Wolves 2 (Tipton 52 (p), Barnett 85) Leeds United 0
Wolves under-18s moved up to fourth place in the U18 Premier League North table following their fourth win in six matches this season after taking down Leeds United 2-0 at Compton Park.
Back at their home ground for the second time in succession having played their opening quartet of matches on the road due to the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground sponsored by Fosun International being off-limits to anyone but the first-team squad due to Covid-19 protocol, the under-18s were back in their stride early.
Despite having several chances to open the scoring in the first 45 minutes, Wolves – who were being managed by elite player development coach Darren Ryan in the absence of head coach Steve Davis – took until seven minutes into the second-half to make their positive play count.
Once again, captain Ollie Tipton came up good from the spot to give his side the lead, as the defender notched his fourth goal of season, thanks to Wolves being awarded their fourth penalty in as many league matches.
Having deservedly taken the lead, Ryan’s side continued to put Leeds under pressure and were rewarded for their efforts with their second of the afternoon with five minutes remaining as substitute Ty Barnett fired home.
On another victory for the under-18s
“It was a pleasing performance,” Ryan said, “and it was pleasing as well to get another clean sheet which makes in two in a row now, which is really good.
"Without the ball I thought we were really in control and our shape was very good, and although Leeds had quite a bit of possession, they never really opened us up, and had to settle for just a couple of long shots from distance and a couple of corners.
“We gained the ball well on the counter, but I think we should have maybe taken better opportunities when we did have the chances in the final third.
“We still had a few misplaced passes, bad touches or poor decisions, which gave away quite a few opportunities to score more than we did.”
On the fourth penalty of the season
“Ollie’s a very good penalty taker, but we’re getting them because of how lively we are as an attacking unit.
“We controlled the game out of possession with our shape and there were no spaces between the lines and when we regain the ball, we counter really well.
“Our front three of Lee Harkin, Tyler Roberts and Owen Hesketh and the wing-backs of Harry Birtwistle and Dexter Lembikisa, come forwards as a front five with a lot of pace and are really lively, cause a lot of headaches for defenders and they get penalties.
“We’ve had quite a few this year and to be fair to ‘Tippo’ he hasn’t missed one yet. Although he’s a centre-back, he’s always taken the penalties throughout his years with the Academy because he’s a really good technician.
“From his position in the middle of the back three, you need to have those skills; we know about his great range of passing, his great disguised passes and he’s really confident when he’s taking penalties because he can put them either side, so the keeper’s never sure where he’s going to put them, which is a great skill to have.”
The under-18s are not back in league action for a fortnight, but they will get underway in a new competition for this season, the U17 Premier League Cup, which replaces the old U18 Premier League Cup, on Tuesday evening when they travel to Derby County for a 7pm kick-off.
On rotating the pack for the cup
“With it being an under-17 tournament, we looked at it being an opportunity for a few of our younger players to come into the team,” Ryan added. “It’s an opportunity for them to make a claim for a place in the team.
“It’s difficult for us to change our league team at the moment off the back of two wins, but three of the team will have to come out on Tuesday night because of their age, so that gives players like Ty Barnett, who came on and scored on Saturday, and Amarie Brown an opportunity to start.
“It gives the schoolboys and the first-year scholars who haven’t been getting minutes an opportunity to play in a good, competitive environment and really perform and stake their case to be in the team.”
27/11 Derby County (A) U17 PLC
07/11 Liverpool (H)
21/11 Sunderland (A)
25/11 West Bromwich Albion (H) U17 PLC
28/11 Middlesbrough (H)
Wolves: O’Shaughnessy, Lembikisa, Mabete, Tipton, Hubner, Birtwistle, Scicluna, Hodnett, Hesketh, Harkin (Forrester 87), Roberts (Barnett 60).
Unused subs: Kandola.
Leeds: van den Heuvel, Kachosa, Leverett (Rugby 62), Suttcliffe, Moore, Dean, Littlewood, Hughes (Fewster 46), McMillan, Bray, Allen
Unused subs: Christy, Pilkington, Chikukwa.