Potters punish woeful Wolves

The Potters virtually secured their top-flight status for a fourth

successive season with this emphatic victory. It is a fine time for

Tony Pulis’ side, who also have an FA Cup final at Wembley to look

forward to for the first time on May 14 against Manchester City.

Kenwyne Jones opened the scoring in the 16th minute, Ryan Shawcross

extended their lead on the stroke of half-time and Jermaine Pennant

added a third in the 51st minute, leaving Wolves in the bottom

three after their 13th defeat in 17 away league games. Once Stoke

made the breakthrough they never looked back against their local

rivals. Jones headed in his 11th goal of the season following a

cross from Pennant after getting between Richard Stearman and Jody

Craddock. Although goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey got a hand to the

ball he could not prevent it going into the net. Stoke maintained

the momentum and three minutes later Hennessey did well to turn

away a shot from Andy Wilkinson after he had been released by

Pennant. This was a testing time for a Wolves side, who had won

only two league games on the road this season. Stoke were in the

driving seat but suffered a blow in the 28th minute when Matthew

Etherington pulled up sharply clutching his hamstring. The winger,

such an influential figure in the side, was carried off on a

stretcher and replaced by Dean Whitehead. Four minutes later Jones

should have extended their lead but headed over from close range

after good work by Jonathan Walters. Stoke pushed forward again in

the 39th minute and Marc Wilson tried to pick out Walters only for

Hennessey to intercept and make the clearance. Then hard-pressed

Hennessey tipped over a header from Shawcross before the skipper

added a second on the stroke of half time. Glenn Whelan rattled in

a shot that was deflected by Stoke midfielder Karl Henry into the

path of Shawcross, who only needed to nudge the ball over the line.

Stoke were not content to sit on their lead and Walters skipped

away from Stearman in the 48th minute only to drag his effort wide

of the post. However Wolves suffered another blow three minutes

later when the home side made it 3-0 following good work by Jones

and Walters. Walters delivered the ball into the middle and Pennant

got an excellent first touch to find the target with Hennessey

again wrong-footed by a deflection. It was a fitting reward for

Pennant, who had troubled Wolves with his pace and movement. It was

a long way back now for the visitors but to their credit they

continued to work hard. Midfielder Matt Jarvis whipped in a cross

after 62 minutes and Christophe Berra escaped his marker but headed

high over the bar. Play switched back down the other end and

Pennant picked out Shawcross with his corner only for the defender

to send his effort off-target. Stoke kept pushing forward and

Walters sent a thunderous 30-yard shot inches wide of the post.

Substitute Danny Pugh had a half chance of adding a fourth in

stoppage time but cleared the bar with his effort.