Under-23 report | Fulham 4-2 Wolves

Fulham 4 (Hilton 29, Harris 38, Robinson 43, Sessegnon 88) Wolves 2 (Griffiths 10, Harkin 79)

Debut under-23 goals for Harvey Griffiths and Lee Harkin were not enough for Wolves to do the double over Premier League 2 Division 2 leaders Fulham.

Despite the young Cottagers side having dropped points in only two matches this season – including a 2-1 loss to Wolves earlier in the campaign – it was James Collins’ visitors who started the stronger at Motspur Park and took the lead within the opening 10 minutes.

A long raking ball from Ollie Tipton was played out to the left wing where Dexter Lembikisa was waiting, and after using his skill and pace to get around the two Fulham bodies who attempted to block his path to goal, the wing-back pulled a pass back into the penalty area which Griffiths ran onto before firing a first-time shot high into the roof of the net.

Fulham attempted to hit back immediately and caught Wolves on the counter before a dangerous looking cross was plucked out of the air by Louie Moulden between the sticks. The keeper had to be at his best again moments later when Oliver O’Neill found space down the Fulham left, but the old gold goalkeeper stood up well and got a strong hand on the winger’s low shot.

In between those chances, Wolves had an opportunity of their own to double their lead when Harry Birtwistle put on the afterburners to reach a Bruno Jordao pass out to the right. The Singaporean whipped a cross into the penalty area, looking for the run of Jordao, but Fulham keeper Damian Las was quickly off his line to intercept.

The hosts turned the game on its head before half-time with three goals within 15 minutes. Firstly, Steven Sessegnon was played in down the left and his overhit cross was put back into the danger zone by Marlon Fossey, but unfortunately for the visitors, Sam Hilton got onto the pass to slam the ball past Moulden. Hilton almost got a second moments later when he let fly from 20 yards out, but Moulden got his body behind the effort.

Fulham added a second when a corner was whipped into the Wolves 18-yard-box by Terry Ablade and Luke Harris was able to get his head on the end of it to direct it into the corner of the net.

A spectacular stop by Moulden, who was at full stretch to deny Ablade, only delayed Fulham from extending their lead for a matter of seconds as Charlie Robinson found his way onto a ball into the box to tap home unmarked at the far post.

Wolves fought back throughout the second-half and earned themselves a lifeline with just over 10 minutes of the match remaining as a cross to the far post was turned back into the six yard box by Harry Birtwistle and Harkin was on hand to push the ball over the goalline from close-range, despite the protestations of Fulham that the ball didn’t cross the line.

The visitors had much to thank their keeper for as Moulden continued to be a colossus between the sticks, with the 19-year-old making a stunning one-handed stop to palm Ablade’s point blank header from a matter of yards out over the crossbar. But not to be outdone, Fulham keeper Las pulled off an impressive stop to deny Hesekth from the edge of the penalty area after a well-worked free-kick routine.

But for all of Wolves’ second-half efforts, the result was put beyond doubt just before full-time when Sessegnon picked up the ball on the left before cutting inside and firing a low right-footed drive into the bottom corner.


James Collins’ side are not back in action until a week on Monday when the under-23s head to East London to take on West Ham United in the Premier League Cup. However, the younger members of his squad are likely to be involved in the FA Youth Cup clash with Salford City at Molineux on Wednesday evening.


13/12 West Ham United (A) PLC

20/12 Newcastle United (H)

05/01 Swansea City (H) PLC

09/01 Southampton (A)

17/01 Burnley (H)

*indicates first-team opposition


Fulham: Las, Dibley Dias, Fossey, Robinson, Odutayo, Pajaziti (Bowie 83), Sessegnon, Harris, Hilton, O’Neill, Ablade.

Unused subs: McNally, Araujo, Tiehi, Bowie.

Wolves: Moulden, Scott (Fraser 68), Tipton, Estrada, Richards, Lembikisa, Griffiths (Hubner 78), Jordao (Hodnett 32), Birtwistle, Hesketh, Harkin.

Unused subs: Bugarin, Roberts.