Derby County 1 (Grewal-Pollard 82) Wolves 1 (Tipton 50 (p))
Oliver Tipton’s penalty was cancelled out by a late equaliser from Will Grewal-Pollard as Wolves drew 1-1 with Derby County in the U18 Premier League North.
Tipton dispatched his spot-kick confidently to give Steve Davis’ side a deserved lead just after half-time. But after a tight battle in which both teams had chances, Derby levelled to claim a point against a young Wolves line-up.
Early on in the game, both sides had plenty of opportunities to open the scoring. Ty Barnett blitzed down the left-hand side and had a strike at goal, forcing a save out of Derby goalkeeper Alfie Roberts. The hosts the had a chance of their own through Malik Mothersille, who’s shot rebounded back off the post.
Barnett would then find himself through on goal again after some more brilliant work out wide, but he failed to keep his shot down and fired over the bar.
After the break, Wolves finally took the lead. Nathan Fraser was brought down in the area, giving Tipton the chance to score his eighth penalty of the season and he obliged with a powerful finish.
The game would slow down after the goal as Wolves tried to manage their lead, with Derby pressing for an equaliser and despite the half having limited chances the hosts did level late on.
Grewal-Pollard found himself in space on the edge of the area and the left-back curled a superb effort into the top corner past Joe Young who could not get a hand on it.
Justin Hubner had an effort blocked in stoppage time for Wolves, but neither side would be able to grab a second goal and the points were shared.
On the performance
“I’m really happy with the performance,” Davis said. “I thought we were the better team and we were good throughout.
“We probably had more control in the first half and in the second half we didn’t take are chances. We had a couple of sitters in the first half that we could have capitalised on and not blasted over or have the keeper save it.
“We had a lot of shots on goal today and because of that and the percentage of shots we had we should’ve won the game.”
On the goals
“I thought we deserved it. I just said we need a goal to change the game and to have something to defend.
“I thought we could make a cushion and get another one but we couldn’t quite manage a second one to secure the game so at 1-0 there’s always a chance and they put the big man on and looked for bits and bobs and it paid off for them in the end.”
On the young line-up and recent form
“We’ve had four draws and one defeat. We’ve been ahead like today and allowed them back in. But we’re giving opportunities to the younger players as well, looking for scholars next year so we were a lot younger than them today in terms of what we put out there on the pitch.
“When you do that, obviously things are going to be a bit more difficult due to the inexperience of the lads that aren’t even scholars yet.
“We had a young team at the end, we had four or five schoolboys on the pitch who are still learning, so it was tough. Credit to the lads, we’ve had three tough games this week and I think they’ve come through it with flying colours, I thought they were excellent.”
The under-18s are back in action on Wednesday evening as they host Manchester City in the Premier League North at AFC Telford United’s New Bucks Head. They then travel to Thorp Arch Training Ground to face Leeds United on Saturday lunchtime.
24/02 Manchester City (H)
27/02 Leeds United (A)
06/03 Newcastle United (H)
20/03 Liverpool (A)
25/03 Sunderland (A)
Derby: Roberts, Moore, Grewal-Pollard, Trialist, Trialist, Jinkinson, Brailsford (Cybulski 56), Ibrahim (Sebagabo 65), Dixon, Rogers (Kelly 79), Mothersille.
Unused subs: Randle, Moloney.
Wolves: Young, Kandola, Tipton, Hubner, Keto-Diyawa, Francis-Burrell, Harkin (Bailey 78), Hodnett, Fraser (Rees 68), Barnett (Farmer 62), Bugarin.
Unused Subs: O’Shaughnessy, Mabete.
Words by Jack Johnson