Under-18 report | Wolves 0-3 Nottingham Forest

Wolves 0-3 Nottingham Forest (Taylor 14 & 71, Gardner 74)

Steve Davis’ young Wolves side were beaten 3-0 by Nottingham Forest at Compton Park in the U18 Premier League North on Saturday afternoon.

Dale Taylor gave the visitors the lead in the first-half, before adding another after the break and the three points were then sealed when Joe Gardner made it three for Nottingham Forest.

Despite a positive start by Wolves, it was the away side who took the lead. Gardner was brought down in the area and Taylor stepped up to take the penalty, smashing the ball past Palmi Arinbjornsson and giving Forest the lead.

There was almost an instant reply from Davis’ side though, as Owen Farmer found Nathan Fraser with a floating ball but the striker was unable to keep his effort on target.

Continued pressure from Wolves before and after the half-time break, led to Farmer having a great chance to level the scores. He found himself on the end of a cut-back but blazed his shot over the bar.

Forest then took control of the game from then on and dominated with plenty of chances. The lead would eventually be doubled by Taylor who rounded Arinbjornsson and netted his second of the game.

A few minutes later, Gardner would seal the win by adding the third after a fortunate bounce in the penalty area from a corner gave him a simple finish.

The defeat means Wolves drop down to eighth in the league table after what was their first loss since October.


On the game  

Wolves boss Davis expressed his disappointment after the defeat, but gave some perspective on the result. He said: “Obviously, I’m disappointed with the result. We knew it’d be a tough game with the team we had out. We had a really young team today.”

Many of the regular under-18 players have recently been included in the under-23 matchday squads and Davis is happy to see them progressing.

“The positive thing is that we have a lot of our usual players playing with the under-23s at the moment and that’s what we're here for to promote them and give them the opportunity which I think five or six of them had,” he said proudly.

“Obviously then there’s a knock-on effect with some of the younger boys, we had some 14/15-year-olds out there today. But it gives us that opportunity to look at where they are and I think that was something we reflected on after.”

On tactical changes

At half-time, Wolves changed formation to a back five. Davis explained his decision to switch it up on what was a very windy day at Compton Park.

He said: “We knew with the wind travelling quite quickly that they’d try and put balls in behind, which they did. We felt that our forwards struggled with their five and that they were getting forward so we changed to having five at the back to cope with that type of pass in behind.

“The problem with that is you’re putting another player behind the ball and you’re not being able to get up the pitch as much as you’d like to. Whilst it probably helped at one end of the pitch, we didn’t help ourselves in other areas.”


Next up, the under-18s have a fixture in the third round of the FA Youth Cup. The fixture will be played at Molineux where Salford City are the visitors. Wolves will be looking to bounce back after this defeat with a cup victory.

Davis looked ahead to the game. He said: “We’ll work on it tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday. There’s a lot of players dropping down from the under-23s that will play and they’re [Saturday’s team] the ones who will be fighting for places. Today was a good indication of who should play and who shouldn’t.”


08/12 Salford City (H) FAYC

18/12 Stoke City (A)

08/01 Liverpool (H)

15/01 Middlesbrough (A)

22/01 Nottingham Forest (A)


Wolves: Arinbjornsson, Shahar, Keto-Diyawa, Rees, Voice, Mabete, Esen, Francis-Burrell, Fraser (McLeod 63), Farmer, Reynolds (Ashworth 45).

Unused subs: Amos, Clarke, Harper.

Nottingham Forest: Bott, Abbott, McAdam, Collins (Clarridge 73), Johnson, Hanks (Barker 80), Gardner, McDonnell (Thompson 67), Esapa Osong, Nadin, Taylor.

Unused subs: Akers, Perry.

By Jack Johnson