Wolves 1 (Whittall 86)
Manchester United 0
Wolves under 21s ended Manchester United’s hopes of catching league leaders Tottenham Hotspur when Sam Whittall’s scrambled goal claimed the three points at the climax of an end to end encounter at The Bucks Head.
After losing out undeservedly to late goals against Arsenal and West Ham in their previous two games, this time it was the Molineux youngsters who claimed the spoils in the dying minutes.
Belgian midfielder Adnan Januzaj got in the first shot of the game – a low, curling effort that was turned aside by Aljaz Cotman. When Wolves went forwards it was through Zeli Ismail who held off Charni Ekangamene before shooting over the angle.
United keeper Ben Amos had to be at his best after two of his defenders – Tom Thorpe and Marnick Vermijl got in each other’s way in attempting to clear. Tim Jakobsson nipped in and hit a fierce effort that Amos got a hand to pushing the ball up into the air before jumping up to catch it as it fell.
In the 28th minute United were inches away from taking the lead through Ryan Tunnicliffe who curled a shot from 20-yards onto the post with Cotman beaten.
Januzaj, tipped as an Old Trafford star of the future, fired wide of the near post after working an opening for himself before Sam Winnall’s crossfield pass provided Ismail with a chance. The ball seemed to be running away from Ismail but he caught it and hit a vicious shot on the turn into the side netting from an acute angle.
Two minutes before the break an excellent cross from Jamie Reckord was powerfully headed goalwards by Winnall who was denied by an athletic save by Amos.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 United 0
Wolves made the early running after the break but, following two corners for the home team, Januzaj broke clear and Michael Ihiekwe was forced to hammer the ball away from in front of his own goalline.
After Jakobsson had been replaced by Robbie Parry, there was another chance for United when Tunnicliffe ran through and it took the combined efforts of Cotman and Ihiekwe to stop him.
Jesse Lingard fired narrowly over with a shot from the edge of the box and then a harsh refereeing decision saw United awarded a free-kick in the ‘D’ but Januzaj’s low effort bounced clear off the wall.
Wolves hit back and after Jamie Tank had headed narrowly over following a long throw from Lee Evans, Winnall headed just wide after Reckord had lifted a free-kick into the box.
Tyler Blackett just failed to get his foot to a low driven cross from Januzaj that flew through the goalmouth, before Whittall struck in the 86th minute.
United’s defence failed to clear Ismail’s corner and, after a brief scramble, Whittall forced the ball over the line from point blank range.
United threw everything they’d got into the final minutes which included three of stoppage time, and keeper Amos went up for two corners forced in the dying seconds. But the home rearguard kept their nerve and held on for the win.
Wolves: Cotman, Whittall, Reckord, Jakobson (Parry 53), Tank, Ihiekwe (capt), Ismail, Price, Winnall, Evans, Cranston.
Unused subs: Keita, Flatt, Kellerman, Iorfa.
Booking: Price (77 – deliberate hand ball).
United: Amos, Thorpe, James, Thorpe (capt), Fornasier, Ekangamene, Cole, Tunnicliffe, Blackett (Lawrence 82), Januzaj, Lingard.
Unused subs: Perreira, McCullough, Hendrie, Van Velzen.
Referee: N. Radford.