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Wolves U23s emerge with hard-earned point against Everton

Wolves Under-23s 0 Everton Under-23s 0

Wolves Under-23s’ new signings caught the eye as they opened their Premier League 2 Division 1 home campaign with a hard-earned point with a 0-0 draw against double holders Everton at AFC Telford.

Everton, the league and cup holders, had the better of the first half, but Wolves were much improved after the break, and new boy Bruno Jordao showed an eye for goal with three chances, while midfielder Elliot Watt was superbly denied by goalkeeper Nico Hansen.

Everton created the first chance when right back Cuco Martina squared for Fraser Hornby, and the striker’s dipping volley from 20 yards flew inches over the bar.

Watt was booked for tripping Dennis Adeniran as Everton looked to break.

But the hosts created their first opening when Taylor Perry was freed on the left side of the box only to allow Martina to nick the ball off him.

Everton should have taken the lead soon afterwards when Callum Connolly met Anthony Evans’s corner with a powerful free header only for his effort to hit the top of the bar and sail over from point-blank range.

Everton had another chance when Harry Charsley squared to Evans, but the winger could only fire a rising shot narrowly above the target from 15 yards out.

Wolves responded with a cross from wing back John Kitolano that had Hansen stretching to palm away, and in the ensuing follow-up, Watt fired straight at the keeper.

Another centre from Kitolano led to Wolves’ next opportunity. It reached Meritan Shabani at the far post and the German signing’s volley arrowed well wide, though he claimed a deflection.

Wolves started the second half the better side and Jordao went desperately close to breaking the deadlock. The Portuguese midfielder was unmarked as he latched on to Kitolano’s cross but his swerving, first-time drive with the outside of his right foot flew just wide of the near post.

Everton threatened when a long pass from Martina caused problems and left Hornby with a shooting chance, but thankfully for Wolves, Dion Sanderson produced a superb last-ditch challenge to block his shot.

Jordao had another opportunity soon after, but this time he delayed his shot and eventually his close-range effort was blocked by a defender.

Jordao was really in the thick of the action and he seemed certain to score in the 64th minute, only to be denied by a superb save from Hansen from point-blank range after a pass from Shabani was deflected into his path.

Connolly was booked for Everton in the 69th minute for chopping down striker Benny Ashley-Seal.

Wolves continued to threaten however and they were thwarted by a double save from Hansen in the 76th minute. Shabani was put clean through and Hansen stood his ground to block from the former Bayern Munich youngster then, when he was still grounded, even more impressively from Taylor Perry’s driven follow-up.

Hansen’s heroics continued as he flung himself to his right to tip away Watt’s left-foot drive from the edge of the box that seemed destined for the bottom corner after substitute Sadou Diallo’s cross had been partly cleared.

Wolves didn’t have the second half all their own way however, as clean-through Hornby was denied by a fine block by the legs of Andreas Sondegaard.

Benny Ashley-Seal had the final effort, unleashing an angled, rising drive from just inside the corner of the box which sailed over.

Wolves (3-5-2): Sondegaard; Sanderson, Francis, Nya; Buur, Jordao (Diallo 72), Watt, Perry, Kitolano; Ashley-Seal (Samuels 90+3), Shabani.

Subs not used: Cristovao, Thompson, Dai.

Everton (4-1-4-1): Hansen; Martina, Feeney, Connolly, Foulds; Evans; Denny (Phillips 86), Baningime, Adeniran, Charsley (Markelo 68); Hornby.

Subs not used: Mampala, Barrett.

Referee: Samuel Allison.

Attendance: 395.