Wayne Hennessey made his comeback for Wolves Under-21s last night – but it was the performance of his younger team-mates that took the eye in a 3-2 victory against Chelsea at AFC Telford.
The Wales keeper, the only over-age player, lasted the first half as he recovers from the ruptured cruciate ligament he sustained last April before being replaced by Aaron McCarey at half-time. He was in action in the fourth minute with a catch from Islam Feruz’s header.
Wolves’ first chance arrived soon after when John Gorman was left in the clear but could only screw his tight-angled shot across the face of keeper Mitchell Beeney’s goal.
Zeli Ismail’s driving run and cross should have seen Wolves take a 17th-minute lead only for the unmarked Liam McAlinden to head wide.
Chelsea almost made Wolves pay five minutes later when Patrick Bamford rattled the underside of the bar from Lewis Baker’s cross and Michael Ihiekwe prevented George Saville bundling home the loose ball. Ismail’s lob was deflected into the side netting after Jack Price split the defence before he set up Sam Whittall to give Wolves a 27th-minute lead. The Perton-based midfielder buried a low shot from Ismail’s corner.
Wolves’ lead lasted just two minutes as Feruz sidefooted home on the volley from a left-wing cross.
The alert McAlinden restored Wolves’ advantage on 38 when he intercepted Adam Nditi’s backpass and calmly drew Beeney before steering home with the outside of his left foot from just inside the box.
Feruz levelled on 52, crashing home a fierce, angled shot off the post after Billy Clifford split the defence. But Wolves had the last laugh through McAlinden, who dived to head home Jordan Cranston’s inviting cross in the 67th minute after Ismail’s corner had been partly cleared.
Wolves: Hennessey (McCarey HT); Ihiekwe, Tank, Ebanks-Landell, Cranston; Kostrna, Whittall, Price, Gorman (Jakobsson 71); Ismail, McAlinden. Subs not used: Iorfa, Dell, Parry.
Chelsea: Beeney; Kane, Christensen, Ake, Nditi (Deen-Conteh 85); Baker, C Clifford (Ince 89), Saville; W Clifford, Feruz, Bamford (Musonda 76). Subs not used: Davey, Killip (gk).