Wolves U23s beat West Bromwich Albion
West Bromwich Albion 0
Wolves 1 (Ronan 77)
Wolves completed an Under 23s double over West Bromwich Albion thanks to a stunning free-kick from Connor Ronan in a one sided affair at Kiddreminster.
On a murky night at Aggborough it was Wolves that made the brighter start although neither keeper had a save to make in the early exchanges.
The first real moment of danger came in the 13th minute when Shaun Donnellan booted behind Nicu Carnat’s low cross at the near post.
Then Will Randall saw his attempt to curl the ball into the opposite corner thwarted when a defender got a boot in to deflect it behind. From Randall’s corner the referee spotted an infringement and awarded a free-kick to Albion.
Kjetil Haug, brought in from Manchester City on a short term loan due to the current goalkeeper injury problems at Molineux, saw his first real action when he beat away a low cross from Callum McNanaman.
Donnellan was booked for a crude challenge that left Randall in need of attention. The free-kick conceded, some 25-yards out, was taken by Ronan and the power of his kick took the ball through the wall.
There was a brief scramble in front of goal before a defender kicked the ball behind with Baggies keeper Jack Rose punching clear Randall’s corner that followed.
Randall was a lively figure in the gloom and he almost made the breakthrough after winning a tackle with Bradley Sweeney in midfield before sprinting to the edge of the box and hitting a shot that was heading for the net until it struck Donnellan and bounced clear.
In the closing minutes of the half, Christian Herc and then Morgan Gibbs-White had long distance goal attempts but, on each occasion, the ball was too close to Rose.
Half-Time: Albion 0 Wolves 0
In the 52nd minute McManaman curled a free-kick into the Wolves goalmouth and Jack Fitzwater climbed high but headed wide at the far post.
Both sides then made changes with Ryan Leak taking over from Sylvain Deslandes for Wanderers, and Rahis Nabi replaced Kyle Edwards for Albion.
It was all eyes on the referee when Randall went down in the box with a defender either side of him but the official shook his head and waved play on.
Then Donnellan was lucky to escape with no more than a rebuke for a body check on Herc that pole axed the Wolves man.
Rose made two excellent saves in as many minutes as Wolves piled on the pressure. He got down low to cling onto a drive from Herc before an even better effort saw him turning away a 20-yard piledriver from Carnat.
Another Wolves change saw Dan Armstrong replacing Prince Oniangue before Randall tore down the left before cutting in and unleashing a ferocious shot that forced Rose into another fine save.
It was all Wolves and they took the lead they deserved in the 77th minute when they were awarded a free-kick 30-yards out. Skipper Ronan took the kick and, for once, Rose had no answer as the ball flew into the top of the net.
Donnellan tested the patience of the referee once too often and he was shown a second yellow and the red for tripping Randall who was in full flight on the wing.
Herc was a couple of feet away from a terrific goal with a rising drive that flashed past the far post before Albion, in a rare attack, almost grabbed an equaliser. Saido Berahino’s bouncing header was touched onto the bar by Haug before the ball was cleared.
In stoppage time, Connor Johnson was booked for conceding a free-kick on the edge of the area and although Berahino’s free-kick breached the wall, Haug was there to beat the ball away and assure Wolves of the points they thoroughly deserved.
Baggies: Rose, Fitzwater, Jones, Sweeney (McCourt 81), Donnellan, O’Shea, Scrivens, Harper, Berahino, Edwards (Nabi 55), McManaman.
Unused subs: Keranovic, Pierce, Barbir.
Booking: Donnallan (21 – foul).
Sending-Off: Donnellan (82 – second yellow card – foul).
Wolves: Haug, Simpson, Breslin, Oniangue (Armstrong 62), Johnson, Deslandes (Leak 53), Carnat (Finnie 90+2), Ronan, Gibbs-White, Herc, Randall.
Unused subs: Odoffin, Delacoe.
Booking: Johnson (90+1 – foul).
Referee: S. Allison.