PL Cup begins with defeat for under-18s

Wolves 0 Arsenal 3 (Cottrell 34, Cirjan 39, Matthews 64)

Wolves under-18s suffered defeat in their opening Premier League Cup match against Arsenal at Compton.

Two goals in five first-half minutes did the bulk of the damage, before the Gunners added a third after the break to make sure of the victory.

In a cagey opening it was not until the ninth minute that Wolves created the game’s first opportunity, but Pascal Estrada was just unable to make a firm connection from Theo Corbeanu’s corner.

It was then the Gunners threatened to break the deadlock, with Jackson Smith twice foiling their efforts. He first raced from his line to block the on-rushing Miguel Azeez, before denying Alfie Matthews from close range with a collection of Wolves defenders arriving to clear any further danger.

Smart play from Jed Abbey down the right-hand side created openings for Chem Campbell and Corbeanu, but it was the visitors who took the lead soon after.

A well-worked move saw captain Ben Cottrell the beneficiary as he fired high into the net in the 34th minute. It was to prove a damaging period for Wolves as Arsenal struck again five minutes later, with Catilin Cirjan prodding home to double their advantage.

After the break Corbeanu sought to lead the fightback, but could only fire a free-kick over from the edge of the area. Again, Abbey caused issues out wide for Arsenal, with both Hugo Bueno and second-half substitute Jack Hodnett being denied from the defender’s cross.

But in the 64th minute the game was put beyond Wolves after they were dispossessed in their own half. Cottrell got a shot away which was well saved by Smith, only for Alfie Matthews to nod home from the rebound.


Despite the defeat, Academy coach Steve Davis was encouraged with how he expects the players to learn from the defeat.

He said: “The important thing with learning with this group is that they look at what’s going wrong and see how they can work it out. When we are asking those questions of them, it is whether they can sort them out during the game, as opposed to waiting until half time for us to tell them.

“That’s where we need to get to, can they change things, can they sort things out? Can they improve as things are not happening for them?

“Second half I was definitely pleased with the response, I thought we dominated large chunks of the game, they had the odd counter, but in that period you have to be clinical and we weren't quite clinical enough to get back in the game.”


The under-18s are back in league action next Saturday as they travel north to face Manchester City. They return to the Sir Jack Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground sponsored by Fosun International as they welcome Everton on 19th October, before the month ends with a Premier League Cup tie away to Chelsea.


05/10 Manchester City (A)

19/10 Everton (H)

30/10 Chelsea (A)

02/11 Manchester United (A)

09/11 Derby County (A)


Wolves: Smith, Abbey, Scott, Tipton, Estrada, Bueno, Corbeanu (Burgarin 73), Parker (Hodnett 45), Carty (Sangare 73), Cundle, Campbell

Unused Subs: Young, Forrester

Arsenal: Graczyk, Dennis (Plange 82), Ogungbo, Azeez, Oyegoke, Kirk, Butler-Oyedeji, Cottrell (Patino 70), Matthews (Flores 70), Cirjan, Taylor-Hart.

Unused Subs: Ejeheri.