On this day: Wolverhampton Wanderers fightback stuns Leicester City

On this day in 2003, Wolverhampton Wanderers overturned a three-goal half-time deficit to record a 4-3 victory over Leicester City in the Premier League.

Promotion to the Premier League in May 2003 brought joy and adulation to both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City but reality soon hit home with the Midlands-based clubs that life in the top flight might not be all that it seemed.

Leicester had previously enjoyed seven campaigns in the division before earning an eighth year among the cream of English football with an immediate return during the 2002-03 campaign but Wolves had never experienced what the Premier League had to offer, and their somewhat novice status showed during the opening months of the season as they registered just six points from nine games.

The Foxes were faring even worse after clocking up just a win and two draws from the same number of matches which meant that the stakes were high when the two clubs clashed at Molineux on this day 11 years ago.

It was Wolves who started the brighter of the two teams, with summer signing Henri Camara testing the reflexes of goalkeeper Ian Walker with a 12-yard effort but a minute later, Leicester silenced the home crowd when Muzzy Izzet's delivery was powerfully headed home by Les Ferdinand.

Les Ferdinand of Leicester heads in the opening goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on October 25, 2003© Getty Images

Wolves had already shipped 10 goals at home in their brief stay in the division and that soon became 11 when Izzet provided another assist for Ferdinand to double Leicester's advantage with another bullet header to leave Dave Jones's team in disarray just a quarter-of-an-hour into the contest.

The strength of Ferdinand was causing all sorts of problems for the centre-back pairing of Paul Butler and Jody Craddock and their afternoon got worse after 35 minutes when the former Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur striker teed up Riccardo Scimeca to drive a low shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

There appeared to be no way back for Wolves, who surprisingly withdrew Kenny Miller for Hassan Kachloul at the break, but a change in system seemed to benefit the home side and seven minutes after the restart, the deficit was reduced when Nathan Blake's cutback was side-footed home by Colin Cameron.

Wolves were beginning to build some momentum at the same time that the panic button was being pressed in the Leicester defence, and a second goal, again from Cameron who converted a spot kick after Keith Gillespie had handled, sparked belief inside Molineux that a remarkable comeback could occur in the final half-hour.

Ian Walker the Leicester goalkeeper fails to keep out a penalty by Colin Cameron of Wolves during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match on October 25, 2003© Getty Images

Just eight minutes later, Wolves restored parity with a brilliant goal started from their defence. After pushing Leicester back, an initial burst from Shaun Newton created space for Denis Irwin to send a deep cross to the back post for the awaiting Alex Rae, who guided a header out of the reach of Walker and into the bottom corner.

Wolves had began the second half with the main intent of salvaging some pride, but 23 minutes later, they were favourites to emerge from a see-saw encounter in front of nearly 29,000 supporters and in the closing stages of a thrilling game, they did just that to seal their second win of the campaign.

After Gerry Taggart was harshly adjudged to have upended Blake, the resulting free kick was only half cleared to Irwin, whose first touch took him into the penalty area before providing the pullback for Camara to send the ball into the roof of the net from six yards.

This success heightened expectations at the Black Country club but a seven-game winless run ensured that they couldn't climb out of trouble and they were eventually relegated, along with Leicester and Leeds United, after finishing bottom of the standings on 33 points, six points adrift of safety.

Karl Henry
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