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Ennis strikes at the double as Wolves regain top spot

Wolves Under-23s 3 Southampton Under-23s 1.

Two goals from Niall Ennis helped Wolves Under-23s return to the top of Premier League 2 after winning their top-of-the-table clash against Southampton at Molineux.

The 19-year-old striker, born little over a month before Steve Bull retired, struck in the ninth minute and 61st as Rob Edwards’s side went a point clear of their opponents.

His brace sandwiched Austin Samuels’s effort in first-half time added on following Alfie Jones’s 24th minute equaliser.

The only downside was Samuels’s early exit on the hour with what was later confirmed as a sprain to his right shoulder.

Southampton had the first chance when midfielder Callum Slattery poked wide from Nathan Tella’s cross.

Wolves took the lead with their first opening when Ennis tapped home from almost on the goalline after wing back Oskar Buur crossed low from the right when Pedro Goncalves cleverly played him inside a defender.

Goncalves sized up a second Wolves goal but his curling 25-yard free kick was gathered by keeper Harry Lewis diving to his left.

Another free kick, this time from the visitors, almost levelled with a curling shot from midfielder Will Smallbone which brought a flying save from Andreas Sondergaard.

Almost immediately Wolves broke and midfielder Elliot Watt let fly with a first-time, rising effort that flew a foot over the bar.

Saints equalised in the 24th minute when centre back Jones hooked home despite two Wolves players on the line after Sondergaard came under heavy aerial pressure when he tried to punch clear a corner at the near post.

Three minutes later the home keeper came out well to bravely block as Sam Gallagher – linked with a move to Molineux in the summer of 2017 – raced through.

In between Goncalves saw a firmly-struck 25-yarder held at the second attempt by Lewis, who is the grandson of the late Shrewsbury legend and Manchester City goalkeeper Ken Mulhearn.

Wolves had a let-off when Tella somehow sidefooted wide of an open goal from 12 yards after Sondergaard had come for Kayne Ramsay’s cross intended for Gallagher.

Edwards’s side made them pay in style as they regained the lead.

Samuels lashed into the roof of the net from close range after a poor touch from defender Tom O’Connor hit Lewis after Ryan Giles’s low centre created havoc.

Sadly, Samuels’s evening came to an early close when he was forced off on the hour after falling when he was denied by Lewis in a one-on-one, leading to a long delay.

Ennis made it 3-1 on 61 with a superb individual goal, bursting past three challenges in a surging run before burying a low right-foot shot into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards.

Giles threatened a fourth Wolves goal when he burst onto a pass from Ennis, but Lewis pushed his shot into the sidenetting.

Ennis went desperately close to his hat-trick in the second of seven minutes added time when he hit the bar from Giles’s cross as Wolves broke from a Saints corner.

Watt then brought a flying save from Lewis to his left from a left-foot drive just inside the box as Wolves looked to finish with a flourish.

 

Wolves (3-5-2): Sondergaard; Sanderson, Francis, John; Buur, Diallo, Watt, Goncalves, Giles; Samuels (Heredia 60), Ennis.

Subs not used: Pardington (gk), Molberg, Kitolano, Alves.

Southampton (3-4-3): Lewis; Jones, O’Driscoll, O’Connor; Ramsay, Hamblin, Slattery (N’Lundulu 84), Vokins (Johnson 72); Smallbone, Gallagher, Tella.

Subs not used: Klarer, Cull, Ferry.

Referee: Tom Reeves.

Attendance: 1,175.