Carlisle United 2 (Hope 35, Loft 45) Wolves U21s 4 (Ashley-Seal 20, 47 & 64, Tsun Dai 40)
Benny Ashley-Seal was Wolves’ Under-21s’ hero as he fired a hat-trick in their 4-2 win at Carlisle as they kicked off their Leasing.com Trophy Group G campaign in style at Brunton Park.
The 20-year-old striker produced clinical strikes sandwiching a penalty while Tsun Dai netted his first goal in gold and black as Rob Edwards’s side were twice pegged back before half-time.
Carlisle started well and captain for the night Hallam Hope saw a 20-yard drive deflected wide after a surging run at the Wolves defence, before on-loan Newcastle striker Elias Sorensen’s glancing header landed on top of the net following a long throw-in by Jack Iredale.
Christie Elliott was next to try his luck for the hosts after a dummy set up a shooting chance, but goalkeeper Andreas Sondegaard got down well to smother.
Ashley-Seal had failed to get off the mark this season but all that changed in Cumbria as he broke the deadlock after 20 minutes, firing in at the near post after exchanging passes with strike partner Austin Samuels.
Carlisle tried to hit back and on-loan Leicester City striker Ryan Loft sent a header and then a long-range volley over the bar as they pressed for an equaliser.
The game was end to end and Wolves returned to the attack as Ashley Seal’s curling effort hit Mike Jones, leaving goalkeeper Louis Gray relieved to see the ball spin wide on his Carlisle debut.
Carlisle equalised on 35 when Hope got the wrong side of Lewis Richards and lobbed the ball over Sondergaard after the striker’s run was picked out by a fine pass from Elliott.
Five minutes later Wolves got their noses in front again when Tsun Sai picked his spot from fully 25 yards after patient build-up play, his shot taking a deflection off on-loan Brentford midfielder Canice Carroll on its way in.
A rollercoaster first half was complete when Carlisle equalised again when Loft beat Sondergaard after being put through when Jack Bridge and Sorensen combined.
Wolves went ahead for a third time just two minutes after the break. Ashley-Seal found the roof of the net from the penalty spot after he was tripped by goalkeeper Louis Gray after seizing on an under-hit back pass from 17-year-old defender Jarrad Branthwaite on his debut.
Wolves Academy graduate Aaron Hayden came off the bench for his Carlisle debut in the 65th minute and he wasn’t too far away from scoring against his former employers. Hayden rose highest for a corner and connected well in the air but his header was a yard too high.
Ashley-Seal’s night was improving all the time but there was more to come as he claimed the matchball, firing home after impressive midfielder Elliot Watt split the defence for wing back Oskar Buur, who picked out the Londoner to complete his treble.
Wolves return to Premier League 2 Division 1 action on Friday night when they host Southampton at AFC Telford (7pm)..
Carlisle: Gray, Elliott, Iredale, Carroll, Mellish, Hope, Jones (Hayden 60), Bridge, Branthwaite, Loft (McKirdy 77), Sorensen.
Unused subs: Collin, Charters, Barnes, Kerr, Olomola.
Wolves: Sondergaard, Buur, Nya, Cristovao, Richards, Thompson, Watt, Taylor (Hanne 70), Tsun Dai (Otasowie 85), Samuels, Ashley-Seal (He 81).
Unused subs: Pardington, Wan, Csoka, Marques.
Referee – Sebastian Stockbridge.
Attendance: 893 (72 Wolves fans).