The Road To The Play-Offs

The Wolves Under 23s have reached the play-offs in this season's Premier League 2, Division 2 competition.

In a season where Scott Sellars’ side have played in the league, the Checkatrade Trophy, the Premier League Cup and also the Birmingham Senior cup, the Under 23s have had some success in all competitions. The play-offs will take place on… at Molineux as 2nd placed Wolves will take on 6th placed West Ham United. Wolves finished the season comfortably in second behind Swansea City with 41 points from their 22 games, here is a brief summary of each league game to remind you how they got there…

Wolves Under 23s: P22, W12, D5, L5 - Points 41.

Aston Villa, Away
Won 0 - 1

The young Wolves began the season with a local derby, away to Aston Villa. It was a tight contest, and a game in which Wolves played the remaining 25 minutes with 10 men following an injury to Dan Armstrong. The Under 23s showed no ill-effects of the one man disadvantage - an 89th minute Morgan Gibbs-White winner saw Wolves begin the season in the best possible manner.

Swansea City - New Bucks Head
Att. 215
Lost 3 - 4

Wolves then came up against the would-be champions of Premier League 2, division 2. An entertaining game at the Under 23’s home for the season, Telford’s New Bucks Head - the Under 23s took the lead in the game through Christian Herc. Two goals from Marvin Emnes took the Swans into the lead and the game then turned into a goal-fest as the game was 3-3 inside 65 minutes. Just as Wolves had equalised to make it 3-3 through Sylvain Deslandes, Swansea’s Dan James scored the crucial goal to send his side home with all three points.

West Bromwich Albion - Molineux
Att. 604
Won 3 - 1

The third game of the season was another local derby, this time against West Bromwich Albion. The tie was one of three league games that would be played at Molineux throughout the season. In front of over 600 fans, West Brom took the lead in the game just after the break. Scott Sellars’ side responded well and goals from Bright Enobakhare (2) and Connor Ronan made sure that the young Wolves went away with the local bragging rights.

West Ham United, Away
Drew 2 - 2

Following Wolves’ first game in the Checkatrade Trophy competition against Chesterfield, Scott Sellars said that his side were benefitting from working as a settled group. Wolves made the trip to West Ham, and another late goal from Morgan Gibbs-White made sure that the Under 23s didn't go home empty-handed. Christian Herc was the other Wolves goalscorer in the 2-2 draw, a result which meant that Wolves had won two, drawn one and lost one of their opening four games.

Middlesbrough - New Bucks Head
Won 2 - 1

Wolves played their second away game in succession, as they made the trip to Middlesbrough. Heading into the game, Middlesbrough were unbeaten but a first league goal of the season for Donovan Wilson and a goal for the returning Nouha Dicko saw Wolves leave the North-east with all three points.

Blackburn Rovers, Away
Lost 3 - 2

Blackburn Rovers was the next test for the young Wolves and they proved just too strong for them. The home side took a two-goal lead in the game. Wolves fought back and goals from Ronan and Enobakhare made the scoreline 2-2 with 20 minutes remaining. Blackburn scored in the 73rd minute through Mansell to clinch all three points.

Newcastle United - Molineux
Att. 269
Won 4 - 1

Donovan Wilson was now starting to find some form as he scored a hat-trick to see his side beat Newcastle United 4-1 at Molineux. Wolves played much of the game on the back foot and played the final 30 minutes with 10 men following a second booking for Aaron Simpson. Wolves’ fire power  and resolve shone through to secure the three points.

Norwich City - Carrow Road
Att. 1,636
Won 0 - 1

It was the biggest league attendance of the season for the young Wolves as they made the trip to Carrow Road to play Norwich City. Scott Sellars praised the ‘professional’ performance of his players and he felt that his side could have won by more than just the one goal. Sellars also complemented Christian Herc who got the only goal of the game - he said, “Although he’s only 17, he’s proving that he’s a really talented boy and we’re really pleased with how he’s developing."

Fulham - New Bucks Head
Att. 165
Won 4 - 3

The Molineux Under 23s won their fifth game in succession in all competitions following a cracking contest against Fulham at the New Bucks Head. Goals from Sylvain Deslandes, Will Randall and Bright Enobakhare saw Wolves three up at the break, Wanderers then conceded three in 13 second half minutes before Enobakhare struck a deflected winner 10 minutes from time. The win saw Wolves maintain their second place in the table, two points behind Swansea City.

Brighton & Hove Albion, Away
Lost 2 - 1

Wolves made the trip to Brighton on the back of a seven game unbeaten run in all competitions. It wasn't to be eight game undefeated for the Young Wolves - Will Randall’s goal gave Wolves the lead but two second half goals gave Brighton the lead. Regan Upton was sent off late-on to cap off a bad day at the office for the Under 23s.

West Bromwich Albion, Away
Att. 460
Won 0 - 1

After the setback at Brighton, Wolves looked to get back to winning ways and they did just that. The Under 23s completed the double over local rivals West Bromwich Albion - it was a stunning free-kick from Connor Ronan that was the difference between the two sides. Wolves were the better side for much of the game but heading into the closing stages of the game, West From ‘keeper Jack Rose looked like he wasn't going to beaten. In the 77th minute, skipper Connor Ronan stepped up to take a free kick from 30 yards and for once, Rose had no answer.

