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Miller strikes again as Wolves refuse to buckle

Liverpool paid for their caution last night, and deservedly so. Wolves, brimming with never-say-die commitment, equalised in the final minute against visitors who had been sitting far too negatively on Bruno Cheyrou's first-half strike. 

How Molineux celebrated Kenny Miller's fine goal, relishing the little Scot's poacher's strike five days after he had embarrassed Manchester United here. Another Miller's tale for Wolves and a sting in the tail for Liverpool, whose insistence on playing with only Michael Owen up front against relegation-threatened opponents bordered on the embarrassing.

Wolves deserved a point for their application alone, their zeal embodied by the energetic Alex Rae and the ageless Denis Irwin. Their willingness to attack contrasted with Liverpool's increasing determination to defend deep, soak up the pressure and cling on to their goal, an ultimately foolhardy strategy.

Wolves' relentless industry that accounted so famously for Manchester United last weekend had been in evidence for 41 minutes, drawing sustained applause from a crowded Molineux, until the hosts' centre-halves momentarily lost concentration. Cheyrou pounced to punish them.

Dave Jones's side had impressed until then, particularly when Rae was winning the ball and driving his team-mates forward, showing an unebbing desire to catch out Liverpool's defence with long ball and short. Yet when Steve Finnan collected possession out on the right and Cheyrou began ghosting into the box, Wolves should have sensed the danger.

Finnan's angled pass was perfectly judged, dropping on to the chest of Cheyrou as the Frenchman arrowed in on Michael Oakes' goal. The Wolves keeper, left exposed by his defenders, could do nothing to stop Cheyrou's firm shot racing past him into the net.

The goal, the manner in which it was cheaply conceded, and the timing on the cusp of half-time was deeply frustrating for Wolves. They had dealt well with Liverpool's attacks until then, restricting the visitors to only a Hobbit's handful of chances.

Steffen Iversen and Miller briefly combined well through the middle. Iversen, neatly set up by his Scottish sidekick, would have scored after six minutes but for the reflexes of Jerzy Dudek.

Dudek was relieved on the half-hour when his goal survived a fine, fast-moving surge. Lee Naylor, Wolves' attack-minded left-back, exchanged passes with Mark Kennedy and crossed to Iversen at the far post. The Norwegian laid the ball off to Paul Ince, whose 20-yarder sped just over.

Wolves had been equally busy off the pitch yesterday. Three directors, Rachel Heyhoe Flint, John Harris and Michael Lister have stepped down from the board at the request of the new chairman, Rick Hayward, who was also involved yesterday in negotiations to bring Carl Cort from Newcastle United for £1.5 million. West Ham United are also interested in a striker whose time on Tyneside was scarred by injury.

Iversen then missed one of the sitters of the season. Molineux looked on in initial delight as Colin Cameron and Miller guided the ball to Iversen but then blinked in disbelief at the Norwegian's response. From six yards out and centrally placed, Iversen scooped the ball high over Dudek's bar.

Liverpool suddenly remembered they had forward gears: Danny Murphy twice went close, striking an upright with his second attempt. But their otherwise restrained approach was punished.

Ince had just confirmed the fight in Wolves' ranks by pushing Steven Gerrard in the face, fortuitously escaping a second booking. Then Irwin lifted the ball in from the right, Ince headed on and there was Miller shooting home, giving both teams exactly what they deserved.

Match details

Wolverhampton: Oakes, Irwin, Craddock, Butler, Naylor, Newton (Cameron 20), Rae, Ince, Kennedy (Silas 72), Iversen (Ganea 82), Miller.
Subs Not Used: Clyde, Ikeme.
Booked: Ince, Rae.
Goals: Miller 90.

Liverpool: Dudek, Finnan, Biscan (Henchoz 45), Hyypia, Carragher, Cheyrou (Murphy 75), Hamann, Gerrard, Kewell, Heskey, Owen.
Subs Not Used: Jones, Riise, Le Tallec.
Booked: Carragher.
Goals: Cheyrou 42.

Att: 29,380
Ref: B Knight (Kent).

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