Aston Villa 0 Wolves 0
Wolves under-23s did everything but put the ball in the back of the net as they gave Premier League 2 Division 2 leaders Aston Villa a tough test on the road as the sides played out a goalless draw.
Having scored eight against Stoke City last week, Aston Villa did not have the same opportunities against a Wolves side who began the game strongly and created plenty of chances without finding the back of the net, as Jack Scott headed narrowly over the crossbar and Jack Hodnett fired wide of the post having been found by Conor Carty.
It was the Irishman’s turn to have the next opportunity of the match as he was sought out by Harry Birtwistle, but Carty fired wide, leaving Villa keeper Filip Marschall untroubled.
Moments later, Hodnett had a second bite of the cherry, when Luke Cundle played a neatly chipped ball over the top of the Villa defence, but on the volley, the midfielder was unable to hit the target.
A dominant Wolves were almost punished by hitting their eight first-half shots off target as Villa fought back to get on top before the break. Pascal Estrada’s loose pass was picked up by Caleb Chukwuemeka, who fired narrowly wide from just inside the penalty area.
The Villa forward was getting the better of the Wolves defence towards the break, heading over from a corner, before a loose touch by the otherwise impressive Dexter Lembikisa found its way to the Villa number nine, but his shot took a deflection on its way towards goal, making it a comfortable save for Louie Moulden.
Wolves regained their control after the break, with Owen Hesketh and Hodnett firing wide from long-range, before the visitors got their first effort on target when Carty got a flick on a cross and sent the ball goalbound, only for Marschall parrying the ball around the post.
James Collins’ side continued to press through the second period and almost caught Villa out with 20 minutes to go when Scott rose highest from a corner once again, but this time slammed his header against the Villa crossbar.
The Wolves players and staff were appealing for a penalty with just five minutes remaining, as Chem Campbell played a clever ball through to Carty which split the Villa defence, but as Carty tried to get the ball, he was held off by Josh Feeney, and fell to the ground, but the referee was unmoved.
As it was in the first-half, Villa came on strong in the closing stages of the match, but Wolves held strong to earn a well-fought point and deny their West Midland rivals a chance to extend their lead at the top of the Division 2 table.
James Collins’ side become the under-21s next Tuesday evening as they return to Papa John’s Trophy action and face senior opposition away at League One Shrewsbury Town from 7pm.
05/10 Shrewsbury Town* (A) PJT
18/10 Southampton (H)
20/10 Coventry United* (A) BSC
25/10 Newcastle United (A)
01/11 Stoke City (A)
*indicates first-team opposition
Villa: Marschall, Ealing, Bogarde, Feeney, Swinkles, Iroegbunam, Lindley, Ramsey (Goodridge 70), Frith, Chukwuemeka, Phiogene-Bidace (Thorndike 46).
Unused subs: Zych, Zito.
Wolves: Moulden, Scott, Estrada, Nya, Birtwistle, Hodnett (Harkin 80), Cundle (Agboola 63), Lembikisa, Hesketh, Carty, Campbell.
Unused subs: O’Shaughnessy, Hubner, Roberts.