Sunderland 2 (Curry 8, 70) Wolves 1 (Perry 78 (p))
Despite having much of the possession and chances in their Premier League 2 clash, Wolves under-23s fell to defeat at Sunderland following a pair of counter-attacking goals from Mitch Curry.
Andreas Sondergaard, who was impressive in Monday’s 3-0 win over Fulham, had to be alert to stop his side going behind in the first five minutes as he managed to save a Stephen Wearne shot with his feet from close range.
But there was nothing Sondergaard could do just moments later to deny Sunderland striker Curry, who was played in over the top of the Wolves defence before breaking into the box and firing an unstoppable effort into the top corner.
Wolves continued to press the Sunderland backline with several crosses being sent into the penalty area, many of which came through Theo Corbeanu who was using his pace and power to get to the byline, but the hosts defence stood firm to the pressure from the men in gold and black.
Had it not have been for a slip, Wolves would have expected themselves to have found a way back into the game when Taylor Perry was set up in the Sunderland box by Luke Matheson, but the midfielder could only fire high and wide having lost his footing.
Perry had another chance to equalise for Wolves, but goalkeeper Anthony Patterson was equal to his driven effort inside the area to palm the shot out for a corner. From the respective set-piece, Pascal Estrada headed narrowly over.
Canadian forward Corbeanu came close to levelling the scoreline minutes before the half-time break when he got his head on a Meritan Shabani cross, but he was unable to direct his effort on the correct side of the upright.
Despite Wolves dominating possession at the start of the second-half and peppering the Sunderland box with cross after cross into the danger zone, the hosts almost snatched a second just under the hour mark. Sondergaard stood up well to get a deflection on Curry’s shot after the striker had been played through one-on-one with the Danish keeper.
Perry came close one again for Wolves when his side were awarded a free-kick from a dangerous position, and having already netted twice from set-pieces this season, he almost made it three, but was denied by a diving save from Patterson – although many in gold and black were appealing that the ball had already crossed the line before the Sunderland keeper palmed it away.
In almost identical circumstances to his previous effort, Curry was able to make it 2-0 to the hosts. With Wolves pressuring at one end, the red and whites lifted a long ball over the defence for Curry to run on to, and this time Sondergaard could not stop the striker from inside the box.
Wolves were handed a route back into the game when the referee point to the penalty spot, and Perry – who once again slipped on the run-up – managed to squeeze the ball past Patterson and into the back of the net.
The visitors continued to push for the equalising goal, with defender Lewis Richards almost catching out Patterson with a chipped effort which was heading into the top corner, but the Sunderland keeper was able to get fingertips to the effort, securing the three points for his side.
James Collins’ under-23s – as the under-21s – take a trip to Doncaster Rovers ahead of the international break, as they face their final group stage match of the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday evening.
10/11 Doncaster Rovers* (A) PJT
20/11 Middlesbrough (H)
30/11 Newcastle United (A)
14/12 West Bromwich Albion (A)
18/12 Norwich City (A)
*indicates first-team opposition
Fulham: Patterson, Taylor, Almond, Younger, Wilding, Steels, Wombwell, Hackett, Dunne, Wearne, Curry.
Unused subs: Richardson, Taylor, Beaumont, Harris.
Wolves: Sondergaard, Matheson, Estrada (Tipton 71), Marques, Richards, Bueno, Hong Wan (Roberts 71), Cundle, Perry, Shabani, Corbeanu.
Unused subs: Young, Mayounga, Hesketh.