Wolves 1 (Bueno 27) Norwich City 1 (Omotoye 69)
Having suffered penalty shootout heartbreak five days earlier, Wolves under-23s were perfect from the spot at Molineux on Monday evening as they overcame Norwich City in dramatic circumstances at Molineux in the Premier League 2 play-off semi-final.
Like on Friday evening at the Hawthorns, Wolves shaded proceedings, but were forced into extra time by the spirited Canaries. Hugo Bueno’s brilliant finish, his fifth in as many games, had the hosts in front, but a curling striker courtesy of substitute Tyrese Omotoye ensured an additional 30 minutes would be played at Molineux.
With neither team finding the net, penalties awaited for the second time in five days, but unlike at the Hawthorns, Wolves were spotless. But so were Norwich until their fifth spot-kick when Matija Sarkic palmed Flynn Clarke’s effort around the post, leaving penalty king Ollie Tipton with the chance to send his side to the play-off final, and he dispatched his kick perfectly into the bottom right corner – sending Joe Rose the wrong way.
The regular PL2 campaign concluded with a Lee Harkin-inspired victory over Norwich City for Wolves, and things nearly started as brightly for the forward on Tuesday evening. When Dexter Lembikisa found Harkin in the middle, he stung the palms of Rose, before the goalkeeper got to his feet quickly to thwart Luke Cundle bravely.
Chem Campbell then headed over a Bueno cross as Wolves’ promising opening continued and Taylor Perry fizzed an effort wide, after Christian Marques set him up from a clever set piece. However, it was left for recent goal scoring sensation Bueno to do the honours, chasing Luke Cundle’s pass on to his unfavoured right foot and bending a brilliant effort into the far corner, out of Rose’s reach for his fifth goal in as many matches.
The goal proved the high point of a half Wolves impressed in, and as the half-time whistle went, 45 minutes stood between them and yet another final.
Half-time | Wolves 1 Norwich 0
Harkin remained a threat into the second-half for the hosts, and from another Bueno flurry forward, the Spaniard crossed for the attacker to nod just wide on this occasion. The Canaries would have been kicking themselves about not pulling level however, as Abu Kamara was left unmarked at the back post, but his header dropped into the arms of Sarkic.
However, Wolves lifted the tempo and were twice denied by the woodwork. First, Perry’s turn and cross set Harkin up to hit against the post from close range, before Campbell turned the Norwich defence inside and out before cannoning an effort off the underside of the crossbar.
Those close calls became all the more painful when Norwich found their equaliser through a brilliant finish by Omotoye, reminiscent of Bueno’s strike, as he bent it right footed into the opposite corner. It almost got worst for the hosts too, but as Dan Ashworth let fly from the edge of the Wolves box, Sarkic was delighted to see the shot fly wide.
However, the best of the chances was saved for injury time when the Canaries were left all exposed by a quick Wolves break. Cundle found Perry, who slipped Campbell clean through on goal, but as he composed himself, Rose shot off his line and spread himself to produce a crucial save for the visitors. That wouldn’t be the lats chance either – there was still time for Bueno to cross for Marques to head wide from close range.
Full-time | Wolves 1 Norwich 1
As the contest extra time for the second time in the space of five days, tiredness began to show. Campbell curled one wide for the hosts from distance, while Jonathan Rowe had a close-range volley blocked by the Wolves defence. Then, with time running out, Bueno put a cross on the head of Campbell, but he couldn’t find the desired power and it proved an easy save for Rose.
Extra-time full-time | Wolves 1 Norwich 1
- 0-1 | Springett (NOR) scores
- 1-1 | Campbell (WOL) scores
- 1-2 | Omotoye (NOR) scores
- 2-2 | Bueno (WOL) scores
- 2-3 | Mumba (NOR) scores
- 3-3 | Marques (WOL) scores
- 3-4 | Rowe (NOR) scores
- 4-4 | Perry (WOL) scores
- 4-4 | Clarke (NOR) misses
- 5-4 | Tipton (WOL) scores
James Collins’ side are just 90 minutes away from promotion into Premier League 2 Division 1, and they will be back at Molineux on Monday night as they look to secure their place in the top-flight, facing Stoke City in the play-off final.
23/05 Stoke City (H) Play-off final
Wolves | Sarkic, Lembikisa (Birtwistle), Bueno, Tipton, Marques, Hubner, Cundle, Hodge (Hesketh 90), Harkin (Griffiths 74), Perry, Campbell.
Unused subs | Kandola, Shabani.
Norwich | Rose, Earley, Tomkinson, Shipley, Mumba, Gibbs, Springett, Adshead (Khumbeni 110), Rowe, Kamara (Omotoye 58), Dickson-Peters (Clarke 82).
Unused subs | Berry, Giurgi.