Sunday, 20 February 2011

West Brom 1 - 1 Wolverhampton

Carlos Vela's injury-time goal earned West Brom a vital point from a fiercely-fought Black Country derby against Wolves at the Hawthorns.
Jamie O'Hara's curling shot at the end of a lively but disjointed first half had looked sure to win it for Wolves.
Marc-Antoine Fortune wasted a great chance and Jonas Olsson had a header cleared off the line as West Brom seemed destined not to score.
But at the death, Vela followed up a Wayne Hennessey fumble to earn a draw.
Bottom-of-the-table Wolves had failed to win on their last eight visits to their biggest rivals but served notice of their intention to break that run as they had the better of the early exchanges.
Left winger Matt Jarvis was a particularly potent threat, linking up well with O'Hara and causing right-back Gonzalo Jara all kinds of problems.
After weathering the early storm, the home side found their feet and they were soon testing Wolves from a series of Chris Brunt corners.
Whenever the Baggies captain sent over the ball, it seemed to find a team-mate and the first real action for either goalkeeper came when Hennessey was forced to stretch and keep out Olsson's diving far-post header.
Gabriel Tamas put another header just off target and Christophe Berra had to be at his best to deny Paul Scharner a chance to get on the end of Nicky Shorey's cross as the Baggies continued to apply pressure.
But for all their territorial advantage, Hennessey's goal was rarely coming under direct threat.
And shortly before half-time, West Brom were made to pay for failing to take their chances as Wolves took the lead.
Tamas fouled Kevin Doyle just outside the angle of the penalty box and from the resulting free-kick Nenad Miljijas played the ball into the path of O'Hara, whose left-foot first-time shot from outside the area had enough curl on it to evade the grasp of Boaz Myhill in the Baggies goal.
Jarvis wasted a great chance to double Wolves' lead early in the second half when Tamas fluffed his attempted header back to Myhill, gifting a chance to the winger, but he put the ball wide of the far post.
This near-miss seemed to inspire the home side as they then launched a furious assault on Hennessey's goal.
First, Karl Henry was robbed of possession near the halfway line by Peter Odemwingie, who charged through on goal and laid the ball off to Fortune, whose effort was deflected behind for a corner by the keeper.
Then a thunderous challenge by Scharner won the ball for Brunt to send over a cross that Hennessey could only palm away. Odemwingie did his best to stretch and put the ball into the net, only to be denied by a challenge from George Elokobi.
The visitors barely had time to pause for breath before West Brom's next chance, as Odemwingie knocked the ball down into the path of Fortune just six yards out with only Hennessey to beat - but he failed to connect with the ball, letting the visitors off the hook in embarrassing fashion.
Olsson was the next to try his luck with a header that left Hennessey stranded but Jarvis was on the far post to head the ball off the line.
The Welsh keeper was called into action again when he used his knees to block substitute Vela's deflected shot.
Wolves almost snatched a second goal when Tamas came within inches of putting Doyle's cross into his own net but the longer the game went on without a second goal, the more inevitable Wolves' victory looked.
However, in injury time substitute James Morrison's shot was blocked but not held by Hennessey and Vela was quickest to react and earn his side a valuable point.

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