Under 23s bounce back in style
Wolves 3 (Deslandes 28, Wilson 70, 85)
Blackburn Rovers 0
After the disappointment of the narrow defeat at Swansea in the Checkatrade Trophy, the Wolves Under 23s bounced back in style to record a 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers on a murky night at the Bucks Head.
The first real action of the game came when Jack Ruddy safely gathered Connor Mahoney’s driven cross. The keeper was playing his first game for the Under 23s and he dealt confidently in clearing a series of back passes when under pressure.
A game that lacked anything in the way of goalmouth action suddenly burst into life in a two minutes spell as the visitors went close before Wanderers took the lead.
Rovers were inches away from moving ahead when Willem Tomlinson hit a 25-yard angled drive that struck the far post and bounced away to safety.
Play switched to the other end and Wolves moved into a 28th minute lead. Tyler Magloire fouled Dan Armstrong to the left of the Rovers area and when Nicu Carnat lifted the free-kick into the six-yard box, Sylvain Deslandes was there to sidefoot the ball in off the inside of the post.
Mahoney was yellow carded shortly afterwards for felling Deslandes on the halfway line before the Rovers winger was in the thick of things once more as his 20-yard free-kick drew a fine diving save from Ruddy.
Three minutes before the break Christian Herc limped off to be replaced by Conor Levingston.
In first half stoppage time Will Randall’s low effort tested Andy Fisher in the Blackburn goal but the keeper got his body behind the ball and Wolves went into the break holding a slender advantage.
Half-Time: Wolves 1 Rovers 0
There was a second change to the Wolves team at the start of the new half with Dan McKenna taking the place of Carnat.
Two early Armstrong corners came to nothing before there was a spell of Blackburn pressure albeit without any clear cut chances.
Deslandes was booked for pulling at Mahoney’s shirt before, in the 62nd minute, a flowing move saw Wolves go close to a second.
Morgan Gibbs-White’s superb crossfield pass released Armstrong on the right and his centre was powerfully headed goalwards by Aaron Collins but, unfortunately, into the arms of Fisher.
A final Wolves change saw Donovan Wilson taking over from Collins up front whilst Blackburn switched Callum Hendry for Connor Thomson.
Wilson was a whisker away after the visiting defence had failed to clear an Armstrong free-kick, but the striker made no mistake in the 70th minute as he hammered the ball past Fisher from just inside the box after Randall had played it back from the by-line.
Within a minute Wilson went into the book for a late challenge on Lewis Travis.
Both keepers showed their ability as the tempo of the game stepped up a notch. Fisher dived to push away a curling effort from Armstrong and Ruddy somehow got his fingertips to a cross-shot from Joe Rankin-Costello.
Levingston and Armstrong were both shown the yellow card for fouls either side of Wolves third goal after 85 minutes with Wilson again on target.
Magloire got his head to but failed to clear a long through ball and Gibbs-White was on it like a flash with a brilliant backheel into the path of Wilson who beat the advancing Fisher.
Just before the end, Ruddy capped a fine debut with another flying save – this time from Mahoney.
Wolves: Ruddy, Breslin, Deslandes, Herc (Levingston 42), Johnson (capt), Leak, Carnat (McKenna 45), Gibbs-White, Collins (Wilson 64), Armstrong, Randall.
Unused subs: O’Hanlon, Hayden.
Bookings: Deslandes (61 – shirt pulling), Wilson (71 – foul), Levingston (82 – foul), Armstrong (87 – foul).
Rovers: Fisher, Nyambe, Doyle, Travis, Platt (capt), Magloire, Mahoney, Tomlinson, Mansell, Rankin-Costello, Thomson (Hendry 66).
Unused subs: Mols, Powell, Hardcastle.
Bookings: Mahoney (30 – foul).
Referee: S. Allison.