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U18’s vs. Wolves (H) Sat 10th Nov – Match Report

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Middlesbrough U18s played host to Wolves on what was a pleasant winter’s morning at Rockliffe Park.

 

The Middlesbrough line up included two U16s, in midfield making his U18 debut was England U16 Callum Cooke, a talented player who likes to get forward, likes to move the ball well and has a habit of scoring. (2 for England U16s on his debut, 2 last week for the U16s) and at right back was young Jonathan Helm who debuted away at Manchester City a few weeks ago.

 

The U18 injury list was huge and meant the side went into the game with only Luke Coddington as a ready sub, should anything have happened they would have brought on a player from the U16 game.

 

Luke Armstrong son of former Boro forward Alun had the first shot for Boro but curled his effort high over the bar. Boro had lines up with what looked like an attacking 4-3-3 formation with Armstrong, McCarthy and Garrity up front. Aussie Stephen O’Neill behind them and Callum Cooke and Jono Coleby anchoring the midfield.

 

Ibrahim Keita was making his presence felt up front for Wolves, the big pacey striker pressurised Weledji and Griffith for every aerial ball. He had Wolves first shot when moved across the field and fired a low right foot shot which Montgomery easily saved.

 

Both sides struggled a little to put any markers down, struggling in the final third to create any clear cut chances. Wolves though looked strong from set pieces and it was a free kick wide right which created their next chance. The ball was passed inside and then curled towards the goal, Keita rose well but glanced his header straight into the hands of Montgomery, either side of the keeper and he would have had some work to do.

 

Boro only have themselves to blame as the visitors took the lead, sloppily losing possession of the ball just inside the opposition half it immediately came back towards the defence on the Wolves right, it was played across via Keita to the far post where the Wolves number 11 (I think) passed the ball across Montgomery into the net.

 

GOAL WOLVES 0-1

 

Wolves nearly doubled their advantage moments later when Dominic Dell (I think) turned well and struck a low shot that Montgomery covered well. The visitors were starting to dominate Keita had a great chance but sliced his shot into the side netting after good work to get free.

 

Boro had a chance to level it when Garrity was found by Weledji but he was unfortunate to see his shot go wide of the Wolves goal.

 

Moments later the Wolves number 5 (Centre back, white lad) reacted badly to a foul he committed himself on Garrity and pushed the Boro player in the back. Hands were raised and both players were separated and the Wolves player received a yellow card. Moments later after another player committed a foul the same player decided he would kick the ball right up the other end of the pitch well after the whistle had sounded and gave the referee no option but to show a second yellow and a following Red and the away side were down to 10 men.

 

RED CARD – Wolves number 5

 

It didn’t hold the away side back though, straight away attacking and Dell managed to slide the ball under Montgomery into the net to double their lead.

 

GOAL WOLVES – Dell 0-2

 

Boro were still trying to get back into the game, Scott McCarthy rode one tackle superbly before driving into the Wolves box only to pull his shot wide of the goal.

 

Boro did manage to get one back before the break, U18 debutant Callum Cooke took the ball well some 25 yards out from goal and after controlling it struck a low right foot cracker (it may have got a slight deflection at source, as there was a second sound) across the keeper into the bottom corner of the net. Armstrong went straight to get the ball and the Wolves keeper tried to get there first, the Wolves coaching staff were on the ball though telling their keeper to leave it and stop any possible flare up.

 

GOAL BORO – Cooke 1-2

 

The home side had their tails up, a good chance was created by a Garrity turn and lay off in the box but Armstrong shot just wide from 8 yards out.

 

Half Time Middlesbrough 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2

 

Helm, Boro’s other U16 was having an equally good game as Cooke. Marauding down the Boro right and linking play up well. He managed to get a low cross in which caused issues in the Wolves defence who panicking cleared the ball away.

 

Being down to 10 men didn’t stop Wolves, their players were very determined as a team to keep their formation, both strikers dropping deep when Middlesbrough had possession and breaking when Wolves got the ball back. Dell’s electrifying pace was causing the Boro defence issues, he broke and Wolves would have had a 3rd if Cooke hadn’t tracked all the way back to cut out the pull back from Dell towards Keita. Moments later Boro were fortunate not to have given away a penalty when the Wolves number 7 went down just inside the box, the referee though waved away the many protests.

 

Wolves did manage to get a third though when an inswinging corner was met by giant defender Dominic Ifora who gave Montgomery no chance at all.

 

GOAL WOLVES – Ifora 1-3

 

Boro attacked as the game drew to a close but struggled to create clear cut chances. Armstrong and O’Neill both had snap shots that were saved and went wide and Priestly Griffiths had a strong free kick parried away that led to a corner but try as they may Boro couldn’t get back into the game.

 

Full Time Middlesbrough 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3

 

Middlesbrough: Montgomery, Helm, Kitching, Griffiths, Weledji ©, Garrity, Cooke, Coleby, Armstrong, McCarthy, S. O’Neill.

Subs Unused: Coddington (GK)

 

Thoughts

Wolves were well worth their victory, moving the ball and using the power and pace up front of Dell and Keita. The sending off seemed to galvanise the away team who were determined and committed in keeping a solid formation behind the ball.

The U18 debut of young Callum Cooke was a bright spot; he took his goal superbly, controlling the ball before striking it well. He worked well in midfield with Coleby. Jonathan Helm the other U16 stood out as being an athletic player who gets up and down well. He looked composed and you wouldn’t notice that he had stepped up from the lower age group.

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Its slightly concerning that the under 18's dont seem as good this year from reading the reports, but usually it seems that it is down to the physicality of the opposition teams. What do they seem like technically when compared with the other teams we have played in our group?.

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