No miracle escape for relegated Wolves

No miracle escape for relegated Wolves

Five Republic of Ireland players, including Kevin Doyle, Stephen Ward, Stephen Hunt, are the prospect of life in the third tier of English football today.

Wolves' relegation from the npower Championship was finally confirmed as they went down 2-0 at Brighton.

A first-half brace from Kazenga LuaLua was enough to condemn them to football in England's third tier for the first time since 1989.

It meant that Wolves have suffered back-to-back relegations, the first team to do so twice from the top flight, after they finished bottom of the Barclays Premier League in 2011/12.

Both managers made four changes with Brighton boss Gus Poyet looking to shuffle his pack having already secured a play-off place with a win against Leeds last time out.

Winger LuaLua replaced the rested Andrea Orlandi while there was also recalls for Liam Bridcutt, Andrew Crofts and Rodriguez Vicente.

Under-fire Wolves chief Dean Saunders handed a start to George Elokobi, whose season was thought to be over after a suffering a fractured ankle back in September, while Jamie O'Hara returned from suspension alongside Nouha Dicko and Bakary Sako.

The visitors looked ready for the fight in the early stages and Sako fired a warning shot when he struck the foot of the post inside three minutes.

That sinking feeling soon returned though when LuaLua, against the run of play, drilled in a fine finish from the edge of the box to silence the travelling fans moments later.

Wolves responded with efforts from Dicko and Roger Johnson but neither could find a way past Albion goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

LuaLua then added his second for the home side six minutes before the break with another fine strike from the edge of the area.

Saunders lost Sako to a hamstring injury at the break and opted for the experience of Stephen Hunt as they looked to reimpose themselves from the restart.

The former Hull midfielder looked lively as he began to link up with O'Hara and the latter was unlucky to see an early effort fly over the top as he stumbled in the build-up.

Wolves suffered another injury blow just after the hour mark when Matt Doherty, another victim to a hamstring injury, had to be replaced by Bjorn Sigurdarson.

Kevin Doyle stung the palms of Kuszczak shortly after but no-one was on hand to bundle home the rebound as they finally began to turn up the heat on Albion.

Bizarrely for the visitors, Elokobi completed a hat-trick of injuries on his return to action when he limped off in place of Stephen Ward.

That final change was evidently one too many as Brighton started to threaten again through efforts from Ashley Barnes and Jose Ulloa.

Vicente was next to go close as The Seagulls closed out their season in style in front of a stadium record crowd and finally put Wolves out of their misery.

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