Academy Watch: Spray injured and Zele scores
I’ve been a bad flea again, not keeping you updated on the progress of the season for the Wolves Academy Under 18’s.
They have played two games in the Premier Academy League since I reported about there first game against Ipswich (HERE).
The Saturday before last they played Fulham away and sadly lost out with 1-3.
Although they played well in the first half and had more chances than Fulham – especially Jonny Gorman and McAlinden missed a couple of them – Fulham managed to score on a set piece just before halftime.
And just a couple of minutes into the second half Wolves were two goals down. Then they got a penalty, but McAlinden missed from the spot. But after putting pressure on the Fulham team they managed to get a goal eventually – through Andre Landell.
Wolves continued to put pressure to Fulham, but they scored a third and despite Wolves playing well they didn’t succeed in even up the numbers.
Coach Mick Halsall said to the Official Wolves site:
“It was a good competitive game and I thought the players came out of it with a lot of credit. I feel we learned more from this game than from the victory against Ipswich last week. This was hard all the way through but the players stuck at it and, in the end, I thought they did well.“
Last Saturday they played against the Yorkshire club Barnsley in the League and the scores stopped at two all.
As against Fulham they started the game well, but had no precision in the finishes. So the same thing happened – the opposition took the lead. It was on a counter attack that Barnsley managed to score.
After half an hour striker James Spray had to walk off with a hamstring injury. But the hat-trick man from Ipswich, Jake Kempton, came on for him and managed to score an equaliser after only five minutes on the pitch.
Just before half time Wolves took the lead with a solo performance by Zele Ismail and so we were in the lead walking in for tea.
But as so many times before the youngsters fell to a counter attack early on in the second half and although the team tried to get the winner all through the second half the finishes were not good enough and the match ended two all.
Halsall to Wolves Official Site:
“We have to improve in this area but more so our understanding of how to defend when we first lose the ball not allowing the opposition to hurt us as quickly as they did on Saturday and Fulham did once to us last week.”
On Saturday at eleven sharp the team will play Nottingham Forest away.
Just a little update about the Academy Under 15’s. They played in a tournament at Warwick University in late August and got all the way to the finals.
The boys started by winning their group without conceding a single goal. The opponents were the Spanish team Villareal against which they won and there were victories against Fulham and Sunderland aswell. And a goalless draw against Bolton.
But in the finals the opponents were Chelsea, with one of the best youth teams in the world. Wolves lost that match with 3-0 and became runners-up in the tournament.
Academy manager Kevin Thelwell said to the Official Wolves Site:
“It was a great learning curve for the young players, managing not only themselves but also a tournament situation against strong opponents. They performed really well in the matches and it was certainly no disgrace to lose in the final to Chelsea who are one of the leading teams in youth development. It was a top class tournament and we were delighted with how it went.”
Thelwell also said that all the games were filmed by the Premier League so that the teams could analyse every step of their players afterwards. You can read more about this tournament on the official Premier League site HERE.
That’s very interesting. I suppose it’s the same system Wolves uses. We’re certainly in the age of scientific footballing now and the youngsters growing up in the Wolves Academy can benefit from the technical and bio-medical progress to better their game and get it right from the start.
A very strong performance of the Academy Under 15’s, it seems and I wish them good luck in their season and will follow their progress here, aswell as the Under 18’s of course.