Liverpool 4 (Woltman 45, 81, Gordon 75, 90+1 (p)) Wolves 1 (Farmer 50)
A late trio of goals saw Wolves under-18s fall to an undeserving heavy defeat against an experienced Liverpool side.
Having struggled to create many clear-cut chances in the first-half of their U18 Premier League North contest, Wolves found themselves behind heading into the break, after Max Woltman’s precise finish gave the Reds a lead on the stroke of half-time.
But Wolves came out a different team after the interval and were rewarded for their positive play with the equalising goal just five minutes into the second-half. After regaining possession in their own half, Lee Harkin led Wolves on the charge, slipping the ball into half-time substitute Owen Farmer, who clipped the ball over the Liverpool keeper for his second goal in three appearances for the under-18s.
Buoyed by their equalising effort, Wolves began a period of domination, controlling much of the play for the subsequent 20 minutes, and having efforts of their own, however, they were unable to take the ones which fell their way.
In a cruel final 15 minutes, Wolves ended up conceding three goals, as Kaide Gordon beat old gold keeper Palmi Arinbjornsson and then Woltman scored his second just six minutes later.
A contentious decision went against Wolves in added time, as Fil Mabete was adjudged to have fouled Gordon in the area, although Davis argues his defender made a well-timed challenge, but Gordon himself stepped up and dispatched the spotkick for his second of the afternoon.
Head coach Davis was felt the final result was unfair on his young side and not reflective of the way the game played out at Liverpool Academy.
He said: “We played against a really strong Liverpool side in comparison to ourselves. They put their second years out and went very strong, which I think was a huge respect to us.
“We began the game with a 3-5-2 and nullified them to a degree, but we couldn’t really create any opportunities for ourselves because we were tyring to hard to stop them. We couldn’t get much control or put the transitions in place to create anything and I thought we gave them too much respect.
“At half-time we went 3-4-3, got an extra player into the attack and it stretched Liverpool more and we started the second-half superbly well. I had some words to say at half-time and that had an immediate impact, and as soon as the whistle went, we were on top and scored.
“We had a couple of really good opportunities and could have gone one or two up, which would have really changed the direction of the game because for 20 minutes we were dominant. But we eased off and let them back in the game.”
On allowing the game to slip away
“We made a couple of individual mistakes for the second and third goals, and that saw the game peter out a little bit.
“Then the referee gave them a penalty for nothing really. I thought it was a really good tackle from Fil, just inside the box, but he saw it as a penalty.
“It was really unfortunate, and I don’t think we deserved the outcome that we got. Particularly in the second-half, we gave them a lot of problems and the game was a lot closer.
“They had much of the first-half and we had control in the majority of the second, so a little bit unfortunate to lose the game by that margin, and was a lot closer than the score suggests.”
On a second goal in three for Farmer
“I thought Owen gave us some energy in the second-half, made some great runs in behind and stretched Liverpool out.
“He took his goal really well, making a run down the side before taking the shot early and caught the keeper out at the near post. A super finish.
“I was really pleased with the impact he had in the second-half, both in and out of possession. His game is getting better, we’re working with him on his finishing and his subtle movements. We’ll continue to do that and he’ll continue to get opportunities as a schoolboy with our group.”
The under-18s are back in action on Saturday afternoon, as Steve Davis’ young side take on Sunderland at New Bucks Head. Kick off at the home of AFC Telford United will be 1pm.
Davis said it will be a difficult task for his side having only played the Black Cats two weeks ago, adding: “They’ll have an idea of what we do if we play the same way that we did and they’ll know what to expect.
“They put us under pressure and got back into the game when we played up there, so it will be interesting to see how they set up.
“We might look at what we do, do some things a bit different, but we’ll have to assess who’s fit and ready to go again on Saturday, and if we need to change things, we will do.”
10/04 Sunderland (H)
17/04 Middlesbrough (A)
24/04 Manchester United (A)
01/05 Everton (H)
08/05 Newcastle United (A)
Liverpool: Mrozek, Wilson, Jonas, Koumetio (Quansah 46), Chambers, Stephenson, Gordon, Corness, Musialowski (McConnell 87), Balagizi, Woltman.
Unused subs: Kelly, Bajcetic, Scanlon.
Wolves: Arinbjornsson, Birtwistle, Mabete, Tipton, Hubner, Keto-Diyawa (Ojinnaka 79), Francis-Burrell (Farmer 46), Hodnett, Rees (Trialist 61), Bugarin, Harkin.
Unused subs: O’Shaughnessy, Fraser.