Physicality the difference in cup defeat

Darren Ryan wants his young players to spend more time playing against ‘physical’ senior sides after Wolves crashed out of the Birmingham Senior Cup at Halesowen Town.

Goals from Roland Agbor, Christos Shelis and James Roberts sealed a 3-0 victory for the home side on Tuesday night, but Ryan is taking the positives from his youthful team’s performance, despite the disappointing result.

“It’s good to come here and play teams like Halesowen, and I think we need to experience it more in our programme,” Ryan said. “They don’t come across this football every week, so it’s a good experience but it can’t be once every season.

“We’ve got to expose them to more games like this for their development and we definitely will. It gets them used to playing Saturday-Tuesday, because they usually just play Saturdays, and this is a different demand for them.

“It’s a good experience for the players. I thought they did some really good bits, but at times they’ve got to realise they’re playing against more physical and powerful players where their decision making has to be a bit better.”

Striker Austin Samuels missed a good chance for Wolves when the score was still at 0-0, and the crossbar denied the visitors a consolation, but Ryan was disappointed by how his side fell behind shortly before half time.

He said: “Austin’s come back down to us for the last two games from Rob [Edwards] and the under-23s which has been good for him. Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t, and it didn’t this time, but to concede before half time was disappointing.

“We watched Halesowen on Saturday and knew what to expect. They pump long balls forward and we had to defend that, and I don’t think we defended that well at times.

“The goals are disappointing because they were technical errors. We were giving the ball away, our first touch let us down and basic five to ten yard passes we’d give the ball away, but there are positives to take, we played some good stuff, but we need to be better in the final third.

“It was a good learning experience for the players because we had a really young team out here. We’re looking at the physical stats and how they worked in the first half compared to the second half. But they gave me their all and I can’t have a go at them, because they have given everything, but found it difficult physically.”

Wolves under-18s are back in action on Saturday morning as they host Middlesbrough in the Premier League North at Compton Park.