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FOOTBALL: BRUM ROLE FOR WOLVES.

Wolves 3

Norwich 2

Wolves relaunched their bid for automatic promotion to the Premiership - with a little help from neighbours and fierce rivals Birmingham City.

Iwan Roberts silenced the Canaries with a 77th minute winner as Mark McGhee's men recovered from another attack of the Molineux jitters which saw them throw away an early two-goal advantage.

But the biggest cheer from the home fans came on the final whistle with news that Brum had beaten Wolves' promotion rivals Barnsley.

These three points pull Wolves to within one point of Barnsley, who are in second place with a game in hand.

McGhee admitted: "Barnsley are still in a great position, but they might just be feeling the pressure a bit and it's up to us to keep it on them."

Wolves, playing with only Roberts up front because of Steve Bull's suspension, edged ahead in the 18th minute.

Don Goodman cut into the box, skipped the challenge of Rob Newman and got in a low shot which City keeper Bryan Gunn could only parry.

Geoff Thomas reacted first, pouncing on the loose ball to snatch only his second goal of the season.

In the 34th minute referee Kevin Lynch awarded Wolves a penalty which left City in a rage. Goodman appeared to have lost the ball in the box, but then took a tumble.

Mr Lynch decided that Carl Bradshaw had brought him down and immediately pointed to the spot. Keith Curle waited for the Norwich protests to die down before easily beating Gunn.

McGhee's team appeared to be cruising, but were then stunned by two goals in even time just before the break.

Daryl Sutch crossed cleverly for Darren Eadie to head the ball back inside, and 18-year-old Drew Broughton nipped in for his first senior goal.

Then City were given their own slice of penalty luck. This time, Mr Lynch ruled that Roberts had bundled over Newman, allowing Neil Adams to to score from the spot.

Wolves, with just one point from their previous four games - all away - looked nervy as they feared another Molineux setback. But those fears were erased 13 minutes from time.

Thomas, who had just gone close with a header, fed the ball wide to Darren Ferguson whose fierce cross from the left found Roberts racing in at the far post to shoot past Gunn.

City, desperate for at least a point to keep their play-off hopes alive, went close to a third goal when Broughton's header was grabbed just under the bar by Mike Stowell.

An equaliser would have enraged the Molineux faithful - already riled by the penalty award against their team.

But McGhee, who had a few choice words on the touchline with Mr Lynch, was more concerned that the referee had missed the tackle which left midfielder Simon Osborne with a nasty ankle injury.

WOLVES.- Stowell 6; Smith 6, Froggatt 6, Atkins 6, Curle 7, Thomas 7, Gilkes 7, Ferguson 6, Roberts 7, Goodman 8, Osborn 6 (Robinson 6).

NORWICH.- Gunn 6; Newman 7, Jackson 6, Crook 7 (Mills 6), Bradshaw 6, Sutch 7, Adams 6, Fleck 6 (Carey 6), Broughton 7, Milligan 6, EADIE 8.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:White, Peter
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 1997
Words:524
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