Derby 2 (Wilson, 6', Whittaker (P), 45') Wolves 1 (Samuels (P), 49')
Darren Ryan’s spirited Wolves Under-18s suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat away to PLU18 North high-flyers Derby County.
At the Rams’ Training Centre, Tyree Wilson’s finish and Morgan Whittaker’s penalty on the stroke of half-time gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at the break, but Austin Samuels halved the deficit from the spot and goalkeeper Bradley Foster-Theniger did well to prevent an equaliser.
Buoyed by last week’s 2-1 win against Blackburn Rovers, Wolves started well and could have gone ahead inside five minutes but Jaden Forrester could not convert after capitalising on a stray Derby clearance.
Justin Walker’s side went ahead soon after against the run of play, as Wilson finished with his left foot past Joe Young in the Wolves goal after reaching Louie Sibley’s through pass.
The visitors continued to press forward, and Samuels, Forrester and Chem Campbell, who was looking for his second goal in as many games, all saw chances well saved by Foster-Theniger from close range.
Once again, as Derby countered, they were made to pay for their missed chances: Whittaker converted his penalty after he was fouled in a goal-mouth scramble.
Wolves began the second half well and within five minutes scored a penalty of their own after Lewis Richards was felled - Samuels emphatically dispatched his spot-kick into the roof of the net.
Foster-Theniger did well to block Taylor Perry’s top-corner-bound free-kick, before Richards fired just over from the resulting corner with a fierce half-volley with little under 10 minutes left, but Derby held on for the win.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
Samuels’ well-taken penalty was his second goal in as many games for Ryan’s Under-18s, after he returned from Rob Edwards’ Under-23s. His composure from the spot instigated a period of sustained pressure from the visitors, in which they were unlucky to have not found an equaliser.
Manager Ryan was pleased, despite his side’s defeat. He said: “Overall, I think the performance was good. I think we shaded the game, but we missed chances.
“The lads were excellent, but we can better with and without the ball. It is all about development, but we, of course, want to win our matches.
“We were always in the game, even after giving them a two-goal advantage.”
Wolves are next in action away to Swansea City in the Premier League U18 Cup on Tuesday, before they welcome Wigan Athletic to Molineux on Monday in the FA Youth Cup.
04/12 - Swansea (A)
10/12 - Wigan Athletic (H)
12/01 - Everton (H)
02/02 - Newcastle United (H)
09/02 - Sunderland (A)
Derby (4-5-1): Foster-Theniger; Minkly, Thompson, Cashin, Wilson (Ebosele, 45’); McDonald, Sibley, Dixon, Matthews (Delap, 63’), Brown; Whittaker
Unused: Halwax, Greco, Jinkinson
Wolves (3-4-3): Young; Agboola, Taylor, Richards; Thompson, Perry, Campbell, Berkoe; Forrester (Carty, 75’), Samuels, Corbeanu (Townsend, 59’)
Unused: O’Sullivan, Parker, Cundle