Stratford Town 2 (Wilson 69, Wreh 90) Wolves 2 (Hanne 33, 83)
Wolves win 4-2 on penalties
Boubacar Hanne’s double and Jamie Pardington’s penalty saves helped a much-changed Wolves under-23 side progress to the second round of the Birmingham County Senior Challenge Cup following a shootout victory over Stratford Town.
The striker, who spent last season on loan at FC Jumilla, gave his side the lead going into the half-time break after a well-worked finish following a series of intricate passes unlocked the Town defence.
Young Wolves goalkeeper Jamie Pardington maintain his side’s advantage early in the second-half when he made a flying save to keep out Nabil Shariff’s spot-kick after Kairo Edwards-John had been upended in the penalty area.
But Stratford’s pressure told with just over 20 minutes left in the game when Shariff fed Town captain Lewis Wilson who fired past Pardington to level the scoreline.
Austin Samuels, one of three under-23s in the line-up who also started last week’s Premier League Cup victory over Derby County, forced a pair of good saves from the host’s keeper Harvey White, but his striker partner regained Wolves’ advantage moments later.
Despite Hanne’s cool finish looking to have secured the victory for Wolves, Town took the game to penalties when Christopher Wreh – son of the former Arsenal striker who scored against Wolves in the 1998 FA Cup semi-final – thumped home from close range with the last kick of the 90 minutes.
But this is the season when Wolves aren't afraid when it comes to penalties, with the club securing their fourth shootout win in four this season after all four takers – Hanne, Tsun Dai, Samuels and Michael Agboola – dispatched their efforts.
Pardington was the penalty hero once again when he saved Stratford’s crucial kick after hitting the bar with their second, to see Wolves take the victory and reach the next round of the country's oldest cup competition.
The under-23s are in Premier League 2 action on Sunday when they travel to the north-west to take on second from bottom Liverpool at their Academy stadium from 2pm.
20/10 Liverpool (A)
26/10 Tottenham Hotspur (H)
01/11 Derby County (A)
05/11 Blackpool (A) LCT
09/11 Birmingham City (H) PLC
Stratford: White, Ambris, Rowley, Richards, Vann, Bower, Wilson, Nabay, Shariff, Shamsi, Edwards-John.
Subs: Rowe, Wreh, Fishwick, O’Keefe, Traore.
Wolves: Pardington, Thompson, Cristovao, Nya, Csoka, Bueno, Hong, Tsun Dai, Cundle, Samuels, Hanne.
Subs: Young, Otasowie, Agboola, Abbey, Carty.