Under 23s

Under-23 report | Birmingham 1-2 Wolves

4 min read

Birmingham City 1 (Williams 39 (p)) Wolves 2 (Tipton 69 (p), Cundle 73)

Two goals in four minutes from Ollie Tipton – his first for Wolves under-23s – and Luke Cundle was enough to secure the team’s first win in four in a West Midlands derby against 10-man Birmingham City.

Last season’s under-18 captain Tipton, who has had to wait for his chance with the development squad after an injury-hit start to his first campaign with the 23s, netted from the spot after Josh Williams had put the hosts into an unlikely first-half lead after Duncan Idehen was dismissed early on.

But it was the current under-23 captain who made sure all three points were heading back across the West Midlands when he hit a stunning winner with just over 15 minutes of the match remaining.

Wolves came out of the blocks firing at St Andrew’s, peppering shots at Connal Trueman’s goal but without bringing a real save out of the Birmingham goalkeeper.

There was a feisty opening to the derby, with tackles flying in left, right and centre, and the visitors were given a big boost with less than 10 minutes on the clock, as Blues defender Idehen was given his marching orders for a second yellow card when he cynically scythed down Lee Harkin when the forward was in full flow.

The next 20 minutes was all-out attack for those in gold and black shirts, with Cundle, Conor Carty, Pascal Estrada, Owen Hesketh and Harkin all going close to putting their side ahead, but the Birmingham defenders were putting their bodies on the line to maintain their clean sheet.

As the hosts were able to deal with the Wolves attacks, they grew in confidence, and on the half-hour mark they pulled a stunning save from Louie Moulden in the Wolves goal, with the keeper at full stretch to palm an acrobatic Coalan Boyd-Munce effort from heading in the top corner.

Wolves were punished for not taking their chances against the 10 men, as Hugo Bueno, back for the first time following the injury he suffered playing for the first-team in pre-season, bringing down Kieran Wakefield in the penalty area, and Williams made no mistake from the spot, sending Moulden the wrong way.

The visitors were inches away from heading into the break level-pegging as Harkin’s curling effort from the edge of the penalty area struck the right post with Trueman beaten.

James Collins’ side came out in the second-half as they did in the first, putting the Blues defence under plenty of pressure before getting their reward with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Hesketh’s cross to the far post was headed towards goal by Harry Birtwistle, but it struck the hand of Renedi Masampu and the referee pointed to the spot. A regular penalty taker for the under-18s in previous years – and with a stunning record from the spot – defender Tipton stepped up and cooly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to bring Wolves level.

The turnaround was complete just four minutes later as Cundle played a clever one-two with substitute Jack Hodnett and curled an unstoppable right-footed curling effort inside the far post with Trueman unable to reach the ball at full stretch.

Wolves weren’t happy with just the one-goal lead and tried their hardest to net a third, with Hodnett coming closest having been played through, unmarked on the left-hand side of the penalty area, but Trueman this time stood up big and was able to make a good block, but the three points were already secured for Wolves.

COMING UP

James Collins’ side turn their attention to the Premier League Cup next week, as the under-23s head to Swansea City on Thursday for a 2pm kick-off.

NEXT FIVE

25/11 Swansea City (A) PLC

29/11 Norwich City (H)

03/12 Fulham (A)

13/12 West Ham United (A) PLC

20/12 Newcastle United (H)

*indicates first-team opposition

TEAMS

Birmingham: Trueman, Sullivan, Fogarty, Idehen, Masampu, Hurst (Browne 14), Home, Williams (Bellingham 65), Soldevilla (Zohore 79), Boyd-Munce, Wakefield (Khela 72).

Unused sub: Basey.

Wolves: Moulden, Birtwistle, Buur (Griffiths 62), Tipton, Richards, Bueno (Hodnett 62), Estrada, Cundle, Hesketh, Carty, Harkin (Scott 87).

Unused subs: Nya, Lembikisa.


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