West Ham United 0 Wolves 0
Wolves maintained their unbeaten run in the 2021/22 Premier League Cup with an entertaining goalless draw at Premier League 2 Division 1 leaders West Ham United, in which the visitors had the best of the chances.
There was not much to separate the sides in the early exchanges, as both Wolves and West Ham were able to get forward, but without bringing a difficult save out of either goalkeeper.
It was the team in gold and black who came the closest to opening the scoring when the impressive Hugo Bueno found space down the left, but his effort across goal was comfortably palmed away by Brian Kinnear in the host’s goal.
Louie Moulden, between the sticks for Wolves, had rather little to do in the match as Wolves defended staunchly, while doing well with the ball themselves at the other end of the pitch.
Moments after Bruno Jordao – earning minutes in the under-23s as he recovers from injury – let fly from the edge of the box, which Kinnear was able to smoother, neat play by Wolves saw Owen Hesketh played down the left and his cross met the head of Lee Harkin, but he couldn’t get the ball on target.
Hesketh was then among the chances himself when he fired narrowly over the crossbar and then slammed the ball into the side netting from a tight angle, as Wolves had the best of the chances against the side flying high in the division above in the opening 45 minutes.
West Ham posed more of a threat following the break, and it took a last-ditch challenge from Justin Hubner to stop an Irons counter-attack, with the Dutch defender making a crucial block to deny Sonny Perkins when the forward was getting set to shoot.
it was Wolves who felt they should have had a penalty on the hour mark when Harkin was tripped from behind, but the forward was just outside the area. Jordao fired the resulting free-kick high over the crossbar.
Wolves had the ball in the back of the net twice within the final 20 minutes but were both time thwarted by the offside flag,
The first came through the head of Bueno as the Spaniard had chased down a West Ham backpass to Kinnear and got a block to the ball, which fell to substitute Nathan Fraser, who crossed to Bueno who headed into the bottom corner. However, the assistant’s flag was up against Fraser.
Jack Scott was then denied after he believed he had put his side ahead. A free-kick from the right-hand side was played into the box by Hesketh, and the defender was first to the ball as he flicked his effort inside the far post, but once again, Wolves were denied by the officials.
In the dying moments of the game, substitute Tyler Roberts – fresh off his brace against Salford City in the FA Youth Cup last week – was played through neatly by Harry Birtwistle and having taken a touch, tried to lift the ball over the onrushing Kinnear, but the keeper got a strong hand to the ball to deny the winger what would have been a match-winning goal.
With a point apiece, Wolves maintain their spot at the top of Group F table, ahead of West Ham, knowing just one point from their final two group matches will be enough to secure a place in the knockout stages.
James Collins’ side are back playing in Premier League 2 next Monday as the under-23s hunt for league points when they invite Newcastle United to Aggborough for a 7pm kick-off.
20/12 Newcastle United (H)
05/01 Swansea City (H) PLC
09/01 Southampton (A)
17/01 Burnley (H)
24/01 Sunderland (A)
*indicates first-team opposition
West Ham: Kinnear, Rosa, Greenidge, Baptiste (Casey 64), Longelo, Swyer, Ekwah, Forson, Fevrier (Diallo 68), Dju (Potts 68), Perkins.
Unused subs: Hegyi, Forbes.
Wolves: Moulden, Buur (Lembikisa 82), Scott, Tipton, Hubner, Bueno, Griffiths, Jordao (Fraser 62), Birtwistle, Hesketh, Harkin (Roberts 72).
Unused subs: Estrada, Hodnett.