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REPORT | Late Penalty Blow

PUBLISHED

00:41 24th January 2017

In form reserves denied.

Wolves 1 (Randall 36)

Everton 1 (Walsh-pen 85)

It took a late penalty for high flying Everton to salvage a point from a closely fought out Premier League Cup encounter with a Wolves Under 23 side brimming with confidence, hard work and talent.

Two Kieran Dowell corners in the opening stages were of no undue concern to the home defence and the first real chance of the game came in the 13th minute when Will Randall’s low, long distance effort flew narrowly wide of the mark.

For Everton, Conor McAleny’s  volley was too high after Connor Johnson had headed out Jonjoe Kenny’s cross, and at the other end Sylvain Deslandes headed over after Dan Armstrong had pumped a deep centre towards the far post.

Wolves had been playing some lovely stuff and they fully deserved the lead they took in the 36th minute as Randall skipped past three challenges before curling the ball beyond keeper Mateusz Hewelt from 20-yards.

On the stroke of half-time both goals had narrow escapes. Deslandes performed brilliantly as he got in the way of successive shots from Nathan Broadhead and then Feeney.

Wolves broke from defence and new signing Duckens Nazon squared the ball to Armstrong whose shot was blocked. Randall latched onto the rebound and from the 18-yard line his effort drew a fantastic save from Hewelt who tipped the ball onto the bar. There was no time to take the resultant corner.

Half-Time: Wolves 1 Everton 0

Three minutes after the resumption a slip by Jack Ruddy almost gifted Everton an equaliser. The keeper fluffed a clearance passing the ball straight to Broadhead who was stationed just outside the box.

The Everton man obviously wasn’t expecting the ball and he hurriedly fired high over the empty net.

Everton made two changes in the minutes that followed and, for Wolves, Donovan Wilson replaced Nazon.

Ruddy, after his earlier lapse, pulled off two fines saves to maintain his side’s advantage. He athletically turned aside a goalbound free-kick from Dowell before diving low to smother a ground shot from the same player moments later.

Skipper Connor Ronan was replaced by Dan McKenna for the final 15 minutes before Ruddy came to the rescue again turning over a close range header from Kenny before, from the corner conceded, diving full length to take a bouncing shot from Toffees substitute Courtney Duffus.

Johnson got in a great saving header from Kenny’s dangerous cross, but the Wolves defender was deemed to have fouled Duffus when the two tangled in the box in the 85th minute and the referee pointed to the spot with Liam Walsh smashing home the penalty.

Just a minute later Johnson almost restored Wanderers lead when Deslandes headed the ball down after Armstrong had lifted a free-kick into the area. But the defender was too high with his hooked attempt.

Both sides went for a winner in the dying minutes but the game finished with honours even.

Wolves: Ruddy, Simpson, Deslandes, Levingston (Breslin 81), Johnson, Leak, Armstrong, Ronan (capt) (McKenna 76), Nazon (Wilson 62), Gibbs-White, Randall.

Unused subs: Brown, Carnat.

Booking: Armstrong (50 – foul).

Everton: Hewelt, Kenny (capt), Foulds, Walsh, Browning, Pennington, Broadhead (Sambou 66), Carsley, Dyson (Kiesley 75), Dowell, McAleny (Duffus 54).

Unused subs: Griffiths, Feeney.

Referee: S. Rushton.

Attendance: 183.

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