Stoke can now prepare for their upcoming FA Cup final appearance after securing their Premier League survival with an emphatic 3-0 win against Wolves.Ryan Shawcross and Jermaine Pennant scored either side of half-time to seal an easy three points after Kenwyne Jones’ early header had opened the floodgates.
A draw was never likely, with both of these local rivals sharing the lowest number of Premier League draws with just six each all season.
And with their unenviable record of being the league’s worst away team this campaign, Wolves never looked likely to grasp the point that would have lifted them out of the bottom three.
In fact, they should thank goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey for restricting the size of their defeat.
It was plain sailing for the Potters once Jones had laid a 16th-minute pass out to Pennant on the right side of the Wolves area before advancing forward to meet the winger’s return cross with a downwards header that Hennessey narrowly failed to block.
Pennant exposed the visitors’ frailties along the left wing again by releasing Andy Wilkinson on an overlapping run and shot that Hennessey beat away with Jones then guilty of a five-yard miss from Jonathan Walters’ inviting cross.
Hennessey’s agility saved his side again as he spectacularly denied both Walters and Shawcross inside the space of 30 seconds in the 45th minute.
But the Wolves keeper could only stand and stare as the slice of luck that Stoke’s dominance deserved arrived seconds later when Karl Henry unwittingly deflected Glen Whelan’s shot straight to Shawcross who had the simplest of back-post tap-ins to seal the points by the break.
Pennant’s lung-busting break out of midfield ended with the winger drilling a third past Hennessey in the 51st minute, albeit via another significant deflection.
And with the relegation-haunted visitors mustering just one shot on target, it was Walters who almost added to the score line with a 25-yard shot that flew inches wide late on.