Wolves 1 (Ashley-Seal 3) Brighton 1 (Gwargis 55)
Wolves under-23s made it four consecutive 1-1 draws after a stalemate with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League 2.
Mark Kennedy made several enforced changes to his line-up for the match at the Sir Jack Hayward Training Ground sponsored by Fosun International after a number of his players were taken on the first-team’s warm weather training camp to Marbella.
Captain Ed Francis was moved into midfield, while Rafa Nya was utilised as a right wing-back and Jamie Pardington came in between the sticks in place of Andreas Sondergaard. Cyriaque Mayounga, a summer signing from Lyon, was on the bench following a return from the injury he picked up while playing for the under-23s in pre-season.
Despite the changes to the side, Kennedy’s team got off to the perfect start when Benny Ashley-Seal put Wolves ahead after just three minutes following a brilliant piece of counter-attacking play by the young team.
Wolves coolly played the ball out of defence before Tsun Dai went on a driving run through the heart of the Brighton midfield. The Hong Kong international found Nya on the right whose low cross was fired home from close range by Ashley-Seal as he scored his 12th goal of the season.
As the first-half progressed, both sides had chances to put their teams ahead, in what was an even contest, but just before the break, Brighton had their best chance of the evening when Bojan Radulovic smashed his effort against Jamie Pardington’s crossbar.
Kennedy was forced into a change at half-time when John Kitolano had to withdraw through injury, giving Mayounga a chance to make his competitive debut in gold and black.
Ten minutes into the second-half and Brighton found their equaliser. Wolves failed to clear their lines and Peter Gwargis was able to unleash a left-footed shot past Pardington.
The set-back didn’t disrupt Wolves’ play, however, and Ashley-Seal had another chance to put his team back in front when he latched onto another Nya cross, but could not find the target from a tight angle.
Dion Sanderson came close to earning all three points with 20 minutes left in the tie when Jordan Graham put a threatening cross towards the far post, but the ball just evaded Sanderson, leaving the young Wolves having to settle for a point.
The under-23s face their final league match of 2019 next Monday evening when they travel to Everton in Premier League 2 Division 1, with that game kicking off at 7pm.
16/12 Everton (A)
18/12 Tividale (A) BSC
03/01 Leicester City (A)
10/01 Blackburn Rovers (H)
20/01 Derby County (H) PLC
Wolves: Pardington, Nya, Sanderson, Marques, Csoka, Kitolano (Mayounga 45), Francis, Taylor, Tsun Dai (Hanne 76), Graham, Ashley-Seal.
Unused subs: Flavio, Samuels, Dongda He.
Brighton: McGill, Yapi, Cochrane, O’Hora, Roberts (Freestone 68), Spong, Cashman, Richards, Davies, Gwargis, Radulovic (Tolaj 70).
Unused subs: Keto, Tsoungui, Jenks.