Wolves 1 (Ashley-Seal 4) Athletic Club 1 (G. Guruzeta 59)
Wolves under-23s continued their unbeaten run in their first ever season in European competition with a 1-1 draw against Athletic Club at St George’s Park.
After recording the identical scoreline in their first Premier League International Cup clash against PSG at Molineux last Wednesday evening, Mark Kennedy’s side continued the trend of 1-1 draws against Chelsea on Saturday before once again coming away with a point when they invited Athletic Club to Burton on Wednesday night.
Benny Ashley-Seal gave Wolves the perfect start to the match, which was moved to the home of the England national teams due to the pitch conditions at Telford’s New Bucks Head, when he out-muscled the defence before firing a low drive past the visiting keeper and into the bottom left corner of the net.
Wolves could have gone two-up with just over 15 minutes gone when Ashley-Seal’s strike partner Jordan Graham was brought down inside the penalty area.
Despite the goalscorer looking the one set to double his tally, it was Graham himself who took penalty responsibilities, but Ander Iruarrizaga made a brilliant save to get down low to his right and push Graham’s effort out for a corner.
Both teams would go on to hit the woodwork in the first-half, which became end-to-end as the first 45 minutes came to a close, with Terry Taylor coming closest for the home side as his long-range effort cannoned back off the outside of the upright.
Athletic Club came out strong in the second-half, and despite having the ball in the back of the net, the assistant referee’s flag denied them their equaliser.
However, their early pressure finally told on 59 minutes when Gorka Guruzeta was played in behind Dan Csoka and the number nine fired his shot into the same corner as Ashley-Seal did in the first-half, with Andreas Sondergaard unable to get a strong enough toe to the ball.
With both teams pushing for the winning goal, Athletic Club once again hit the woodwork, before Wolves thought they had their deciding effort.
Unfortunately for hosts, Iruarrizaga was at his best to deny Ed Francis from close range. The returning captain managed to get a foot on the end of an Elliot Watt free-kick which had been swung into the six yard box, but the keeper was in fine form to pull off an unbelievable save from a matter of yards to make sure the match finished all square.
The under-23s become the under-21s next Tuesday evening as they travel to the north-west to take on Salford City in the knockout stages of the Leasing.com Trophy – the first time a Wolves team have ever faced Salford.
03/12 Salford City (A) LCT
09/12 Brighton & Hove Albion (H)
16/12 Everton (A)
18/12 Tividale (A) BSC
22/12 Liverpool (H) PLIC
Wolves: Sondergaard, Sanderson, Csoka, Francis, Marques, Richards, Watt, Taylor, Campbell, Ashley-Seal, Graham.
Subs: Pardington, Flavio, Thompson, Kitolano, Tsun Dai, Samuels, Dongda He.
Athletic Club: Iruarrizaga, Nunez, Muria, Bernaola, Rojo, Paredes, Saldado, Naveira, Cordoba, J. Guruzeta, G. Guruzeta.
Subs: Agirrezabala, Areso, Luengo, Garcia, Prados, Cabo, Baque.