Wolves 3 (Tipton 12 (p), Farmer 32, Birtwistle 36) Sunderland 1 (Fieldson 48)
Wolves under-18s returned to winning ways as they saw off strugglers Sunderland by three goals to one at the New Bucks Head – a repeat scoreline of the reverse fixture just a fortnight ago.
Oliver Tipton, Owen Farmer and Harry Birtwistle all dispatched first-half strikes before Henry Fieldson netted a consolation for the visitors in the second period.
Steve Davis’ side started with real intent and could easily have been three to the good even before the opener, with Farmer and Birtwistle failing to convert clear-cut opportunities; the latter denied by a stunning save from Richardson who tipped his effort onto the crossbar.
Sunderland’s resolve didn’t last long, however. In the aftermath of a Wolves set-piece, Farmer was tripped inside the penalty box by Chapman, leaving the referee with no choice but to point to the spot.
Tipton duly converted the subsequent spot-kick, scoring low to the goalkeepers left, the defender’s ninth successful penalty of the season.
McKenzie Diccio almost fired the Black Cats right back into it, a vicious free-kick which saw the visitors smack the woodwork themselves, in what was the only real first-half scare for Wolves.
The hosts added twice to their tally before the half-time whistle with two really well taken goals. Owen Farmer first notched his third goal in four appearances when he took O’Shaughnessy’s long ball into his stride before lashing across the goalkeeper, before sublime work from Lee Harkin gave Birtwistle a tap in with a chip to the back post.
The home side struggled to transfer the momentum sustained from the first period into the second, and Sunderland’s Henry Fieldson capitalised when he nodded in a from an early corner to deny Wolves their clean sheet.
The away team showed desire to get themselves back into the game but was kept largely at bay, ensuring all three points remained with the hosts at the New Bucks Head.
Steve Davis was frustrated with a below par second half but was pleased with the result overall.
He said: “It’s always is frustrating when you fail to back up the first-half display with a second one. Sometimes games pan out like that.
“In the first period, I thought we well worth our three-goal advantage, could have even got a couple more, such was our dominance.
“Second-half, they came out and really had a go, credit to them for that. They rolled their sleeves up and competed well, scored an early goal that gave them a bit of fighting spirit, they made it hard for us in the end.
“It was uncomfortable, but we managed to win, so I’m pleased about that. But we have to be better and put two halves together, rather than just the one.”
On Farmer’s goalscoring form
“He’s still a young schoolboy, just came into the team. He’s been really good, really lively.
“He’s got an eye for a goal, he can finish. We’re working on him getting into the right positions. He took his goal really well.”
On ambitions for the rest of the season
“I’m happy with where we’re at, we have to keep giving the players opportunities.
“We’ve had a lot of injuries, so we’ve had to rely on the young lads, we have to keep giving them chances and look to improve them.
“In the week we gave one or two trialists a game to have a look at them, we’re looking ahead for next season now and how we can build.”
Two tricky away ties are next on the agenda for the under-18s, with trips to Middlesbrough and Manchester United coming up over the next fortnight for Steve Davis’ men.
17/04 Middlesbrough (A)
24/04 Manchester United (A)
01/05 Everton (H)
08/05 Newcastle United (A)
Wolves: O’Shaughnessy, Kaleta (Kandola 75), Mabete, Tipton, Hubner, Keto-Diyawa, Allen (Ojinnaka 64), Hodnett, Harkin, Birtwistle (Francis-Burrell 46), Farmer.
Unused subs: Arinbjornsson.
Sunderland: Richardson, Irons, Banbridge, Jones, Krakue, Fieldson, Diccio (Cain 90), Kelly, Eardner, Chapman (Ryder 91), Okoronkwo.
Unused subs: Bassey, Williams.
Words by George Coombes.