Under-23 report | Norwich 1-2 Wolves

Norwich City 1 (Kamara 81) Wolves 2 (Richards 15, Hesketh 61)

A goal in each half for Lewis Richards and Owen Hesketh helped Wolves to a third consecutive league victory as the under-23s finished 2020 on a high.

Following away wins at Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion in their last two outings, James Collins’ side made it three on the bounce in Premier League 2 Division 2, and will go into the new year full of confidence.

In an evenly-fought opening to the contest, neither side troubled their opposing goalkeepers, but Wolves came the closest when Meritan Shabani’s shot from inside the penalty area after a corner had fallen to him was blocked before the ball was eventually cleared.

Owen Hesketh tested Jon McCracken in the Norwich goal for the first time with just under 15 minutes on the clock, as the Welsh forward got on the end of a cross into the centre of the area, but the flag went up for offside.

Wolves’ pressure told just moments later as Richards got his first Premier League 2 goal in gold and black. The defender overlapped on the left as he was found by Luke Cundle, before launching a rocket of a left-footed effort past McCracken and into the roof of the net.

Throughout the first-half, the visitors had opportunities to extend their lead, with Shabani and Hesketh guilty of being wasteful in front of goal, with the former blazing a pair of shots over the bar from good positions, but as well as showing their attacking force, the defence also stood strong to break down the Norwich attacks.

Within the first minute of the second-half getting underway, Wolves could have gone two goals to the good as Cundle got in behind the Norwich defence, but McCracken was quick off his line and made himself big to be able to block the Wolves midfielder’s goalbound shot with his boot.

The long-awaited second did eventually come for Wolves through Hesketh. In his first start for the under-23s, the Welsh forward pressed the Norwich defence before nicking the ball and firing a shot past McCracken, via the help of a deflection.

Similarly to the first-half, Wolves continued to press in search of adding to their tally, but were not able to trouble the Norwich stopper, as Shabani fired well over the bar after powering towards the penalty area.

Norwich brought on Abu Kamara with just under 15 minutes to play, and the forward – having scored a hat-trick to knock Wolves under-18s out of the FA Youth Cup on Friday night – made the end of the match more nervous than it needed to be for those of a gold and black persuasion when he placed the ball into the bottom corner and beyond the dive of Andreas Sondergaard.

However, Wolves were able to hold on to the three points, lifting themselves up to second in the Premier League 2 Division 2 table.


James Collins’ under-23s now enter their Christmas break, and will be without a match until 2021, when the development side travel to Burnley in the Premier League 2.


18/01 Burnley (A)

24/01 Leeds (H)

01/02 Stoke City (A)

12/02 Aston Villa (A)

21/02 Crystal Palace (H)

*indicates first-team opposition


Norwich: McCracken, Vaughan, Tomkinson, Omobamidele, Nizet, Dronfield, Giurgi (Rowe 66), McAlear, Springett (Kamara 77), Dickson-Peters, Omotoye.

Subs: Blair, Jackson, Khumbeni.

Wolves: Sondergaard, Buur, Estrada, Marques, Richards, Bueno, Hong Wan, Cundle, Shabani, Hesketh (Harkin 89), Carty.

Subs: Matheson, Scott, Nya, Mayounga.