Forsyth settles it for Stoke

Stoke City 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
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Wolves, beaten only twice on their travels, prior to last weekend, saw the total doubled by Richard Forsyth's goal for Stoke in the 47th minute of a fiery First Division derby. Victory in the Victoria Ground's final floodlit fixture revived Stoke's hopes of participating in the play-offs, where second-placed Wolves are in danger of joining them.

Steve Bull, controversially sent off in Wolves' defeat at Oldham, hit the post when Ally Pickering's mistake gave him a chance to equalise with 13 minutes remaining. It typified a tantalising evening for the former England striker.

With less than 10 seconds on the stopwatch, the Molineux side carved through the heart of the home defence. Carl Muggleton saved Steve Corica's drive with his legs, only for the ball to break obligingly to Bull. However, from 15 yards, he sliced his shot yards wide of the unguarded net.

Bull and Mark Venus both sent headers over the crossbar as Wolves created the better opportunities in an end-to-end contest. The record goal- scorer was finally on target with a characteristic volley after racing on to Simon Osborn's long pass 10 minutes before half-time, but Muggleton leapt to his right to make a thrilling one-handed save.

The roles were reversed in extraordinary fashion when the second half opened. Inside 15 seconds, Gerry McMahon's weaving run made Wolves look like so many black-and-gold traffic cones, and it took a desperate block by Andy Thompson to prevent his scoring. No matter - a further 50 seconds and Stoke were in front.

His confidence seemingly unaffected by a 10th goalless game, Mike Sheron followed McMahon's lead by dribbling through the centre. Although Neil Emblen appeared to have cleared the danger with a sliding tackle, he succeeded only in finding Forsyth. From 25 yards, a lusty swing of the midfielder's left boot left Mike Stowell helpless.

Another Bull header promptly clipped Stoke's bar, yet Wolves were indebted to Stowell for tipping over a long-range volley by Sheron, whose drought continued when he fired wide from Pickering's cut-back.

Wolves laid unconvincing siege to Muggleton's goal in the final minutes, but Stoke held out for a success that must have been greeted as gleefully in Barnsley as it was among those of the red and white persuasion in the Potteries.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Muggleton; Pickering, Whittle, Sigurdsson, Griffin; McMahon (Kavanagh, 88), Beeston, Wallace, Forsyth; Sheron, M Macari. Substitutes not used: Nyamah, Mackenzie.

Wolverhampton Wanderers (3-5-2): Stowell; Curle, Atkins, Emblen; Thompson, Corica (Ferguson, 81), Osborn (Goodman, 86), Thomas (Dennison, 70), Venus; Roberts, Bull.

Referee: J Kirkby (Sheffield).