Crystal Palace 1 (Ola-Ademomi 9) Wolves 1 (Fraser 90)
Wolves win 6-5 on penalties
Wolves under-18s progressed into the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup following a dramatic sudden-death penalty shootout victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Although starting brightly, Steve Davis’ young side fell behind to a Ademola Ola-Adebomi opener as the Wolves defence were unable to clear the ball and the Palace striker reacted to poke the ball home.
Despite pushing hard, it took until the third minute of added time for Wolves to get their equaliser as Nathan Fraser headed home to send the game to extra time. With the teams unable to be separated, the tie ended in penalties.
Although Wolves found themselves 4-2 behind at one stage, goalkeeper Palmi Arinbjornsson made a crucial save with Palace looking to go 6-5 ahead, which left Ackeme Francis-Burrell the chance to seal Wolves’ place in the next stage of the competition, and he obliged, firing high into the roof of the net.
With confidence high among the group of the back of two dominant victories over Salford City in the last round of the competition and versus Stoke City in U18 Premier League North ahead of the new year, the visitors began the contest on the front foot.
Neat work by Tyler Roberts down the right saw his cross eventually reach the path of the onrushing Harvey Griffiths on the edge of the Palace box, but the midfielder’s effort was blocked behind.
However, slack defending from the gold and black shirts allowed Palace to take the lead as Ola-Ademoni picked up the ball from a throw-in in line with the Wolves penalty area, before skipping the tackles of the Wolves defenders and, at the second attempt, bundling the ball past Arinbjornsson.
The teams were evenly matched throughout the first-half as would be expected, with Wolves and Palace both occupying the fourth place spot in their respective leagues – the hosts in the southern division and Wolves in the northern.
However, Wolves pushed hard for an equalising goal, and Roberts’ pace almost proved dividends as he raced through the Palace midfield and having played a pass out wide left to Ty Barnett, his curling effort from 12 yards out went back across the penalty area and unexpectedly found the head of Fraser, who was unable to nudge the ball home.
Davis’ side were denied a way back into the game following an outstanding stop by Palace keeper Joe Whitworth, who was at full stretch to palm Josh Esen’s low shot around the post, after the Welsh youngster had been picked out on another swift counter-attack.
Although it looked as though time had run out for Wolves to snatch a vital equaliser, the side did not give up and pushed until the last second, which is when Fraser was picked out inside the penalty area by Owen Falmer, and the Tettenhall-born striker glanced his header beyond Whitworth to cue jubilant scenes from the gold and black shirts as he sent the tie into extra-time.
With both sides tiring as the half, and suffering from cramp, neither were able to create chances of real significance, which meant the match headed to penalties.
Raymond (Palace) SCORES 1-0
Griffiths (Wolves) SCORES 1-1
Wells-Morrison (Palace) SCORES 2-1
Keto-Diyawa (Wolves) SCORES 2-2
Rodney (Palace) SCORES 3-2
Esen (Wolves) MISSES 3-2
Ola-Adebomi (Palace) SCORES 4-2
Lembikisa (Wolves) SCORES 4-3
Akinwale (Palace) MISSES 4-3
Tipton (Wolves) SCORES 4-4
Vigor (Palace) SCORES 5-4
Roberts (Wolves) SCORES 5-5
Cadogan (Palace) MISSES 5-5
Francis-Burrell (Wolves) SCORES 5-6
The under-18s will find out who they face in the fifth round on the FA Youth Cup on Friday afternoon as they host the winner of Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion at Molineux in February. Before then, the team return to action away at Nottingham Forest on Saturday lunchtime.
22/01 Nottingham Forest (A)
27/01 Middlesbrough (H)
To be confirmed (H) FAYC
19/02 Liverpool (A)
26/01 Derby County (A)
Palace: Whitworth, Rodney, Adaramola (Vigor 111), Ozoh (Bell 112), Sheridan, Bartley, Nascimento (Cadogan 73), Wells-Morrison, Akinwale, Ola-Adebomi, Mooney (Raymond 86).
Unused subs: Goodman, Dixon, Barton.
Wolves: Arinbjornsson, Birtwistle, Kandola, Tipton, Hubner (Keto-Diwaya 86), Lembikisa, Griffiths, Rees (Farmer 66), Roberts, Fraser (Francis-Burrell 97), Barnett (Esen 74).
Unused subs: Amos, Mabete, Ojinnaka.