Chem Campbell’s brace helped Wolves under-23s come from behind to earn their first Premier League 2 win in two months as January signing Chiquinho made his gold and black bow against Sunderland.
The Portuguese winger was impressing at Sunderland’s Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground as he showed the ability which saw Wolves bring him to the club from Estoril, although his evening only lasted an hour after suffering a knock when he was about to let fly at goal.
During his time on the pitch, Chiquinho was putting the Black Cats defence under plenty of pressure, and his movement created several openings, but James Collins’ side were unable to capitalise. Wolves were calling for a penalty inside the first 10 minutes as Lee Harkin felt he was fouled in the penalty area, but the referee was unmoved.
Up the other end and Wolves were the creators of their own downfall as Sunderland took the lead. Harvey Griffiths misplaced a pass straight to Harrison Sohna who bared down on Louie Moulden before slipping the ball into the bottom left corner and beyond the reach of the goalkeeper.
Wolves continued to press, and Sunderland’s number one Jacob Carney did well to deny Hugo Bueno after Chiquinho did well down the right, and his cross was not controlled by Campbell, but Bueno was able to have a shot at goal which was palmed wide by the keeper.
But Carney was unable to repeat that feat on 24 minutes when a free-kick on the right edge of the penalty area was driven low into the centre of the box by Luke Cundle, and although Campbell miss-hit his first attempt, he reacted quickest to fire a shot which deflected past the Sunderland keeper.
Chiquinho had a great opportunity to open his account in gold and black less than 10 minutes before the break as he snatched the ball off defender Zak Johnson, but with just the keeper to beat, the Portuguese was thwarted by a good save from Carney.
Wolves had the ball in the back of the net inside the opening five minutes of the second-half as Harkin latched onto the end of a Chiquinho cross, controlling neatly and slotting the ball beyond Carney, but the assistant’s flag was up on the far side as the Irish striker was adjudged to be offside.
It didn’t take long for Wolves to finally take the lead as Carney spilled Cundle’s shot from a tight angle, but Harkin was quick to follow up and managed to tee the ball back into the centre of the penalty area for Campbell to fire into the top right corner.
As the temperatures dropped towards freezing, the play on the pitch became scrappy with neither side able to pose a real test to their opposition goalkeepers, and Wolves were able to hold on to the victory as they picked up all three Division 2 points for the first time since a 2-1 triumph at Birmingham City in mid-November.
James Collins’ side have a weekend off before they look to secure their place in the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup a week on Friday, as the under-23s host Swansea City at St George’s Park.
04/02 Swansea City (H) PLC
07/02 Birmingham City (H)
14/02 Exeter City (H) PLC
18/03 Middlesbrough (A)
28/03 Reading (H)
Sunderland: Carney, Kachosa, Johnson, Xhemajli (Fieldson 65), Newall, Gyimah (Spellman 70), Sohna, Scott, Dyce, Kelly, Mbunga-Kimpioka.
Unused subs: Richardson, Gardiner, Emenike.
Wolves: Moulden, Lembikisa, Tipton, Marques, Hubner, Bueno, Cundle, Griffiths, Chiquinho (Samuels 60), Campbell, Harkin (Estrada 74).
Unused subs: Keto-Diyawa, Hodnett, Roberts.