by Ryan Plant
A second-half goal from Owen Otasowie salvaged a draw for Wolves Under-18s against Newcastle United at Compton Park.
Newcastle, who have failed to win in their eight games in the Premier League Under-18 North season so far, went 2-1 ahead early in the second half but Darren Ryan’s Wolves deservedly earned a point after some sustained second-half pressure.
Wolves lost 6-1 to Manchester United last time out and were looking for the perfect response. Samuels scored in the defeat to the Red Devils, and he almost picked up from where he left off inside the first five minutes against the Magpies. He met Josh Hesson’s fine cross from the right side with a brave diving header but his effort hit the post.
Hesson was a constant nuisance to the Newcastle back line. A quick counter-attack led to a Ryan Giles cross from the left side. His looping delivery was met by Hesson at the far post, who nodded Wolves 1-0 ahead.
Ryan’s side continued on the front foot as the half came to a close. Captain Dan McKenna let fly from 30 yards out but his shot whistled just over Otto Huuhtanen’s Newcastle goal.
Newcastle ventured forward for the first time from the resulting goal kick. A stray long ball got caught in the wind and caused confusion in the Wolves defence. Rory Brown was left stranded and Thomas Allan was given the easy task of tapping the ball into an empty net to level it at 1-1 for Newcastle.
The visitors finished the first half the strongest. Inside a minute of the second half, they continued to mount pressure and found themselves 2-1 to the good. Deese Kasinga broke free down Newcastle’s right, and, after his cross was cleared by McKenna, Mace Goodridge fired a shot back in from outside of the area.
Wolves, despite extremely strong winds and intermittent rain, looked to get back into the game but, where possible, avoided long, aerial passes. They were rewarded when Ryan Giles managed to work some space on the left and fire a pass across goal, which was met by Otasowie, who managed to bundle the ball home under intense pressure.
Wolves had plenty of chances after equalising to fire themselves ahead once again. Samuels turned provider and crossed for substitute Enzo Sauvage, who struck the bar. The rebound fell to Callum Thompson but he could only volley over to keep the scores tied.
After the game, manager Ryan was happy with his side. He said: “That was very pleasing. The lads’ reaction through the week has been excellent. I thought throughout, with and without the wind, that we controlled the game.
“Newcastle’s goals were obviously disappointing but we executed the game plan very well. It is just a shame those chances did not go in for us.”
Wolves’ next fixture is against Arsenal in the Under-18 Premier League Cup next month.