Villa Under-23s 1 Wolves Under-23s 0
Wolves Under-23s were prevented from regaining top spot in Premier League 2 after a dominant second-half display from Villa at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.
Striker Cameron Archer grabbed the only goal after 53 minutes, beating goalkeeper Andreas Sondegaard after a smart dummy left him in the clear to consign Rob Edwards’s side to a third straight defeat, all on the road.
It really was a game of two halves, played in driving rain; Wolves bossed the first period and created numerous chances to have led only for the half to end goalless, but they were overpowered by the hosts after the break in a game watched by chairman Jeff Shi, managing director Laurie Dalrymple and sporting director Kevin Thelwell, as well as former players Kevin Foley, Lee Naylor, Tony Daley, Stephen Hunt and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
Striker Austin Samuels had the first but failed to connect with an inviting low cross from left wing back Ryan Giles.
Niall Ennis then had two shooting opportunities for Wolves. First the England age-group striker saw a shot on the turn deflected wide, then his effort was blocked after Giles pulled down a great ball into space by Scotland Under-19s international Elliot Watt.
But Wolves were served notice of what was to come when highly-rated Villa midfielder Jacob Ramsey let fly and forced Sondergaard into a flying save to his left after Watt lost possession to leave Ramsey with a clear run to goal.
Wolves responded with a 20-yard free from midfielder Pedro Goncalves that drifted fractionally wide, before centre back Dion Sanderson hit the angle of bar and post with a volley at the far post from Watt’s inswinging corner.
Indiana Vassilev then had the ball in the net for Villa only to be flagged offside before the same player fired against the legs of Sondegaard.
Goncalves was a foot away from giving Wolves the lead with a curling effort from 25 yards, but his shot sailed just over.
Villa came storming out of the blocks at the start of the second half. Ramsey rattled the underside of the bar with a fierce shot that then bounced on the goalline after Sondergaard blocked his first effort, before Archer put them in front.
Archer looked to grab his and Villa’s second only to hit Sondegaard’s legs.
Watt let fly from 25 yards in a increasingly rare attack from Wolves but it flew wide, before the action switched to the other end and left back Callum Rowe’s angled drive was superbly tipped over by Sondegaard.
Villa substitute Mungo Bridge sent a flying header wide from a corner before Ramsey’s sidefoot went the same way with Sondegaard at full stretch.
Wolves will be aiming to return to winning ways when they entertain Stoke at Molineux next Monday (7pm).
Villa Under-23s (4-3-3): Sinisalo; Walker, Bazeley-Graham (Bridge HT), Revan, Rowe; Clarke (c), Brunt, Ramsey; Wright, Archer, Vassiliev (Pressley 60).
Subs: Odutayo, Lomax (gk), Knibbs.
Wolves Under-23s (3-5-2): Sondergaard; Sanderson, Francis, Richardson; Rasmussen, Diallo, Watt, Goncalves, Giles; Ennis (Alves 81), Samuels (Kitolano 69).
Subs: Pardington (gk), Heredia Fontana.
Referee: Samuel Allison.