Wolves take deserved Birmingham derby win

Wolves 1 Birmingham 0

Wolves deservedly secured a derby triumph over Birmingham which could have been all the more comfortable if not for the heroics of Ben Foster.

Stephen Hunt's near-post finish on the stroke of half-time was the only effort to beat the England international who put in another sublime performance to keep the hosts at bay at Molineux.

Wanderers triumphed with their first clean sheet since April, although that was much to do with Birmingham's inability to create anything of note.

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy stoked the flames ahead of the derby by stressing the encounter was about more than just three points, and he will be a relieved man to see his side move within a point of safety with what was his first success over the blue half of Birmingham in seven league attempts.

McCarthy was admittedly dealing with the most severe injury crisis he has had to contend with in almost two decades of management.

With enough players sidelined to make an entire starting XI, he was forced to make four changes from the side who went down 3-0 at Blackburn last weekend - Kevin Doyle (dead leg), Matt Jarvis, Michael Mancienne (both knee) and Steven Mouyokolo (back) making way for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Hunt, David Edwards and Richard Stearman.

Birmingham counterpart Alex McLeish also made three changes, handing starts to Serbia striker Nikola Zigic, Sebastian Larsson and David Murphy.

The opening stages were played at a typical bustling derby tempo, setting the trend for the afternoon.

Foster's first save of the encounter came with 10 minutes on the clock, diving to his right to pluck Edwards' goalbound header out of the air.

The former Manchester United stopper was at it again less than 60 seconds later, denying Hunt with a great point-blank block after the ball broke six yards out.

Blues were losing possession far too easily in the final third, meaning they were struggling to create a worthwhile chance.

Foster was made to work again just before the half-hour mark, getting down low to save Ebanks-Blake's shot on the turn from the edge of the area.

Wolves, despite their injury crisis, were definitely looking the most likely to break the deadlock.

Stephen Ward lobbed a speculative effort over the crossbar before Ebanks-Blake was again left cursing the form of Foster as he parried his drilled effort at the near post.

Ward did find the net just before the interval but he was rightfully flagged offside.

Yet there was nothing wrong with Hunt's 45th-minute breakthrough as he got in between Roger Johnson and Stephen Carr to connect with Ebanks-Blake's low cross, leaving Foster with no chance.

The lively Edwards should have doubled Wolves' advantage within minutes of the restart, somehow planting his unmarked header inches wide from Ward's right-wing cross.

The momentum from the first half had failed to shift and Foster was again called into action, getting his body behind Nenad Milijas' free-kick before collecting Ronald Zubar's tame shot.

Christophe Berra headed over from Hunt's corner as McCarthy's side looked for a killer second.

Birmingham were in desperate need of some fresh impetus and McLeish turned to Craig Gardner and Jean Beausejour from the bench.

But it was Foster who continued to be the visitors' key performer as he produced his umpteenth save of the match to tip Milijas' header over the bar.

Berra collided with a post as he tried to head home, but Wolves were unable to build on their one-goal advantage with 20 minutes remaining.

Ward's dangerous cross was well held by Foster before McLeish threw his last roll of the dice, bringing on former West Brom man Kevin Phillips to boos from the Molineux faithful.

Despite the home side's dominance they nearly threw the points away as the game entered the final 15 minutes but Cameron Jerome was unable to connect with Beausejour's left-wing cross when, if he had, he surely would have scored.

Phillips, who has a wonderful record in derbies, had an even better chance in the 89th minute but got his angles all wrong and headed off target, much to the relief of the majority of the 25,150 present.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam