Under-18 report | Wolves 2-1 Blackburn

Wolves 2 (Roberts 18, Tipton 83 (p)) Blackburn Rovers 1 (Wood 72)

Wolves under-18s were back to winning ways this weekend with a hard-earned victory over Blackburn Rogers at the Sir Jack Haywood Training Ground.

Tyler Roberts gave Wolves an early lead going into the break before Oliver Tipton’s penalty cancelled out the away side’s equaliser in the second-half.

The conditions at Compton Park were not what head coach Steve Davis and his side would have hoped for going into the U18 Premier League North tie. The turbulent wind was boisterous throughout the 90 minutes and caused problems for the defensive lines.

Whilst both sides were finding their feet and adjusting to the weather, they battled for possession in the centre of the field. Roberts found the end of a venomously whipped cross by Aaron Keto-Diyawa but his headed effort was into the ground and easy for Felix Goddard to save in goal.

The Wolves winger would continue his fine scoring form minutes later. Picking up the ball in a familiar right-wing position, he jinxed his way into the area before drilling a low shot across Goddard. The ball rocketed into the bottom left corner giving the goalkeeper no chance of getting a hand to it.

Despite their early control of the match, the home side ended the half on the backfoot. A plethora of last-minute fouls saw the referee hand out three yellow cards in a matter of minutes to Wolves ending the half in a heated manner.

Half-time | Wolves 1-0 Blackburn

The visitors started the second-half as well as they ended the first. Goalkeeper Jimmy Storer was called into action almost immediately after the restart with Adam Caddick’s curling cross from deep flew through a crowd of players before bouncing just over the crossbar.

Blackburn’s warning signs were there when James Edmondson’s finessed shot from outside the area rattled off the post, but Wolves couldn’t handle the Rovers pressure and Harrison Wood would later level the scores. George Chmiel’s strike inside the area was brilliantly saved by Storer but the Wolves keeper could only palm the effort into the path of Wood who tapped into an open net.

The game was on a knife’s edge and Storer was relied on once again after the restart, saving low to his right before Wolves would have a chance of their own minutes later. Owen Farmer was released through the middle and found himself one-on-one with Goddard. To his misfortunes, the number nine smashed his shot narrowly over the crossbar.

However, Wolves’ goal scorer would soon turn provider. Similarly, to Farmer, Roberts found space through the middle and was played one-on-one. His counterpart did well to catch up to him before tumbling over the winger inside the area conceding a penalty. Tipton stepped up to the spot and blasted the ball down the middle sending the goalkeeper flying to the right.

Wolves avoided a late scare when second-half substitute Junior N’Sangou headed a deep corner onto the left post of Storer’s goal, leaving the travelling supporters with their heads in their hands.

Full-time | Wolves 2-1 Blackburn


Under-18s head coach Steve Davis was pleased with his side’s performance despite the treacherous conditions. He said: “The conditions dictated the match. It was hard for both teams to play with it being very windy on the pitch. So, in terms of that it was a game of two halves.

“I thought we started the game really well with the wind, played some really good football in the first 20 minutes. We knew in the second half turning it around would be difficult, playing against the wind. We spoke about that the most during halftime on how to deal with the wind in the second half and what they will try to do. I thought we did really well to deal with it and they had a limited number of chances.

“We switched off a little bit for their goal they scored but we left Tinks [Tyler Roberts] up the pitch and he always gives you a chance to score off the break and we got the penalty and scored. I thought we deserved the win, I thought we were better than them today.

“Our performance was on a good level and we have lads still trying to get fit because they haven’t played a lot, they didn’t play in the FA Youth Cup. There’s only three or four of these boys who did play in the cup. A lot of these lads are mainly first years we had some schoolboys come on as well which we used from the other game. All in all, I’m pleased with the result and the performance.”

On a change of formation during the second-half

“We went into a five at the back because of the number of players they were committing forward. They were trying to create an overload in the front areas so we felt we needed another defender there so we dropped the deep player into the five.

“Tippo [Oliver Tipton] dropped in and then we played with a five at the back with a three protecting the front. It took us maybe ten minutes to get used to that and they scored but I thought the last ten or fifteen minutes were quite end to end and we are always a threat with Owen [Farmer] up top.”

On Tyler Roberts’ performance

“He’s been playing consistently now; he always makes an impact on games. We try and improve other aspects of his game but he’s always a goal threat and he always looks to put the opposition on the back foot which I think he did well today.”

On his aims for the rest of the season

“A lot of the second years have moved on to the under-23s now and they’re doing really well. We’ve got one or two players who are in the transition from the 18s to the 23s programme so maybe dropping down the play games with the 18s but training with the 23s in the week.

“Then we’re looking to give more of an introduction to the schoolboys for next year now. We’re looking at that and what we’ll have as a squad next season, so I think the focus is always on what’s coming up next. Some of the games will be quite tough, demanding and challenging for us but we have to challenge our players and that’s what we’ll do.”


Wolves face time off with the international break next week. However, Davis is looking forward to a tough game away to Nottingham Forest the following week.

“We have international break and then we’ll come in on the Sunday to prepare for the game on Tuesday,” Davis said. “They’re are a good side and they’ve done really well in the FA Youth Cup.

“They’re still to play their semi-final so they could get to the final. It will be a tough game; it was a tough one here. Forest have done very well this year and it will be a tough game.”


29/03 Nottingham Forest (A)

02/04 Manchester City (A)

09/04 Everton (H)

12/04 Manchester United (A)

19/04 Liverpool (H)


Wolves: Storer, Diomande (Ashworth 41) (Harper 67), Keto-Diyawa, Mabete, Kandola, Tipton, Roberts, Francis-Burrell, Farmer, Ojinnaka, Esen.

Unused Subs: Amos, Salmon, Voice.

Blackburn: Goddard, Mallon, Batty, O’Grady, Gamble, Olson, Duru, Edmondson, Chmiel (N’Sangou 78), Caddick, Wood.

Unused Subs: Wilson, Honor, Taylor, Stritch.

By Tom Alston