Wolves 0 Aston Villa 0
Despite several close chances, Wolves under-23s had to settle for a goalless draw with Premier League 2 rivals Aston Villa on a chilly night in Telford.
The result does however mean Rob Edwards’ side – who are on a run of four games ending all-square – have moved up to second place in the Division 2 table, ahead of Southampton on goal difference.
And it was Wolves who started the stronger of the two West Midlands adversaries, with midfielder Elliott Watt dictating the match from the centre of the pitch, dispatching several raking passes, many to the dynamic Ryan Giles down the home side’s left.
Watt himself had the first chance of the match for Wolves in just the second minute. After dispossessing a Villa defender, he broke into the box, but from a tight angle all he could do was fire a shot into Matijia Sarkic’s legs.
Minutes later Watt picked up the ball in the centre of midfield and took a pot shot from 25 yards out which flew over the bar.
Wolves had their best opportunity to take the lead just under the 15-minute mark when Niall Ennis picked up a loose ball in the box after applying pressure on the Villa backline. The forward was able to wriggle into space inside the box and fired a shot at goal, but it was blocked well by Jacob Bedeau who eventually cleared the ball down field.
Giles’ pace down the left was causing havoc for the Villa defence, as the wing-back fired several crosses into the box which could have led to the opening goal for Wolves.
Benny Ashley-Seal was just inches away from putting Wolves into the lead when Oskar Buur was played into space down the right of the pitch. After whipping in a delightful cross towards the tall striker, Ashley-Seal could not stretch his toes enough to reach the ball which flashed across the box.
Following 45 minutes dominated by Wolves, it was the visitors who had the best chance to go in front at the start of the second period.
Ethan Ebanks-Landell gave away a free kick right on edge of box for an alleged high foot which was curled into the box. Somehow Wolves keeper Andreas Sondergaard managed to get his fists in the way to block a point-blank header from Harvey Knibbs, but the ball fell to the head of Bedeau, whose follow up effort was headed over the bar.
But Wolves were still hunting for the break through and came inches away once again when Pedro Goncalves took aim from about 15 yards out, but his shot flew just wide of Sarkic’s upright.
Neither team were able to force a winning goal from the occasionally ill-tempered contest, which became a hard-hitting midfield battle as the second half wore on, with both sides claiming a point.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
In a game which lacked major goalmouth action, Wolves were fortunate Andreas Sondergaard – who was a spectator for much of the game – was at his best to keep out a point-blank header from Villa’s Harvey Knibbs.
Wolves are taking another break from league action as they travel to Oxford United in the Premier League Cup next Monday evening. Rob Edwards’ side currently sit top of the four-team group after victory over Hull City and a draw away at Swansea.
3/12 Oxford United (A) PLC
10/12 Sunderland (A)
14/12 Fulham (H)
7/1 West Bromwich Albion (A)
11/1 Reading (H)
Wolves: Sondergaard, Buur, Iorfa, Ebanks-Landell, John, Giles, Watt, Diallo, Goncalves, Ashley-Seal, Ennis.
Unused subs: Csoka, Molberg, Alves, Heredia, Sauvage.
Aston Villa: Sarkic, Bazeley-Graham, Rowe, Prosser, Revan, Bedeau, Walker, McKirdy (Ramsey 44) (Pastorek 78), Hepburn-Murphy, Cox, Knibbs (Odutayo 85).
Unused subs: Ige, Lomax.