Supersub Sylvan leaves it late to rescue Wanderers

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1 Blackburn Rovers 1
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The Independent Football

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, whose goal against Queens Park Rangers during the corresponding weekend last season took Wolverhampton Wanderers into the Premier League, yesterday delivered the one which makes them virtually certain to stay in the top flight.

Moments after going on in the 79th minute, the striker headed in off Paul Robinson's post from Stephen Ward's left-wing cross to secure his side's fourth draw in five games – this one with the rarity of a goal at home.

Nothing other than three Burnley victories from three games, starting against Liverpool today, can now relegate Wolves, who were second best to Blackburn Rovers but who also have the safety net of games against Portsmouth and Sunderland.

The point sparked a post-match pitch invasion by several thousand fans and Wolves' manager Mick McCarthy said: "The reaction was understandable but we're not quite there yet. Let's hope I can take this gruff mask off on Monday and have something to celebrate."

Modest travellers though Sam Allardyce's team are, they were utterly comfortable in a dreary first half and mustered considerably more attacking threat, Michel Salgado being denied a penalty when Ward clipped his heels and Nikola Kalinic heading Martin Olsson's cross against the post.

Marcus Hahnemann was motionless on that occasion and less than blameless when beaten for the opener in the 28th minute. The keeper misjudged Morten Gamst Pedersen's in-swinging corner and centre-half Ryan Nelsen applied the finishing touch with his right thigh.

McCarthy saw enough long before half-time to send Chris Iwelumo on for David Edwards and witnessed some improvement. Robinson scrambled wide a free-kick from the impressive David Jones and Jody Craddock volleyed off target for the second time before Molineux rocked to the sight of Wolves' second home League goal since Christmas and their first anywhere in seven hours and 48 minutes of playing time. It was also only the second that Ebanks-Blake, twice a Championship Golden Boot winner, had managed in the Premier League.

Even then, Blackburn could have won. Pedersen tested Hahnemann with his right foot after twice doing so with his left and the former Wolves youngster Keith Andrews shot against the post following a one-two with fellow substitute Franco Di Santo.

"We deserved to win but didn't get the second goal which would have finished them," Allardyce said.

Attendance: 28,967

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: David Jones

Match rating: 6/10