U18 report | Wolves 3-1 Derby

Wolves 3 (Angel 31, 34, Mane 59) Derby County 1 (McAndrew 7)

Goals from Dani Angel and Mateus Mane gave Wolves under-18s a 3-1 victory over Derby County as they secured a third-place finish in the U18 Premier League. 

Despite falling behind early on, two quickfire goals from Angel gave Wolves the lead going into the break, before U18 debutant Mane made it three just shy of the hour mark.

The result confirmed a top three finish for Richard Walker’s side, who brought their 2023/24 campaign to a close in style at Compton Park with a fourth win on the spin.

The visitors started the game the better side and capitalised on the promising early start with a goal from Niall McAndrew in the seventh minute.

Defender Luke Banks played a long ball over the top of the Wolves defence as McAndrew got on the end of it, before he faced an onrushing Lewys Benjamin in the Wolves goal and lobbed the ball over the goalkeeper to open the scoring.

The home side had improved by the 20th minute, with Luke Rawlings and Makenzie Bradbury in particular in the Wolves midfield starting to dominate the game as Wolves responded well.

A loose ball from the Derby defence saw Angel break free, however his effort was met by a great save by Jack Thompson in the Derby goal.

The Old Gold levelled as they won the ball high up the pitch before Mane, from the right side of the penalty area, put the ball across goal for an unmarked Angel to finish at the back post.

Wolves then took the lead just three minutes later when Conor McLeod picked the ball up on the right-hand side, cut inside onto his left foot and put a great cross in for Angel to head the home side in front for his tenth U18 PL goal of the campaign.

As half-time approached, Derby failed to respond and Wolves continued to dominate, keeping the ball well and creating several chances for shooting opportunities, but could not find a third before the interval.

Half-time | Wolves 2-1 Derby County

The second half continued as the first ended, with Walker’s side coming out stronger and making a positive start.

Debutant Mane made his name known on his first U18 start as he scored Wolves’ third goal. Mane received the ball just inside the Derby half and flicked it over his marker, before driving at the Rams’ goal from the right side, cutting onto his left foot and finishing low at the near post.

The away side kept pushing for a second goal, with their best chance since the Wolves goal coming when Cruz Allen’s great ball across goal could not be converted by a sliding Justin Oguntolu.

Derby went close again just four minutes later as Marley Mintus drove at the Wolves defence and crossed a low ball into Oguntolu, inside the six-yard-box, as the number nine got on the end of the cross but failed to get a good connection to fire it past Benjamin.

The 75-minute mark approached, and the away side still probed for a second as they were pushing more players forward but were left frustrated by the Wolves defence.

Wolves captain Hayden Carson was instrumental to his side’s strong defensive performance in the second half as they limited Derby to minimal chances in the final 20 minutes of the game.

The game management was brilliant from Wolves as they slowed the game down to their tempo for the final stages and saw out the game for all three points in their final game of the season.

Full-time | Wolves 3-1 Derby County


Wolves | Benjamin, White (Gidaree 62), Carson, Igbinoghene, Nyakudya (Osifo 62), Bradbury, Reynolds, Rawlings, Mane, McLeod (Harper 62), Angel.

Subs not used | Ji, Hardy.

Derby | Thompson, Gordon, Gough, Banks (Cox 46), Hawkins, Tola (Marriott 79), Green (Mintus 54), Agustien, Eames, McAndrew (Allen 46), Oguntolu.

Subs not used | Shattell.

Report by Callum Greybanks