Derby County 2 (Mitchell-Lawson 8, Cresswell 60) Wolves 1 (Giles 79)
Report by Ryan Plant
Wolves under-23s were unable to reach the quarter-finals of the Premier League Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Derby County at Pride Park on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts took a two-goal advantage through Jayden Mitchell-Lawson’s early opener and Cameron Cresswell’s goal on the hour, but the second-half resurgence from Rob Edwards’ side, including a goal from Ryan Giles, proved to be too little, too late.
Anders Sondergaard was the first of the two goalkeepers to be called into action with a series of fine saves, but he was beaten to Alex Babos’ deep cross by Mitchell-Lawson, allowing the winger to score into an empty net.
Wolves’ chances were not helped after striker Niall Ennis hobbled off injured after 20 minutes. His side could have fallen further behind soon after, but Calum Macdonald’s free-kick struck the post.
The visitors were thankful for the half-time break, after Mitchell-Lawson almost scored his second of the game with a header from Louie Sibley’s cross.
Edwards’ side started the second half the brightest, and Ennis’ replacement, Enzo Sauvage, tested goalkeeper Josh Barnes with a fierce effort from the edge of the penalty area.
He was made to rue his missed chance, though as Derby countered and doubled their lead, after striker Cresswell flicked Mitchell-Lawson’s low cross home at the near post.
Wolves were far from out of the game and had chances to claw a way back into the tie. In a swift counter-attack, Giles played Sauvage through on goal, but the striker could only fire his shot straight at Barnes.
Sauvage was again involved as Wolves did half the deficit, with little over 10 minutes left to play. He won the ball deep in Derby territory and found substitute John Kitolano, who unselfishly squared to Giles to gift the forward an easy chance to finish from inside the six-yard box.
Wolves pressed for an equaliser, and, deep into stoppage-time, Giles forced a wonderful save from Barnes with a strike from 25 yards out which was destined for the top corner. Derby, though, held on to progress to the quarter-finals stage.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Giles’ first goal of 2019 was a just reward for a fine afternoon’s work. He began the game at left wing-back but moved into the attack with the introduction of Kitolano as Wolves pressed for a way back into the game from two goals down. He then came within Barnes’ fingertips of taking the game to extra-time, with a superb effort from distance.
Edwards and his side’s attentions turn back to the Premier League 2 Division 2 title race this weekend as they visit Newcastle on Saturday, looking to maintain their lead ahead of Southampton at the top of the table as well as their Division 1 promotion push.
23/3 Newcastle (A)
8/4 Aston Villa (A)
15/4 Stoke City (H)
26/4 Manchester United (A)
Derby (4-3-3): Barnes, Gordon, Bateman, Buchanan, Macdonald, Bird, Sibley, Babos, Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell, Shonibare (Anya 87).
Unused subs: Roache, Yates, Hunt, Karic.
Wolves (3-5-2): Sondergaard, Sanderson, Francis, John, Buur, Goncalves, Diallo, Alves, Heredia (Kitolano 61), Ennis (Sauvage 31).
Unused subs: Pardington, Molberg, Cundle.