Wolves 5 (Abbey 8, 63, Carty 21, Corbeanu 66, Hodnett 84) Middlesbrough 0
Wolves under-18s returned to winning ways as a brace from Jed Abbey and efforts from Conor Carty, Theo Corbeanu and Jack Hodnett sent the hosts on their way to a cruising victory over Middlesbrough at the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground.
Wolves started the brighter of the two teams and took a deserved lead inside eight minutes. Goalkeeper Jackson Smith’s pinpoint long ball found Jack Scott who made a darting run down the right-hand side, before picking out Luke Cundle on the penalty spot.
His effort was well saved by Flatters, however when the ball broke to Abbey he made no mistake as he fired his strike into the top-right corner for the first of his afternoon.
Middlesbrough grew into the game as the half progressed, however Wolves maintained a huge threat on the counterattack, and they cut apart the visitors on the break in the 21st minute to make it two.
The ball broke to Corbeanu who played an excellent defence-splitting pass to find Carty who raced through on-goal, as he rounded the goalkeeper and finished into the unguarded net to give the home side breathing space.
Smith made a crucial save before the break to reserve the hosts’ control. The ball was fizzed in from the visitors via a set-piece which Andy Nelson got on the end of, and was desperately unlucky not to see his touch reach the back of the net, denied superbly by the Wolves ‘keeper as he looked to keep his clean sheet intact.
In the second period, battling against the windy conditions, Wolves stamped their authority on proceedings and added three further goals. Conor Carty was close to notching his brace when his strike lashed against the post, however it was to be Abbey who slotted his second, tapping home the rebound.
Just three minutes later Steve Davis’ men had their fourth. Scott’s long ball was played into an area on the left-hand flank, which Corbeanu ran onto, beating his man for pace before squeezing the ball past the goalkeeper’s near post.
Middlesbrough’s Lucas Reed was given his marching orders for a dangerous tackle on Justin Hubner, making his debut for Wolves following his move from Den Bosch last week, with 15 minutes to play.
Wolves took advantage of the spare man in the final few moments as previous goal scorer Abbey turned provider on this occasion as he delivered his cross to substitute Hodnett who finished at the front post to put the icing on a convincing display.
Manager Steve Davis was impressed with his team’s clinical afternoon in-front of goal in difficult conditions. The head coach said: “We didn’t get a lot of control in the first-half but ended up 2-0 up. We took our chances well.
“In the last 20 minutes of the half, we felt Middlesbrough got back into it and put us under pressure and we wanted to address that at half-time.
“We were technically better in the second period; our passing was better and so was our control. I felt we were very dangerous in the final third and felt we was going to score every time we went forward.
“We do a lot of work on our final third side of the game, so it was great to see it pay off today.”
Next up for Wolves’ Under-18s is a crunch fixture away to rivals West Bromwich Albion on Saturday 29th February, before we return to the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground on the 7th March to face Derby County, 11am kick-off.
On next weekend's clash with Albion, Davis added: “We always look forward to playing West Brom. We’ll see what we have available on the day, but we begin our preparations now. We’re all are excited for it.”
29/02 West Bromwich Albion (A)
14/03 Manchester City (A)
21/03 Everton (A)
14/03 Manchester City (H)
21/03 Everton (A)
24/03 Sunderland (H)
Wolves: Smith, Scott, Lonwijk (Kandola, 66), Tipton, Hubner, Abbey, Corbeanu (Roberts, 77), Parker, Cartey, Hesketh, Cundle (Hodnett, 66).
Unused subs: Sangare, Birtwistle.
Middlesbrough: Flatters, Gibson (Willis, 89), Stephenson, Lindo (Simpson, 77), Nelson, Sykes, Cornet, Waites, Kavanagh, Green, Reed.
Unused subs: Swann, Whelan, Beals.
By George Coombes