By Ryan Plant
Wolves 3 (Cundle 44', Samuels 78', 89') Derby County 5 (Mitchell-Lawson 13', Wilson 22', 48', Whittaker 31', 74')
Darren Ryan’s Wolves Under-18s succumbed to a 5-3 defeat in an eight-goal thriller against Derby County at Molineux.
Wolves failed to extend the gap ahead of bottom-club Blackburn Rovers after losing in the two sides’ second high-scoring meeting of the season; the return fixture finished 5-5 at the Derby County Training Centre.
Wolves’ young side, boosted by the return of double-goalscorer Austin Samuels from Under-23s duty, were under pressure from the outset.
Goalkeeper Andreas Sondegaard saved superbly from Tyree Wilson’s close-range half-volley amongst a wave of Derby pressure, which saw Aaron Crabtree and Ray O’Sullivan block goal-bound efforts from Morgan Whittaker and Jayden Mitchell-Lawson.
But the latter was not to be denied again; soon after he put the visitors ahead with a curled effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Just five minutes later, Rory Delap’s side doubled their lead after Wilson finished past Sondegaard.
In a dramatic five-minute spell Derby found themselves three to the good; Whittaker pounced on a loose pass into the Wolves penalty area from Kevin Berkoe to score.
Wolves looked for a way back into the match before half-time and gave themselves a chance when Luke Cundle finished well from 20 yards after being teed-up by Taylor Perry to make it 1-3 at the break.
HT - Wolves 1-3 Derby County
The hosts continued the second half in the ascendancy but, against the run of play, Wilson scored his second to restore the visitors’ three-goal advantage.
Wolves refused to give up; Kaden May’s introduction had a positive impact with his good pacey wide play that gave Wolves chances to counter.
Captain Terry Taylor was hugely unlucky to not set up a tense finish for their mid-table visitors with two good chances on the hour mark. First, he sent a free-kick crashing off the crossbar from 25 yards out with goalkeeper Matthew Yates helpless.
Soon after, his header from Perry’s corner fell agonisingly wide. But, just as Wolves looked at their most dangerous, Whittaker scored his second to put Derby 5-1 in front.
It was perhaps tough to take for Wolves, but Samuels always looked dangerous on the counter and he was rewarded for his efforts with two goals after returning for Ryan’s side.
An intricate Wolves move culminated in a defence-splitting pass from young midfielder Todd Parker, giving Samuels the chance to finish low across Yates’ goal.
He reduced the deficit to 3-5 moments before full-time with a fierce penalty, which he won after being bundled over in the penalty area, to boost his side’s confidence ahead of Saturday’s match against Everton.
FT - Wolves 3-5 Derby County