Stearman's case to keep place
Wolverhampton 1 Hull City 1
Monday 31 August 2009
Given that these sides have scored only six goals between them in four Premier League games apiece, it's not surprising that defenders were the talk of Molineux.
Michael Turner, a big-money target for Sunderland, was hugely impressive in what may well prove to be his final Hull appearance – one which would have been victorious had Richard Stearman not guided home a half-volley that underlined his claims to more regular duty with newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It was an accomplished outside-of-the-boot finish by a man whose only goal of 2008-09 came in the 90th minute on the final afternoon and who is in the side only because their Kevin Foley has a knee injury.
Mick McCarthy sees much potential in the Wolverhampton-born player, though, and is likely to switch him back to the centre of his defence.
"He had a terrific game," he said. "We've put him in at right-back and he really has grasped his chance. If he doesn't get a Cruyff turn in, he thinks the game doesn't count but he did them in the right areas."
Stearman, having equalised 42 seconds after half-time, later drove wide from 20 yards on a day Wolves were left to rue a heroic goal-line block by Turner from the incisive Kevin Doyle and the clear chances that fell late on to Andy Keogh and Sam Vokes. This was billed as a six-pointer, as much as you can have one in August, and the Premier League is unforgiving of such wastefulness.
In their first four League games last season, Wolves scored 13 goals. Over the same stretch now, they have two and it remains to be seen how much stronger they will be when the sidelined Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Michael Kightly and Chris Iwelumo return.
Hull were ordinary despite the dream start given them by Stephen Hunt's delightful cross and Geovanni's point-blank header, although well enough organised as to yield only half chances for long spells.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Hennessey; Stearman, Craddock, Mancienne, Elokobi; Halford, Henry, Milijas, Jarvis; Keogh (Vokes, 89), Doyle. Substitutes not used: Hahnemann (gk), Edwards, Surman, Jones, Berra, Zubar.
Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Zayatte, Mouyokolo, Turner, Dawson; Ghilas (Fagan, 73), Olofinjana, Kilbane, Hunt; Folan (Altidore, 63), Geovanni (Barmby, 82). Substitutes not used: Warner (gk), Halmosi, Boateng, Cooper.
Referee: S Attwell (Nuneaton).
Booked: Hull Dawson, Mouyokolo.
Man of the match: Turner.
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