Express & Star

Wolves U23s 0 Everton U23s 0 – report

New signings Meritan Shabani and Bruno Jordao both impressed but Wolves drew a blank against Everton in an entertaining under-23 clash at Telford.


Forward Shabani and attacking midfielder Jordao joined from Bayern Munich and Lazio respectively this summer and joined centre-half Raphael Nya, from PSG, as the fresh faces in Rob Edwards' newly-promoted team.

At a sunny New Bucks Head Wolves went close early doors when the pacey Shabani broke from midfield and the ball was played into the box where Benny Ashley-Seal turned it just past the post.

Everton, who won the Premier League 2 title last season, responded when striker Fraser Hornby flashed a volley just over the bar.

The direct Shabani, showing good close control, took on his man and teed up Taylor Perry who should have shot first time from a great position but got the ball caught up in his feet.

There was little to separate two evenly-matched teams in the first 30 minutes. Skipper Ed Francis, playing in the Conor Coady role, curled over a nice 25-yard free kick with his left-foot but keeper Nico Hansen was behind it.

Everton should have broken the deadlock when Mogan Feeney was given the freedom of Wolves' six yard box from a corner but his header clipped the bar on its way over the bar.

Wolves were being overrun in midfield at times and Everton forward Anthony Evans was given space to crash over from the edge of the box.

Jordao had initially struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game but he ventured into the box to see his volley blocked after good work from John Kitolano and Taylor Perry down the left.

Kitolano's goalbound cross was then kept out by Hansen who comfortably saved a lot Elliot Watt effort.

The impressive Kitolano then crossed towards Jordao who dragged his volley wide of the far post with the last chance of the half.

Jordao almost broke the deadlock just after the break after being again teed up by that man Kitolano, who picked him out from the left flank, but the Portuguese midfielder's first-time effort flashed fractionally wide.

Francis made a superb block to deny Dennis Adeniran's goal-bound effort, before Dion Sanderson did the same to prevent Fraser Hornby from scoring.

Elliot Watt then played in the technically proficient Jordao, who was proving adept at finding some great positions in and around the Everton box when ghosting in unmarked, but from the perfect chipped pass Jordao's effort was charged down.

Sanderson again got his body in the way to deny Adeniran from close range as both sides pushed to take the lead in an end-to-end contest.

Wolves were looking the more likely scorers though and they were somehow denied by a wonderful Hansen save to push Jordao's chipped effort over the bar after he was played in via a deflected Shabani pass.

Shabani was then through himself but couldn't bring the lofted ball down so teed up Perry whose effort produced another remarkable reaction save from Hansen.

The keeper was at it again when he blocked Watt's 18-yard shot after good work down the right by substitute Sadou Diallo.

Then it was Wolves keeper Andreas Sondergaard's chance to save his team, which he did when Hornby got in behind Nya and shot from 10 yards.

That was the last real chance of the game as Wolves drew a blank for the second game in a row in what was otherwise a good performance against last season's champions.

Wolves (3-5-2): Sondergaard; Sanderson, Francis (c), Nya; Buur, Jordao (Diallo, 72), Watt, Perry, Kitolano; Shabani, Ashley-Seal (Samuels 90+2). Subs not used: Flavio, Thompson, Tsun-Dai.

Everton (4-3-3): Hansen; Martina, Feeney, Connolly, Foulds; Denny (Phillips 86), Baningime, Adeniran; Evans, Hornby, Charsley (Markelo, 67). Subs not used: Mampala, Barrett.

Attendance: 395