Wolves 1 (Kandola 16) Manchester City 4 (Hamilton 20, 56, Sodje 70, 74)
Two doubles from Manchester City’s Micah Hamilton and Tai Sodje condemned Wolves’ under-18s to defeat despite Karam Kandola’s early opener at the New Bucks Head.
It was a frustrating first-half for Steve Davis’ side who lost forwards Ty Barnett and Tyler Roberts through injury concerns. Wolves nonetheless battled on and took the lead via a well-worked set-piece won by an initial foul on the former.
Jack Hodnett picked out Kandola whose expertly taken looping header gave the hosts the perfect start in Telford.
Sodje’s nod for the visitors, which was glanced marginally over the bar moments after Kandola’s effort, gave Wolves a warning sign of the pressure to come from the Citizens.
In City’s following attack, Hamilton made no mistake to level the scores as he fired low to the left of goalkeeper Palmi Arinbjornsson when the ball fell kindly to him in the Wolves penalty area.
Wolves struggled with the loss of two of their key performers in the opening period and were punished in the second-half as the away side began to show their dominance.
Hamilton got his second of the evening on 56 minutes after his set-piece guided past everyone in gold and black and flew into the bottom corner.
City strook the woodwork twice from close range, with both Jadel Katongo and Liam Smith going close, before the game was put to bed in the closing stages.
Harvey Griffiths dazzled past numerous challenges before picking out Sodje to tap home for his first, before the latter added to his tally shortly after by meeting Hamilton’s dangerous free-kick delivery to score his second of the evening.
Hodnett was shown two yellow cards in quick succession in the final moments to cap off a disappointing night for Wolves, who remain in fourth position in the Premier League Under-18 North.
Head coach Steve Davis was frustrated to lose two key men in the opening period and acknowledged the tricky task his young players were faced with.
He said: “We always know playing Man City it will be a tough game for us. It was a good challenge. Losing two of our best players in the first half was a blow, it was always going to be difficult for the young lads coming on.
“I thought we contained them quite well in the first-half, restricting them to minimal chances and went in at 1-1. We had a few little half chances where we perhaps could have done better.
“Second-half, we failed to pick up with two wide free-kicks which led directly to goals, the first one being a real killer which knocked the stuffing out the lads.
“If we can work on dealing with those situations then all of a sudden the margin of defeat becomes smaller, but we’re disappointed with those two goals.
“When it was 3-1 and then 4-1 we started to play some good stuff, sometimes with the pressure off that’s what it can do to players. We have to work on playing like that at 0-0 and be braver on the ball.”
On set-piece defending
“We’ve got to defend them better. The goalkeeper should do better with the first one and we should deal with them better as a team.
“It’s a static situation which means we have time to get in the right positions and head it away so disappointed with them goals and it gives us something to work on.”
On losing Barnett and Roberts to injury
“It was a big frustration because it came so early in the game. They’re both key players for what we were trying to do in the game tactically and in terms if our preparation.
“It was tough but fair play to the lads who came on, they kept trying and that’s all you can ask sometimes.”
Next up the under-18s is a trip to Leeds United on Saturday, a 1pm kick off at their Thorp Arch training complex. Davis’ side then return to home soil for the visit of Newcastle United the following weekend.
27/02 Leeds United (A)
06/03 Newcastle United (H)
20/03 Liverpool (A)
25/03 Sunderland (A)
10/04 Sunderland (H)
Wolves: Arinbjornsson, Birtwistle, Kandola, Tipton, Hubner (Farmer 78), Keto-Diyawa, Francis-Burrell, Hodnett, Harkin, Barnett (Bugarin 16), Roberts (Fraser 25).
Unused Subs: O’Shaughnessy, Mabete.
Man City: McNamara, Oduroh, Katongo, S. Charles, Larios, Griffiths, Hamilton, Bobb (Breckin 80), Borges (Mebude 78), Smith, Sodje (Adam 80).
Unused subs: P. Charles, Taylor.
Words by George Coombes