West Bromwich Albion 2 (Edwards 13, Diaby 31) Wolves 4 (Shabani 20, Buur 57, Corbeanu 64, 66)
Two goals in as many minutes from Theo Corbeanu in an incredible second-half fightback helped Wolves come from behind to take the spoils in an under-23 Black Country derby.
James Collins’ side twice fought back from going behind, firstly through Meritan Shabani. Oskar Buur then started the comeback 12 minutes into the second period, before Corbeanu hit a double to put the game beyond doubt.
Wolves made a positive start against West Brom, with Corbeanu proving to be a menace for the hosts’ defence, and the Canadian almost put his side ahead when he cut in from the right and curled an effort toward the top corner but the ball just flew wide of the upright.
Despite their opening to the game, it was Albion who took the lead just after 10 minutes into the tie when Kyle Edwards capitalised on a misplaced pass in the Wolves defence to fire past Andreas Sondergaard.
Wolves were not disheartened after falling behind and had several chances to level the scores almost immediately. The chances once again fell to Corbeanu once again after Wolves made a quick break through Taylor Perry. The midfielder raced through the defence before squaring for the forward, but Corbeanu could only aim his effort straight at Albion keeper Ted Cann.
The hosts could have extended their lead but for Sondergaard’s brilliance. The Danish stopper made himself big to deny Rico Richards an almost certain goal when the Albion forward got in behind the Wolves defence, but one-on-one and with the goal at his mercy, Sondergaard was able to parry his effort clear.
Wolves’ pressure finally told with 20 minutes on the clock with Shabani notching his second of the season. The midfielder started a brilliant team move when he played the ball out Corbeanu on the right, who slipped in Buur on the overlap at the byline and the wing-back fired a low drive into the centre of the six-yards box for Shabani to tap home.
Another slip-up in midfield allowed Albion to take the lead once again as Cheikh Diaby capitalised on a loose pass before unleashing a thunderous effort from 20 yards out past Sondergaard and in off the underside of the crossbar.
The Wolves keeper was called into action once again before the half-time whistle to deny Toby King extending West Brom’s lead from a free-kick, which was heading into the top corner.
Just a minute after the restart, Wolves could have levelled the scoreline, but Corbeanu was unable to keep his close-range header from flying narrowly over the crossbar. The Canadian has another opportunity moments later after Shabani had found him out wide, and after getting into the box, was denied by the Albion keeper.
Collins’ men did get the equaliser their play deserved when Buur scored his second of the season. Perry found space on the left and his cross into the box fell to the feet of the wing-back who guided the ball with a left-footed effort into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Less than ten minutes later, Wolves were not only ahead, but extended their lead with a quickfire double from Corbeanu, who after being denied time after time, found the back of the net twice in three minutes.
The first came from a fast breaking move as Perry set away down the left before cutting it infield to Shabani who laid the ball off to Corbeanu who slotted his first time effort under Cann to give Wolves the lead for the first time in the contest.
Moments later, it was four to Wolves and Corbeanu had a brace. After picking up the ball in midfield from a loose West Brom pass, the forward raced through the gaps in the host’s defence before firing across the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner.
Wolves put in a professional ending to the clash as they were able to see out the remaining 25 minutes to earn the three points which lifted the team above their opponents and up to third in the Premier League 2 Division 2 table.
James Collins’ under-23s are back in Premier League 2 action next Monday when they travel to East Anglia to take on Norwich City in a 1pm kick-off.
21/12 Norwich City (A)
18/01 Burnley (A)
24/01 Leeds (H)
01/02 Stoke City (A)
12/02 Aston Villa (A)
*indicates first-team opposition
West Brom: Cann, Gardner-Hickman, Taylor (Ingram 66), Delaney, Harmon, Harper (Malcolm 77), King, Richards (Thorndike 71), Dyce, Edwards, Diaby.
Subs: French, Faal.
Wolves: Sondergaard, Buur (Matheson 85), Lonwijk, Marques, Richards, Bueno, Cundle, Perry, Shabani (Hesketh 68), Corbeanu (Hong Wan 83), Carty.
Subs: Estrada, Harkin.