Wolves 1 (Carty 66) West Bromwich Albion 1 (Gardner-Hickman 89 (p))
Wolves under-23s had to settle for a point in their latest Black Country derby contest, as West Bromwich Albion snatched a draw from James Collins’ side in the final minutes of an entertaining clash at Aggborough.
The development side dominated much of the first-half and peppered the Albion goal with chances which they were unable to take. But Collins’ men would have felt they had victory in the bag when Conor Carty notched his second of the season midway through the second period, yet an Albion penalty on 89 minutes snatched a point for the young Baggies team.
Many of the early chances were going the way of the side in gold and black, as Wolves were attempting to play the ball behind West Brom’s high defensive line, but Ted Cann in the Albion goal was alert to the danger.
The deadlock could have been broken within the opening ten minutes when Hesketh was played in behind defence by Scott, but his shot from a narrow angle was kept out by the Baggies keeper, who was able to get down well and deflect the ball away.
Although the visiting keeper denied the Welsh youth international early on, Hesketh may have felt he let Albion off the hook moments later, but he was unable to trouble Cann. He was found – unmarked – inside the six-yard box from a looping Richards cross, but could not keep his volleyed effort from flying over the crossbar.
Cann was then called into action to acrobatically palm a long-range effort from Theo Corbeanu around the post after the Canadian had created a shooting chance on the left and aimed a fantastic effort for the far post. Wolves then had the ball in the back, but Austin Samuels had his strike cancelled out as Corbeanu had strayed offside before laying the ball into Samuels’ path for a tap-in.
Albion’s best opportunity of the opening stages fell to Owen Windsor following a mix-up in the Wolves midfield, but the West Brom striker could only hit his shot narrowly wide after finding himself in a good position inside the penalty area. Luke Cundle then fired wired a good chance for Wolves having cut through the Albion midfield.
The hosts were forced into two changes before the break, as Samuels and Nigel Lonwijk had to be taken off the pitch. Samuels took a heavy blow from Albion keeper Cann, who picked up a yellow card, while Lonwijk was seen feeling his hamstring and calf muscles after overstretching for the ball.
West Brom began the second-half much stronger than they played the first, with Zak Brown coming closest to opening the scoring, as he was denied by the upright after turning onto his left foot inside the area. But Wolves were still showing their attacking intent, as Corbeanu tested Cann from 20 yards out.
Despite Albion pulling the strings in the second period, it was the side who controlled the first period who took the lead through an impressive team goal. Corbeanu used his electric pace to get behind the West Brom defence before cutting inside and laying the ball into Cundle who played a first-time pass to substitute Carty, who himself diverted an effort with his first touch into the bottom corner.
Wolves were looking to make their first real spell of second-half pressure count, as Corbeanu played in Hesketh, but after turning on the edge of the box, his goalbound shot was blocked well by defender George Harmon. Corbeanu then fired a powerful low drive wide of the post having created space on the left.
The visitors put the old gold defence under pressure inside the closing stages, with cross after cross being fired into the Wolves penalty area and they got their just rewards in the last minute of the 90, as Jack Scott tripped Brown in the box, and Albion captain Taylor Gardner-Hickman dispatched the penalty to snatch his side a point.
James Collins’ side will be back in action next Monday lunchtime as the under-23s host Norwich City in their third of three consecutive fixtures at Aggborough. Once again, the match will be live on Wolves TV from 1pm.
26/04 Norwich City (H)
30/04 Reading (A)
10/05 Reading (H)
Wolves: Young, Scott, Marques, Lonwijk (Estrada 34), Richards, Hong Wan, Diallo (Perry 83), Cundle, Hesketh, Corbeanu, Samuels (Carty 35).
Unused subs: Mayounga, Campbell.
West Brom: Cann, Gardner-Hickman, Solanke, Joshua, Harmon, Fellows (Okoka 76), King, Moses, Clayton-Phillips, Brown, Windsor (Cleary 81).
Unused subs: French, Ashworth, Teixeira.