It is a measure of the ambitions and expectations of Wolves and Stoke City, both relative newcomers to the top division, that between them they have now gone seven league games unbeaten but feel dissatisfied.
Had Stoke won this game, which they should have given their two-goal advantage at half-time, they would now be just a point short of a Champions League place. Wolves are unbeaten in their last three league games – which have included draws against Everton and Aston Villa – and manager Mick McCarthy's belief in his squad is such that, having been reminded they next face Arsenal and then a trip to Chelsea, he muttered: "I fancy us."
McCarthy's players have also caught the bug. Jody Craddock who, at 34, is enjoying a renaissance at Molineux after almost being released two years ago to, of all clubs, Stoke, rescued a point by scoring twice for the first time in his 16-year career. He said: "We are disappointed we have not got a win from the three games but we are not being overawed and have to keep grinding out the results."
The Stoke manager, Tony Pulis, wanted to sign Craddock permanently after he played four games on loan in 2007 but the defender was recalled by McCarthy, regained his place and captained the club to the Championship title last season. Pulis said: "He was a smashing lad, he mixed with the other players well. Everything was hunky dory and I thought he'd do well here because he is a good pro. I enjoyed having him here but unfortunately Mick pulled him back – he's a bad lad like that."
Stoke's Abdoulaye Faye, who missed a late chance to add to George Elokobi's own goal and Matthew Etherington's volley, said: "I am very disappointed. In our mind we thought we would win this game."
Stoke City (4-4-2):Sorensen; Wilkinson, Shawcross, Faye, Collins; Delap (Lawrence, 80) Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington; Beattie (Sidibe, 71), Fuller (Tuncay, 75). Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk), Higginbotham, Cort, Pugh.
Wolverhampton Wanderers(4-4-2): Hennessey; Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Elokobi (Stearman 58); Edwards, Henry, Castillo (Milijas, h-t), Kightly; Iwelumo (Maierhofer 73), Doyle. Substitues not used: Hahnemann (gk), Ebanks-Blake, Halford, Jarvis.
Referee: C Foy (Merseyside)
Booked: Wolves: Elokobi, Kightly, Edwards.
Man of the match: Etherington.
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