Leamington FC 0 Wolves 2 (Dongda He 22, Nya 58)
Wolves booked their place in the semi-finals of the Birmingham County Senior Challenge Cup – one of the most historic cup competitions in the world – with a convincing 2-0 win over reigning champions Leamington FC.
James Collins’ under-23 side travelled to the Phillips 66 Community Stadium looking to reach the penultimate stage of the competition for the first time since 2017/18, and a season where Wolves fell in the final to Wednesday night’s opponents, losing on penalties at Molineux.
Handing full Wolves debuts to January signings Nigel Lonwijk and Enzo Loiodice, Collins selected a strong line-up, with goalkeeper Andreas Sondergaard and defender Owen Otasowie returning to the team after missing last week’s matches due to being away with the first-team on their warm weather training camp in Marbella.
The hosts made a positive start to the contest, and Wolves were reliant on Sondergaard to make an unbelievable save to keep the game scoreless. Just minutes later, Wolves took the lead through Dongda He’s first competitive goal for the under-23s as he picked up the ball wide on the left before cutting inside and curling a right-footed effort into the far corner of Jake Weaver’s net.
Moments before half-time, the visitors were forced into a change at the back, with Otasowie taking a knock to the face and having to be replaced by Lewis Richards – another under-23 star who spent last week with the first-team in Spain.
Just over ten minutes into the second-half, Wolves doubled their advantage with the first goalscorer Dongda He being involved once again. The Chinese youth international was released down the right before cutting into the box and pulling the ball back for Raphael Nya to cleverly flick a shot in from close-range.
After scoring and assisting, Dongda He’s evening came to an end shortly before full-time as the forward was replaced by Renat Dadashov, as Wolves closed out the match and booked their place in the semi-finals of the Birmingham Senior Cup and tie with Nuneaton Borough.
The under-23s return to Premier League 2 action on Monday evening as they take on Liverpool in a Division 1 contest, as James Collins’ side look for their first league win since September.
17/02 Liverpool (H)
21/02 Leeds United (A) PLC
25/02 Derby County (H) PLC
02/03 Tottenham Hotspur (A)
16/03 Derby County (H)
Leamington: Weaver, English, Mace, Lane, Morley, McFarlane, Maycock, Dunbar, Anderson, Edwards, Parker.
Subs: Taylor, Rawlings, Nicholson, Carson, Allen.
Wolves: Sondergaard, Nya, Lonwijk, Francis, Otasowie, Mayounga, Hong Wan, Loiodice, Perry, Campbell, Dongda He.
Subs: Marques, Richards, Taylor, Cundle, Dadashov.