By Ryan Plant
Darren Ryan’s Wolves Under-18s agonisingly lost 2-1 to Liverpool after conceding two late goals at Compton Park.
Wolves captain Dan McKenna looked to have sealed all three points when he scored with little under ten minutes left, but substitute Glen McAuley and left-back Adam Lewis struck in the final six minutes in a frantic finale to move Steven Gerrard’s Reds to the top of the Premier League U18 North.
Liverpool threatened Wolves from the outset. Goalkeeper Jackson Smith acrobatically tipped Rafa Camacho’s left-footed strike from distance onto the post. Soon after, Yasser Larouci drove into the area and fired over with Liverpool in the ascendancy.
Wolves though had their fair share of chances towards the end of the first half. Taylor Perry crossed for Brad Carr, who forced an excellent save from Liverpool ‘keeper Vitezslav Jaros low to his left from six-yards out.
Jaros was again called into action when Ryan Giles dribbled from the left side of the pitch to the right, around four Liverpool men, but his shot did not trouble the in-from shot-stopper.
After Dion Sanderson cleared Lewis’ cross from under his own crossbar, Wolves countered. Giles dribbled past Larouci after reaching Diego Lattie’s long pass, but he could only fire over from the edge of the area.
Liverpool however started the second half the brightest. Elijha Dixon-Bonier less than a minute after the restart fiercely tested the hands of Smith with a goal-bound effort from the edge of the area. Five minutes later, the visitors had a goal ruled out; Camacho strayed offside as he battled with the Wolves defence to poke home Lewis’ deep cross.
Wolves began to put pressure back on the Liverpool defence and, after chances for Carr, Giles and top-scorer Austin Samuels came and went, they eventually went ahead.
Substitute Callum Thompson tackled Morgan Boyce on the edge of the penalty area, and passed to Perry. He teed up McKenna who struck into the top corner from 25 yards out.
Less than five minutes later Liverpool equalised. Almost straight after Smith had bravely saved at striker Liam Millar’s feet, McAuley met Dixon-Bonier’s cross was a placed volley to level the score.
A jaded Wolves struggled to cope with Liverpool’s pace on the counter as they searched for a precious victory. Curtis Jones broke down the right and crossed. It was blocked by Sanderson, but the rebound fell to Lewis who ghosted in at the back post unmarked and emphatically finished past Smith to put the visitors ahead.
Wolves are still searching for their first league win since September. Next up for Ryan’s side is a home tie against high-flyers Manchester City, who fell below Liverpool in the table after the Reds’ victory.