Added time goals from Josh Adam and Matt Warhurst saw City’s Elite Development Squad climb back to draw 3-3 with Wolverhampton Wanderers in a thrilling 90 minutes of football.

A first half brace from Tawanda Chirewa, despite City dominating possession, put the visitors ahead.

Brian Barry-Murphy’s side knew we would have to retaliate quickly in the second half if we were to have any chance of collecting a point.  

Up stepped Jahmai Simpson-Pusey who converted a Jacob Wright corner to half the deficit early in the second half.

But former Blue Matty Whittingham restored Wolves’ two-goal lead with less than 20 minutes remaining and almost put the game out of reach for City.

But late heroics from Adam and Warhurst, who both scored close-range goals within the eight minutes of added time, helped City snatch a vital point.

WHAT HAPPENED

The fog that engulfed the Joie Stadium cleared just in time for kick-off of City’s first home game of 2024.

The strong City side looked organised and endeavoured to utilise Joel Ndala’s speed as often as possible on the left-hand side as Barry-Murphy’s team looked to take an early lead.

But the opening goal went against the run of play on 11 minutes with Wolves’ first attempt at goal. Chirewa cut onto his left foot and unleashed a rocket into the top-left corner.

City stuck to the game plan and from the restart played the ball into the feet of Ndala. His quick footwork gave him space to play a pass into the box but slightly behind Kane Taylor. His backheel fell to Warhurst who reacted quickly with a left-footed swing at the ball.

WORKING HARD : Lakyle Samuel looks to regain possession for City.
WORKING HARD : Lakyle Samuel looks to regain possession for City.

Time stood still as his rolling effort, seconds after Chirewa’s opener, bounced off the post and away from the goal with City unable to convert the loose ball.

The boys in blue remained unified and showed positive attacking signs with Wolves having to defend clinically in order to keep Barry-Murphy’s side out of their box.

The visitors weathered the City storm before being handed the opportunity to double their lead.

Referee Paul Marsden pointed to the penalty spot after he deemed a Simpson-Pusey stab at the ball to be a foul. Chirewa placed the spot kick into the bottom left corner to double Wolves’ lead.

Barry-Murphy’s side continued to fight for the remainder of the first half with the only real chance of note falling to Nico O’Reilly.

RETURNING FROM INJURY : Nico O'Reilly made his first start since a prolonged spell on the sideline.
RETURNING FROM INJURY : Nico O'Reilly made his first start since a prolonged spell on the sideline.

On his first EDS start since his return from injury, the midfielder’s strike was blocked, leaving a tall task ahead for the hosts in the second half.

City returned to the pitch with a much stronger start, earning an early corner with a quick attack as we attempted to catch Wolves off guard.

Jacob Wright’s corner was weighted perfectly and met by Simpson-Pusey who rose highest to nod the ball into the back of the net and half the deficit.

After a defensive restructure with Lakyle Samuel forced off with injury, a new centre-back pairing of Taylor and Mahamadou Susoho were left vulnerable and in turn, allowed Whittingham to restore the two-goal lead for the visitors from close range on 71 minutes.

Barry-Murphy’s team continued to show tenacity but chances for Micah Hamilton and Kian Breckin couldn’t find the back of the net.

SUPER SUB : Josh Adam regains possession before scoring City's second.
SUPER SUB : Josh Adam regains possession before scoring City's second.

But, City wouldn’t go down without a fight with each point valued highly by the Under-21s.

In added time, substitute Breckin cut the ball back from the right to an on-running Adam who placed the ball past Jimmy Storer from inside the box.

And with three minutes of injury-time left to play, Warhurst’s hard work was rewarded as he drew City level for the first time in the game. The No.9 thumped Tom Galvez’s initial effort home as celebrations erupted.

MIGHT MATTY : Warhurst bags City's third and equalising goal!
MIGHT MATTY : Warhurst bags City's third and equalising goal!

HOW WE LINED UP

True Grant was tasked with protecting City’s goal alongside our defensive line of Tom Galvez, Mahamadou Susoho, Jahmai Simpson-Pusey and Lakyle Samuel.

Jacob Wright was at the heart of City’s midfield and relied upon to showcase both his defensive and playmaking duties. He was supported by Kane Taylor and skipper Micah Hamilton in the engine room.

City’s attacking line was led by Matty Warhurst with Joel Ndala and Nico O’Reilly looking to add options out wide.

CITY XI | Grant, Samuel (Adam 66’), Simpson-Pusey, Susoho, Galvez, Wright, Hamilton ©, O’Reilly (Breckin 46’), Warhurst, Taylor, Ndala

UNUSED SUBS | Whatmuff, Lawrence, Tibidi

WOLVES XI | Storer, Kaleta, Huber ©, Griffiths (Tipton 86’), Mabete (Ojinnaka 86’), Pond, Lopes (Esen 59’), Whittingham, Chiwome (Holman 86’), Chirewa, Keto-Diyawa

WHAT IT MEANS

City’s point has moved the EDS from the bottom spot of the league standings and six points from the play-off places.             

UP NEXT

Another vital Premier League 2 clash awaits and it sees us travel to the opposite side of Manchester as we face United on Monday 19 February.

Kick-off at Leigh Sports Village is scheduled for 19:00 (UK).

Premier League 2
24 Newcastle United FC Newcastle United Newcastle 11 2 3 6 15 23 -8 9 WLDLL
25 Everton Everton Everton 13 2 3 8 16 27 -11 9 WLDLL
26 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 14 1 5 8 23 42 -19 8 LLDDL
Last updated: 21 February 2024

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