Leak goal secures victory for Under 23s
Birmingham City 0
Wolves 1 (Leak 13)
Wolves U23’s continued their fine pre-season form with a 1-0 victory in a training ground friendly at local rivals Birmingham City.
Ryan Leak’s 13th minute goal settled the contest and in the process made it just one defeat in six pre-season matches for Scott Sellars’ side.
With several eligible players representing the first team in Tuesday’s friendly at Northampton, there was an opportunity for other players to stake their claim ahead of the the new Premier League 2 season, which gets under way on 15th August.
One of those players was striker Aaron Collins, who was at the forefront of Wolves’ good early work. In the fourth minute he shot wide of Birmingham goalkeeper Connal Trueman’s goal from the left hand-side of the penalty area, after a nice inter-change between Anthony Breslin and Will Randall.
Collins’ strike partner, Morgan Gibbs-White, was also heavily involved in the early stages, and played a part in the move which lead to the opening goal. After being released by Ross Finnie, his cross was diverted out for a corner by Birmingham’s Steve Seddon.
Daniel Armstrong took the resulting corner and his cross reached Leak, whose first touch was palmed back out to him by Trueman. He then made no mistake from close range to give Wolves a deserved lead.
Birmingham’s response came moments later when winger Kyle McFarlane cut on to his right foot before seeing his shot deflected comfortably into the path of Jon Flatt via Aaron Simpson.
McFarlane was becoming the home team’s best hope of an equaliser and he tested the Wolves defence twice in the space of three minutes.
Firstly he headed over after Wes Harding’s right wing cross deflected towards him at the far post. And in the 27th minute Flatt was at his best to deny McFarlane, palming his curling shot out for a corner.
Collins was proving to be a thorn in Blues’ side, never giving them a moments rest thanks to his constant running and good hold up play.
He came close to doubling Wolves’ lead in the 40th minute but Trueman was equal to the task and palmed his effort away for a corner.
Despite the half-time interval looming both team’s continued to press forward.
Wolves Captain Regan Upton produced a superb last ditch block to deny Alex Jones a simple tap in, after a quick free-kick had seen McFarlane’s cross evade Flatt.
While the last action of the half saw Randall’s cross from a Wolves counter-attack just elude the outstretched leg of Gibbs-White in the six-yard box.
Half time: Birmingham City 0 – 1 Wolves
Both team’s introduced substitutes after the break with Donovan Wilson, Brandon Ball and Connor Hunte all appearing for the visitors.
Birmingham midfielder Charlie Cooper had the first chance of the second half, when he curled a free-kick wide of Flatt’s goal, following a foul by Armstrong.
With both team’s adapting to new line-ups following the substitutions chances were at a premium, and defences were certainly on top.
Wolves did however continue to look dangerous on the counter-attack and in one such move it was only good defending that denied Connor Hunte a clear run on the Birmingham goal following Wilson’s pass.
At the other end substitute Beryly Lubala fired over from 25 yards out, while Upton and Leak made crucial blocks to deny both George O’Neill and Cooper an equaliser.
Birmingham pushed men forward in the closing stages of the match, but the Wolves defence held firm to secure victory.
Wolves: Flatt, Simpson (Ball 54), Breslin (John 82), McKenna, Upton, Leak, Armstrong (Delacoe 66), Finnie (Levingston 75), Collins (Reid 75), Gibbs-White (Wilson 46), Randall (Hunte 54).
Subs not used: Burgoyne.
Goal: Leak 13 .