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Wolves U23s win to regain top spot – report

Wolves Under-23s 2 Stoke City Under-23s 1.

Wolves Under-23s regained top spot in the Premier League 2 Division Two after weathering a Stoke storm at Molineux.

Centre back Ed Francis grabbed the winner for Rob Edwards’s side five minutes from time, much to the delight of the excellent crowd of 2,934, but only after they had withstood heavy pressure from the Potters.

Earlier fellow central defender Dion Sanderson had given Wolves a 14th-minute lead only for midfielder Daniel Jarvis to level on 25.

Wolves made the better start and Elliot Watt wasn’t too far away with a long-range drive that spun wide.

Backed by a good crowd for an Under-23s game, Wolves took the lead in the 14th minute. Centre back Dion Sanderson’s header found the net despite the attentions of a defender on the line desperately trying to clear it, following Watt’s corner.

There were noisy shouts for a Wolves penalty from the crowd after Carlos Heredia tumbled in the box, but the referee was unmoved and Stoke cleared the danger.

But Wolves were their own worst enemy as they conceded the equaliser in the 25th minute.

Central midfielder Daniel Jarvis picked his spot with a low left-footed drive from 15 yards after the defence stood off him when Mame Biram Diouf teed him up, leaving Sondergaard rooted to the spot.

Wolves were being pinned in by some impressive pressing all over the pitch from Stoke and within two minutes of the equaliser, the hosts created two more chances.

Heredia headed wide from Ryan Giles’s inviting cross. Then Austin Samuels curled a narrowly wide after being found by Pedro Goncalves on the edge of the box.

Wolves Under-23s coach Rob Edwards predicted a tough test for his side from the lower-table Potters, and so it proved as Stoke bossed the game initially after the break.

Diouf’s looping header was caught under the bar by Sondegaard before Thibaud Verlinden fired straight at the Wolves keeper.

Diouf was heavily involved and his drive from just inside the box was blocked by Sondegaard’s legs.

Stoke must have thought their dominance would pay off by taking the lead for the first time in the 51st minute.

Tre Pemberton surged past the defence to find himself clean through with only Sondegaard to beat, but he could only roll a left-foot shot wide as the keeper came out to narrow the angle.

Verlinden was finding plenty of space on the Stoke left and he teased Sanderson before drilling goalwards on the run only for Sondegaard to block his angled drive.

Wolves however weathered the storm and Ryan Giles tried to find the bottom corner with a placed effort after cutting inside only for the ball to drift a foot wide.

The home side regained the lead with their first on target effort since their goal. Francis turned smartly following a corner and his left-foot drive somehow squeezed past a crowd of bodies and over the line to send Wolves back to the top of the table.

Wolves (3-4-3): Sondergaard; Sanderson, Francis, Richards; Buur, Watt, Diallo, Giles; Heredia (Kitolano 55), Samuels (Sauvage 90+2), Goncalves (Alves 81).

Subs: Pardington, Molberg.

Stoke (4-5-1): Broome; Bauer, Collins, Wara, Tymon; Pemberton (Toure 61), Jarvis, Dunwoody, Shenton, Verlinden (Coates 79); Diouf.

Subs: Kanuric, Twyford, Kyeremateng.

Referee: Simeon Lucas.

Attendance: 2,934.