First half proves costly for Under-21s at Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 Spurs
Sat 15 October 2022, 13:20|Tottenham Hotspur
An improved second-half display wasn't enough to overturn a 4-1 half-time deficit as our Under-21s suffered a heavy defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.
Three goals down after only 13 minutes and four behind with little more than half an hour gone, our makeshift defence endured a chastening time at New Bucks Head in Telford, with Jaden Williams' goal in first-half stoppage time all we had to show for our efforts amid a below-par opening period.
We were much brighter after the break and spent most of the time on the front foot, but our best chance to score quickly evaporated when substitute Romaine Mundle missed a penalty with a quarter-of-an-hour left.
The final scoreline perhaps seemed harsh given our performance in the latter period of the game, but our depleted side - featuring centre-half Marqes Muir and midfielder George Abbott filling in as full-backs, the latter one of four Under-18s players in the starting line-up - was ultimately made to pay for those early frailties.
Tyler Roberts burst in from Wolves' right to fire his team in front inside five minutes, with Alfie Pond heading home Jack Hodnett's free-kick to double Wanderers' lead four minutes later. And our poor start got even worse when Hodnett scored again on 13 minutes, nodding home once more after goalkeeper Josh Keeley had saved Lee McLaughlin's fierce shot from outside the box following a short corner routine. In amongst all that, we could and perhaps should have responded when both Muir and Williams went close with headers from respective Harvey White corners, while 16-year-old Damola Ajayi capped a hard-working display on his first start at this level with another aerial attempt that forced Wolves goalkeeper Jackson Smith into a low stop.
White himself dragged a shot wide after winning possession in an advanced area, but we fell further behind on 34 minutes when the ball was worked in from Wolves' right once again and Hodnett found the far corner with a controlled finish across goal on his left foot.
Williams got us off the mark in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of that period, his driven shot from close range deemed to have crossed the line despite defender Kam Kandola partially blocking it after Max Robson's initial attempt was saved by Smith. But while we pushed forward much more after the restart, Will Lankshear's header well saved by Smith, we couldn't make any further inroads into the scoreline, our frustration typified when Mundle was fouled by Kandola in the box, only to blast the resulting penalty against the crossbar on 74 minutes.
As the final moments ticked down, Keeley kept us from suffering further woe with a brilliant low save to keep out Harvey Griffiths' header from a corner, while Wolves finished the game with outfield player Leon Chiwome in goal after Smith was forced off injured in added time.
Highlights on SPURSPLAY
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 Spurs
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Smith (Chiwome 90+7), Birtwistle, Lembikisa, Tipton (c), Kandola, Pond, Roberts, Griffiths, Fraser, Hodnett (Farmer 72), McLaughlin (Keto-Diyawa 81). Substitutes (not used): Matheson, Ojinnaka.
Spurs: Keeley, Muir, Abbott, Fagan-Walcott (Lyons-Foster 46), Dorrington, Craig (c), Robson (Mundle 62), White, Santiago, Ajayi (John 62), Williams (Lankshear 46). Substitute (not used): Maguire.
Goals: Wolverhampton Wanderers - Roberts 5, Pond 9, 13, Hodnett 34; Spurs - Williams 45+1.
Yellow cards: Wolverhampton Wanderers - Pond 90+3; Spurs - Fagan-Walcott 23, Muir 81.
Referee: Steve Copeland.
Venue: New Bucks Head, Telford.
Weather: Sunny, gentle breeze, 13 degrees.