarthy reaps early rewards

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Stoke City 1

More significant than Mick McCarthy's reference in his programme notes to his being among the Premier League's highest summer spenders is the assertion that he has the strongest Wolverhampton Wanderers squad of his four-year reign.

Buoyed by Steven Fletcher's goal-scoring start and Jelle Van Damme's steady debut, McCarthy has considerable grounds for optimism as he looks forward to blooding two other close-season captures, Steven Mouyokolo and Stephen Hunt, and to the imminent reintroduction of last season's leading scorer, Kevin Doyle.

McCarthy is one of four managers who had tried and failed to oversee an opening-day win for the club since 1999 but this deserved victory over a Stoke side raised from the same hard-working stock was a case of Wolves picking up where they had left off with their 15th-place finish in May.

Second season syndrome is something he is reluctant to acknowledge, although he insists his young team will find themselves in trouble if they forget the basics that have lifted them to a point approaching the top-flight stability Stoke have achieved. Not only has McCarthy been able to recruit heavily this past summer, he has had the additional luxury of doing so early enough to bed new players in thoroughly.

With exciting stadium redevelopment plans also in place, Wolves' outlook appears rosy. There are satisfaction and long-term hope at last, following all the years of baffling under-achievement.

"It is a good club and run very well," Fletcher said. "The gaffer has signed the quality that can keep us in the league again. I've had lots of service already, so hopefully I can score more than the 12 I got last season."

Stoke's challenge rose and fell in tandem with the fortunes of Kenwyne Jones. Their new £8m record signing rattled Marcus Hahnemann's bar in the third minute, then crumpled under Jody Craddock's challenge in the 10th and faces a lengthy lay-off with ankle ligament damage.

Match facts

Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-4-2: Hahnemann; Foley, Craddock, Berra, Ward; Jarvis, Henry, Jones, Van Damme (Elokobi, 71); Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher (Keogh, 49; Halford, 87). Substitutes not used: Hennessey (gk), Stearman, Milijas, Guedioua.

Stoke City 4-4-2: Sorensen; Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Higginbotham; Delap, Whitehead, Whelan (Tonge, 67), Etherington; Fuller, Jones (Sidibe, 14; Tuncay, 51) Substitutes not used: Begovic (gk), Collins, Pugh, Wilkinson.

Booked Huth, Whitehead.

Man of the match Jones.

Referee J Probert (Gloucestershire).

Attendance 27,850.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003