Allan on target again but Wolves are beaten
Wolves 1 (Allan 65)
Middlesbrough 2 (Tavernier 42, O'Neil 67)
Jordan Allan’s fifth goal in four games wasn’t enough for Wolves Academy Under-18’s as they went down 2-1 at home to Middlesbrough.
Allan’s goal in the 65th minute had cancelled out Middlesbrough captain Marcus Tavernier’s first half effort, but just two minutes after equalising, Tyrone O’Neil scored what proved to be the winning goal in an entertaining contest at the Sir Jack Hayward training ground.
Wolves had started the brighter of the two teams, but it was O’Neil who had the first opportunity of the game after being put through by Tavernier. However, Wolves keeper Rory Brown was equal to the task, producing a fine save with his feet.
At the other end a fine Wolves move saw Austin Samuels’ superb left wing cross reach Bradley Carr, but his header came back off the crossbar to the relief of the Middlesbrough defence. Two minutes later, Carr turned provider, feeding the ball to Elliott Watt who shot over from 25 yards out.
After the initial burst of chances both teams cancelled each other out, at least until the closing stages when the visitors became the more dominant. Firstly, Tavernier’s shot narrowly avoided Brown’s far post, and another O’Neill strike was palmed around the corner by the Wolves keeper.
However, the visitors didn’t need to wait much longer for the breakthrough. Substitute Jack Lambert linked up with Mitchell Curry before forcing a fine save from Brown, from which Middlesbrough retained possession and the ball worked its way to Tavernier who struck the ball past Brown’s despairing dive.
Half Time – Wolves U18’s 0 – 1 Middlesbrough U18’s
Wolves again started the brighter of the two sides after the break, and had numerous chances to equalise.
Allan headed a Watt free-kick wide in the 54th minute and moments later a fine pass by Brandon Ball found Allan down the right flank. The striker superbly held off the challenge of Nathan Convery before his pullback reached the on-running Watt whose shot was deflected wide.
Ryan Giles then brilliantly dispossessed Middlesbrough wing-back Liam Hegarty before advancing into the penalty area and forcing ‘Boro keeper Zac Hemmings into a smart save. Hegarty came close to redeeming his earlier error when his shot required another excellent save from Brown.
Wolves weren’t to be denied for much longer and deservedly got back onto level terms thanks to Allan.
Captain Cameron John broke up a counter attack and embarked on a powerful run deep into the Middlesbrough half. He then fed Carr who slipped in the unmarked Allan who struck a superb right footed effort beyond Hemmings and into the far corner of the net.
The goal was no more than Jerry Gill’s men had deserved, but they were brought back down to earth very quickly thanks to O’Neill.
Wolves failed to deal with a throw-in down their right from which Connor Malley’s cross found O’Neil who evaded Sanderson prior to stroking the ball past Brown.
Despite Gill’s men’s valiant efforts to get back on level terms the visitors looked the more likely of the teams to score, particularly on the counter attack.
O’Neill shot wide from close range after Curry’s cutback, while Malley shot straight at Brown after cutting inside onto his right foot.
But their best chance to extend the lead came in the 75th minute from the penalty spot.
A Middlesbrough attack was thwarted by a superb tackle on O’Neill by Wolves’ Daniel McKenna, but as O’Neill attempted to get back to his feet, his shirt was pulled by a defender and he went to ground.
Referee Sarah Garrett awarded the penalty, from which Curry struck the crossbar.
The miss proved inconsequential, as even though Wolves threw players forward in the closing stages the visitors held on to secure three points.
Full Time Wolves U18’s 1 – 2 Middlesbrough U18’s
Wolves: Brown, McKenna, Ball, Watt, Sanderson, John (Capt), Carr, Perry, Allan, Samuels, Giles.
Subs not used: Rehman, Beasley, Sinclair, Rowe, Feeney
Middlesbrough: Hemmings, Hegarty, Reading, Storey (Holdsworth 78’), Renton, Dale (Lambert 14’), Convery, Tavernier (Capt) (Wilson 86’), Curry, O’Neil, Malley.
Subs Not Used: Jones, Guru.