Middlesbrough 2 (Gibson 52 PEN, 68) Wolves 0
Joseph Gibson dealt Wolves under-18s a double blow as his two goals sent Steve Davis’ side to their first defeat of the season.
The Middlesbrough striker put away a penalty early in the second-half before extending his side’s advantage with just over 20 minutes on the clock, with Wolves failing to take several chances to get themselves back into the U18 Premier League North tie.
Head coach Davis was forced into a number of changes to the line-up who had taken 10 points from a possible 12 to start the season, with many of his players still recovering from international duty, while captain Christian Marques and fellow defender Lewis Richards being called up to the under-23s for their match with Manchester City later Saturday afternoon.
This gave a second start for Oliver Tipton, who struggled to deal with the power and skill of Gibson, who took both of his goals with aplomb.
The defeat sees Wolves remain in third place in the league table, level on points with Liverpool, but five behind leaders Manchester City, who have taken maximum points from their first five matches.
Head coach Steve Davis was disappointed with the finishing of his under-18 players, who missed several chances in the defeat.
David said: “It was a tough game; they were very well organised and pressed really well. The first-half was quite even and we just edged it slightly with the control we had, but there wasn’t a lot of chances for either side – going in at 0-0.
“We didn’t start the second-half particularly well and they got a penalty, but we responded really well. We must have had four or five really good chances to get the equaliser and push on, but we weren’t clinical and didn’t take them.
“That always gives the other team a bit of hope when you’re not taking your chances when you’re on top of the game. For whatever reason, we just couldn’t score.
“They got their second from a break, a bit too easily, and we didn’t recover ore respond well enough after that; lost a little bit of composure and lost a bit of focus on what we were doing.
“Although we found our way back into the game during the last quarter of an hour, we had a lot of opportunities, put them under a lot of pressure but we didn’t have that cutting edge at the end.”
On the enforced changes to his line-up, Davis added: “We lost Christian and Lewis to the under-23s, which is great for them and it’s what we want, but it meant we had to make a reshuffle.
“’Tippo’ came in from the under-16s, a young lad moving back up and it was tough day for him, and Jack Scott – a right wing-back – had to play centre-half. It was a little bit of a reshuffle at the back, which didn’t particularly help us.
“But there were still a lot of positives to take from our play which we’ll take into the next game.”
Wolves are back at home next weekend for the first Black Country Derby of the season. Steve Davis’ side take on West Bromwich Albion at Compton Park from 11am on Saturday 21st September.
21/09 West Brom (H)
05/10 Man City (A)
19/10 Everton (H)
02/11 Man United (A)
09/11 Derby County (A)
Middlesbrough: Flatters, Reed, Wilson, Hannah (Wheaton 90), Essien, Gibson, Waites, Cornet, Green, Coburn (Cavanagh 91), Almanzar.
Unused subs: Swann, Willis, Thompson.
Wolves: Young, Scott, Estrada, Tipton, Bueno, Abbey (Lembikisa 86), Cundle, Parker, Campbell, Corbeanu (Hodnett 66), Sangare (Carty 66).
Unused subs: Smith, Harkin.
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