By Ryan Plant
Darren Ryan's Wolves Under-18s suffered a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City in the Premier League U18 North at Compton Park on Saturday.
Venancio De Silva's early tap-in left Wolves searching for their first win in all competitions since September, when they beat Stoke in the U18 Premier League Cup.
It was Wolves though that started the brightest. Aaron Crabtree's through ball would have put striker Austin Samuels clean through but for the awareness of Stoke goalkeeper Mate Deczki, who charged out of his area to clear.
Almost immediately after, Stoke went ahead following their first foray into Wolves' half. Striker Jordan Greenidge beat Dion Sanderson to cross for De Silva, who finished well from the inside the area.
Wolves played fast, attacking football and were unlucky to not go into half-time level.
Brad Carr broke down the right to cross for Samuels, who failed to turn his shot goalwards. Soon after, Taylor Perry played in Carr on the counter. The latter fiercely shot from the edge of the area, forcing a good save from Deczki high to his left.
Centre-back Daniel Csoka struck a header wide from captain Dan McKenna’s free-kick as Wolves finished the first half on the front foot.
Wolves started the second period as they finished the first. Almost immediately from the restart Ryan Giles broke down the left and crossed for Samuels inside the six-yard box, but he was off balance and slipped as he tried to finish.
On the other side, Carr proved to be a constant menace to Stoke left-back Will Forrester, which eventually saw the latter booked. Carr crossed for Giles but the winger could not generate enough power on his header to trouble Deczki.
Wolves continued to pressure the Stoke defence, which eventually led to the hosts’ best chance. Carr twisted and turned past Max Murphy and shot across goal, leaving Deczki helpless, but his effort cannoned off the crossbar and bounced over.
Chances came and went for McKenna and Joel Whittingham from good Giles crosses but Wolves failed to register another shot on target.
In injury-time Stoke could have doubled their lead but for a fine save from Harry Beasley from Greenidge’s goal-bound effort.
Following the game, Ryan said: “The team is disappointed – they put five in last week at Derby!
“After the first ten minutes, where we were a bit lethargic, we dominated the rest of the game. That is one of the positives we will take from the game, it is all about development.”