ROBERT HUTH and Thomas Sorensen were Stoke City's heroes as they came out on top in the Staffordshire derby to book a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
German international Huth capped a commanding performance at the centre of defence by rising to head home what proved to be an 81st minute winner at Molineux.
But it then took a magnificent penalty save from Sorensen in injury time to prevent Wolverhampton Wanderers from taking the tie to a Britannia Stadium replay.
Goalscoring opportunities had fallen evenly to both sides in a scrappy encounter, but City posed a constant threat from set-pieces for the Wolves defence.
So it was not surprising that the Potters' breakthrough came by way of a towering header from Huth as he rose to meet Matthew Etherington's free-kick.
City then had to weather a late storm as Wolves pressed for an equaliser and Sorensen became the hero with yet another penalty save to add to his impressive collection as he dived low to keep out Nenad Milijas' spot kick.
As expected, Pulis made a number of changes to his starting line-up, one of which was enforced by the absence of Shawcross through suspension, while Higginbotham failed to recover in time from the hamstring injury sustained at Cardiff City.
Carew and Jones were handed the chance to form a partnership in City's attack and it was the loan signing from Aston Villa who posed the first threat.
The danger came from a set-piece which Huth headed down into the Norwegian's path and his astute flick was well-saved by Hahnemann.
Wolves suffered a setback in the early stages when Hunt pulled up with what appeared to be a calf strain and he was replaced by Edwards.
Hahnemann was the busier of the two 'keepers at this stage and he was alert to the danger again when Pugh crossed low from the left looking for Jones after the move had been started by Etherington's burst down the left hand side.
Wolves then hit back and the presence of Jarvis on the left flank, where Hunt had started the match, caused problems for Wilkinson.
It was the winger's low cross which led to the first of two good opportunities for the home side and Sorensen was forced to make a fine save from Ward after Jarvis had set up the opening for him just inside the left had side of the box.
A long ball forward from Sorensen saw Carew shrug off the presence of Stearman and burst into the box, but his attempt to steer the ball beyond the reach of the advancing Hahnemann saw the American 'keeper recover well to save.
Diao was then booked for a foul on Milijas, but in fairness to both sides the bumpy pitch made it difficult to string the passes together.
It was City who pushed Wolves back as the half moved into its closing stages and Berra was forced into a last-ditch tackle to keep out Carew.
After a neat link-up between Carew and Walters, Delap whipped over a first time cross from the right and Jones headed over the bar.
As the half moved into injury time, Delap forced a fine save out of Hahnemann after bursting into the box and then Etherington caused more problems for the Wolves defence with a run down the left which led to his cross being turned behind for a corner.
Not surprisingly, Pulis made a change at half time with Diao walking a tightrope after his booking and he made way for Whelan in the middle of the park.
Wolves began the second period by putting the City defence under pressure and Sorensen was called into action on a number of occasions, most notably when he came off his line to save from Ward after a penetrating run from Jarvis down the left.
When Pulis was about to introduce Fuller and Pennant, he was forced into a hasty rethink due to a back injury picked up Wilkinson, and it led to Wilson coming on in the centre of midfield which meant that Delap dropped back into the right back position.
With neither side producing much in the way clearcut opportunities, City made a further change with Fuller finally being introduced to replace Jones.
A slip by Delap caused the Potters an anxious moment as Jarvis skipped past him into the box but his low cross was well read by Huth who cleared.
At the other end, City went their closest to breaking the deadlock when Etherington had the space to burst forward and he chose to strike a low shot early which appeared to heading inside the far post until Hahnemann turned it round for a corner.
And it was Etherington who played a part in City taking the lead in the 81st minute when they were award a free kick on the right hand edge of the box.
The winger floated the free kick into the box and Huth rose above his marker to send his powerful header into the far corner of the net.
City almost stretched their lead a couple of minutes later when the pair combined again, Etherington sending over a corner which Huth headed wide.
But as the tie went into injury-time, Wolves were handed a chance to get back on level terms when Milijas burst into the box and after getting past Etherington went down under a challenge from Huth, the referee pointing to the spot to award a penalty.
Fortunately, for the Potters though, Sorensen kept up his remarkable record of saving penalties by diving low to his left to keep out Milijas' spot kick.