West Ham United - New Bucks Head
Lost 0 - 4

It was a night to forget for the young Wolves as they were comprehensively beaten by West Ham United. A hat-trick from Toni Martinez sent Scott Sellars’ side home with no points and a 4-goal defeat.

Blackburn Rovers - New Bucks Head
Won 3 - 0

Donovan Wilson was at it again as Wolves started the 2017 league campaign with a stylish 3-0 win at home to Blackburn. The Under 23s were knocked out of the Checkatrade trophy six days before this game, and they bounced back well to keep their play-off hopes alive. Sylvain Deslandes open the scoring for Wolves and two second half strikes from Wilson made sure that the three points were secured.

Newcastle United, Away
Drew 0 - 0

It was a winter stalemate as Wolves returned from Newcastle with a point.

Stoke City - New Bucks Head
Att. 121
Drew 1 - 1

Donovan Wilson scored his ninth goal of the season, but Wolves had to settle for a point in the home game with Stoke City. It was an even first half - the Potters were awarded a 20th minute penalty as Tyrese Campbell collided with Andy Lonergan in the box. The Wolves ‘keeper was booked but made a superb save to keep the game at 0-0. Just 20 seconds after the start of the second half Donovan Wilson was set-up by Duckens Nazon to score from close range. Wolves may have thought that the points were sealed but a late goal from Julien N’Goy meant that the teams shared the points.

Brighton & Hove Albion - New Bucks Head
Att. 137
Won 2 - 1

Despite a late fightback by Brighton, the Wolves under 23s held on to record a 2-1 victory - their ninth League win of the season and a win that took them up to third place in the table.

The Molineux youngsters made a terrific start taking the lead after just 70 seconds through Donovan Wilson. Wolves went two up in the 18th minute - Gibbs-White fed Duckens Nazon who beat his marker before burying a low shot into the corner of the net from the edge of the area.

Brighton became more of a threat as the game entered its final phases and reduced the deficit when Henrik Bjordal turned in a low cross. Although Brighton went flat out for an equaliser, goalkeeper Harry Burgoyne and his defence stood firm through almost five minutes of added time to claim the three points.

Aston Villa - Molineux
Att. 592
Lost 1 - 2

In the Under 23’s third league fixture at Molineux, a late Villa fightback meant that Wolves went home empty handed. Scott Sellars side had more of the possession and more of the chances in the game. Sellars said that he thought that his side were in control of the game, which they were as Donovan Wilson had scored in the 53rd minute to give the home side the lead. Sellars was ‘really disappointed’ with the closing 20 minutes as Wolves conceded twice, meaning that Villa went home with all three points,

Swansea City - Liberty Stadium
Drew 2 - 2

Wolves travelled to top of the table Swansea City looking to test themselves against the best in the division. It was the third time that the young Wolves had played the Swans this season - a point for the home side would mean that the league championship would be sealed. Wolves led twice in the game, first through Dan Armstrong and then through Duckens Nazon - twice, Wolves were pegged back and the game finished 2-2 meaning that Swansea were crowned as champions.

Stoke City, Away
Drew 1 - 1

In their second game in a week, Wolves travelled to bottom of the table Stoke City in their 19th league fixture of the season. The Potters’ display wasn’t that of a side that was at the foot of the table and provided a tough test for the Under 23s. Dan Armstrong gave Wolves an early lead but Stoke replied quickly through Julien N’Goy and that was how the score remained, 1-1. Scott Sellars felt that the scoreline was a fair reflection of the game and said that his players looked tired following the trip to Swansea earlier in the week.

Norwich City - New Bucks Head
Att. 229
Won 3 - 1

The Wolves Under 23’s confirmed their place in the end of season play-offs following a well-earned victory over Norwich City at the New Bucks Head. The game saw the return of long-term injury-hit players Jordan Graham and Michal Zyro who both played 45 minutes. Dan Armstrong opened the scoring and two goals from Donovan Wilson sealed Wolves’ place in the play-off places with two games remaining.

Middlesbrough, Away
Won 0 - 1

The young Wolves prepared themselves for the play-offs in perfect fashion by beating Middlesbrough 1-0 away from home. In their fourth game unbeaten, Niall Ennis scored the crucial goal which meant that Wolves continued their momentum.

Fulham - Craven Cottage
Won 1 - 4

In the final league game of the season, Wolves travelled to fourth placed Fulham for what could possibly be a play-off final clash. Wolves were comprehensive in their performance and the scoreline proved it. Dan Armstrong opened the scoring and goals from Christian Herc, Donovan Wilson and Connor Johnson means that Wolves enter the play-offs unbeaten in five league games.

This season’s league success has been supported by positive results in cup competitions. The young Wolves were in the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time as new guidelines were introduced by the competition’s organisers. Wolves progressed past the group stages and also beat Sunderland Under 23s to progress to the third round of the competition - their progression was halted at the hands of Swansea City.

Wolves also have the final of the Birmingham Senior Cup to look forward to which will be played at Molineux on 10th May against Leamington Spa, it’s the first time since 2004. The young Wolves’ season is far from over and first team appearances for Harry Burgoyne, Connor Ronan, Morgan Gibbs-White, Donovan Wilson and Bright Enobakhare have already made it a successful season for the Under 23s.