Darren Ryan’s frustration at West Bromwich Albion’s fortuitous late equaliser in the Under-18s opening game of the season was outweighed by the positives of an impressive performance from Wolves in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
A well-worked move converted by Brad Carr put Wolves in front on 37 minutes at Compton Park, and whilst unable to add to that goal, they were in full control as full time approached.
But after Elliot Watt was dismissed for a second bookable offence 11 minutes from time, momentum switched, and Albion’s pressing resulted in a last minute leveller when a header was diverted into his own net by Joel Whittingham.
Even then, there was still time for Wolves to go close to regaining the lead only for Daniel Csoka’s powerful header to be clawed away by the Albion keeper.
“It was frustrating to lose a goal in the last minute but there were some real positives,” said Under-18 coach Ryan.
“I thought we were outstanding in the way we mved the ball, switched the play and dominated the game.
“I thought we were controlling the game until the end and it will be interesting to see the stats.
“We just needed the second goal which didn’t come, and after the sending off they threw bodies forward.
“We created enough chances but it was disappointing not to get the result.
“Credit to the lads, they showed they are a Wolves team and worked really hard in the way they have done throughout pre-season.
“I am disappointed for them more than anything.”
Ryan admitted that, as ever, there were things to learn from the team, including around the equalising goal.
“Maybe it is just about concentrating at the end,” he explained.
“We let the cross come in and there was a free header, and Joel was a little bit deeper and it deflected in.
“We will review it like we always do, and there are always things to work on.
“But there were certainly more positives than negatives, and for a young group they were outstanding.”
Overall Ryan was certainly more than impressed with the Wolves performance, which they now take into a testing trip against Manchester City next weekend.
“This was the first game of the season and the things we have been working on came out in the game,” he said.
“We want the players to take things on board and be decision makers and that is what they have done.
“If we put that level and commitment and quality in every week it is going to be a good season.
“We have all been waiting for the season to start.
“During pre-season you try things and have a look at players but we were ready for it to start and put in a good performance – myself and Sean (O’Driscoll) were really pleased.
“We will review it all, work on what we need to work on, and then prepare for what will be a very different game at Manchester City.”