Wolves 3 (Perry 12, 60, Noukeu OG 70) Stoke City 0
A Taylor Perry double took Wolves to the top of Premier League 2 Division 2 as the under-23s extended their unbeaten start to the 2020/21 campaign.
The midfielder, born and raised in the Black Country, rounded off a professional performance from James Collins’ development side with a goal in either half, before Stoke goalkeeper Blondy Noukeu diverted the ball into his own net to put the game beyond the reach of the Potters.
Having had to come from behind in their opening two Premier League 2 matches, Wolves took a surprising early lead at Aggborough though a well-worked team goal.
Theo Corbeanu picked up the ball on the right before splitting the Stoke defence with a through ball to Meritan Shabani, who turned his markers inside the area and with Noukeu blocking his way to goal, instead laid a pass into the path of the onrushing Perry, who had the easiest of jobs to slot the ball into an empty net.
Mid-way though the first-half, the game was halted for a lengthy stoppage as Aidan Barlow had to receive treatment for a nasty looking head injury, with the midfielder being replaced by Douglas James-Taylor.
As the half wore on, Stoke grew into the game, with Gabriel Kyeremateng seeing a shot saved comfortably by Andreas Sondergaard, while Thibaud Verlinden couldn’t direct a header at the far post on target.
Wolves attempted to catch Stoke on the break, with Owen Otasowie being a dominant force in the centre of midfield and Shabani trying to use his skill to break a resistant Stoke. Corbeanu was calling for a penalty in first-half added time after racing past two Stoke defenders and then going down inside the penalty area, but the referee waved away the Canadian's appeals.
Stoke came close to equalising early in the second-half when Liam Lindsay’s header towards the back post was unable to be put into the net by one of the two onrushing Stoke attackers. Instead, it was the hosts who extended their advantage as the game reached the hour mark.
Following a delightful passage of play which saw Wolves players use one-touch football to move the ball from the edge of their own area, Perry put the afterburners on to race to the edge of the Stoke penalty area, before the midfielder was upended by Tom Ince as he was about to let fire.
But Perry was not to be denied his second of the afternoon as, from the resulting free-kick, he curled an unstoppable effort beyond the reach of the visiting keeper and into the top corner of the net.
Ince attempted to close the gap with a long-range effort that had Sondergaard stretching, but just moments later it was 3-0 to Wolves.
Corbeanu made a bursting run down the left before aiming a cross into the area which took a heavy deflection off Lindsay before being palmed into his own net by Noukeu, handing the three points to Wolves.
The under-23s – as the under-21s – will play their second EFL Trophy group stage tie next Tuesday, ahead of the international break, with the development side travelling to Bradford City for a 7.30pm kick-off.
06/10 Bradford City* (A) EFLT
18/10 Aston Villa (H)
26/10 Crystal Palace (A)
01/11 Fulham (H)
06/11 Sunderland (A)
*indicates first-team opposition
Wolves: Sondergaard, Matheson (Scott 74), Estrada, Marques, Richards, Bueno, Otasowie (Hong Wan 84), Perry, Shabani, Corbeanu (Samuels 79), Carty.
Unused subs: Mayounga, Campbell.
Stoke: Noukeu, Edwards, Marcari, Lindsay, Coates, Porter, Malone, Ince, Barlow (James-Taylor 28), Verlinden (Varian 66), Kyeremateng.
Unused subs: Taylor, Cooper, Jones.