Under-18 report | Wolves 0-1 Man United

Wolves 0-1 Manchester United (McNeil 61)

Wolves under-18s lost their unbeaten home record this season after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Compton Park.

United were the stronger side throughout and deserved their slender victory, despite Wolves showing glimpses of promise throughout the 90 minutes.

During the opening stages, United were seeing a lot of the ball in midfield, but were finding it hard to break down the resolute back three of Wolves.

The visitors’ first real attempt came from Charlie Wellens, who tried his luck from a free-kick after 25 minutes, but his effort flew over the bar, failing to test the Wolves goalkeeper.  

Harry Birtwistle had moved from left to right and was proving a threat, particularly when he beat his man and squared for Lee Harkin, but the attacker couldn’t take his opportunity.  

Harkin had a better chance to break the deadlock 10 minutes before the interval, however, after pouncing on a mistake, the number seven raced through one on one with the goalkeeper, but fired wide.

The opening goal finally arrived just after the hour mark and fell for United, as Charlie McNeil’s neat finish found the bottom corner to provide the visitors a real lift.

Sam Savage was unlucky not to double their lead with an effort from distance, while Harkin passed up two openings to equalise for Wolves, who were out of luck and out of points.


Post-match, head coach Steve Davis said: “To sum it up quickly, I think they were better than us. We had to change things early in the game, they were seeing more of the ball, but we had the best chance in the game to go 1-0 up. It could have changed the game if he took the chance.

“Second-half we spoke about how we could have change the game, we had a chance that the goalkeeper parried away. All in all things, could have gone differently but like I say, they deserved the win.”

Birtwistle moved to right-wing back early in the first-half, which worked to good effect, according to Davis.

“I thought he could have dealt with their number 11 better. I thought Jack was struggling, hence why we swapped them. I felt if they were going to score, it was going to be from that period, they were getting around the outside a few times. Not only that, but from an attacking point of view, they can offer something different.”

Harkin enjoyed the best of the chances, particularly in the opening period, and Davis admits they were key moments.

“It's all hypothetical but yeah, I guess it could have changed something in the game. We were under pressure at that time, he latched onto the mistake, he just lacked a bit of composure, couldn't really get his feet right to finish. It wasn't to be."

However, attention now turns to the FA Youth Cup, in which Wolves take on Norwich City, and Davis will now alter his mindset.

“We haven't looked at that one yet, we were focusing on United. The lads were in Sunday, so we sat down for a cool down, a bit of training, and we started to look at Norwich. I've been down to watch them a few times this season, we will do the tactical work.”


Wolves: Young, Scott, Kandola, Tipton, Hubner, Birtwistle, Hodnett (Keto-Diyawa 84), Scicluna (Ojinnaka 75), Hesketh, Harkin, Bugarin (Lembikisa 64).

Unused subs: Arinbjornsson, McLeod.

Man Untied: Mee, Gomez, Bennett, Hardley, Hughes, Savage, Svidersky, Iqbal, Wellens (Hoogewerf 65), Emeran (Garnacho 84), McNeill (Hansen-Aaroen 75).

Unused subs: Guadagno.