Oldham Athletic 4 (Rowe 41, Grant 85, McAleny 88, 90) Wolves 0
Wolves under-21s suffered defeat in their opening group match of this season’s EFL Trophy against Oldham Athletic.
Goals from Danny Rowe, Robert Grant and a late Conor McAleny double gave Latics a heavy victory, but the scoreline did not reflect the game, with the young Wolves side putting in a positive performance at Boundary Park.
Wolves started the brighter of the two sides, creating several chances, but unable to put the clinical touches in the final third.
Both Austin Samuels and Theo Corbeanu had opportunities inside the Oldham penalty area, but couldn’t keep their efforts from firing into the stand.
As the first-half wore on, Oldham got a foothold on the game, with Rowe and Dylan Fage missing glaring opportunities for the hosts.
Nigel Lonwijk was the Wolves hero at the half-hour mark when he expertly got back on the line to deny Robert Grant a certain goal after the Oldham forward had chipped the ball over the onrushing Joe Young.
Moments later, it was Young who was pulling off the heroics, producing a stunning save to tip the ball over the bar from Fage’s long-range volley which looked destined for the top corner.
However, Oldham couldn’t be kept out for long, with Rowe picking up the ball inside the area before turning one way, and then cutting back the other before firing a low drive into the corner past Young.
That goal didn’t dent the under-21s’ confidence and Wolves came inches away from an immediate equaliser when Ian Lawlor was able to palm Luke Cundle’s effort from 20 yards over his crossbar.
Cundle was at his old tricks again early in the second-half, trying to catch Lawlor out from distance, but the Latics’ keeper was not going to let the Wolves youngster get the better of him.
A flurry of changes for Wolves, one of which saw Luke Matheson come on for his debut in gold and black, altered the tempo of the game, with Oldham able to capitalise with three late goals.
Firstly, Grant cut inside before firing an unstoppable shot into the far corner of the net, before substitute McAleny’s effort from distance somehow found its way past Young.
The second and third scorers linked up for Oldham’s fourth as Grant’s cross found the head of McAleny to loop a header over the Wolves keeper, to wrap up the three points for the hosts.
The under-23s are back in Premier League 2 action next Monday as James Collins’ side host Stoke City at Aggborough, in a 2pm kick-off.
28/09 Stoke City (H)
06/10 Bradford City* (A) EFLT
18/10 Aston Villa (H)
26/10 Crystal Palace (A)
01/11 Fulham (H)
*indicates first-team opposition
Oldham: Lawlor, Hamer, Jombati, Piergianni, Badan (McAleny 62), Fage (Keillor-Dunn 77), Whelan (Garrity 46), Hough, Barnett, Grant, Rowe.
Unused subs: Chapman, Da Silva, Luamba, Sutton.
Wolves: Young, Scott (Matheson 82), Lonwijk, Marques, Estrada, Bueno, Cundle, Otasowie (Hong Wan 63), Corbeanu, Campbell (Carty 64), Samuels.
Unused subs: Smith, Tipton, Mayounga, Dongda He.