By Scott Taylor
Will Marsh’s late penalty miss meant that Neil Critchley’s Liverpool Under 18s were held to a 2-2 draw away at Wolves. Sam Hart and Ryan Kent gave the Reds a two-nil lead, but goals from Mekhi Leacock-McLeod and Niall Ennis denied the Reds a victory. Marsh, the hat-trick hero against Blackburn in the 5-0 win, smashed the outside of the post as the points were spoiled in an entertaining game at Molineux.
Ryan Kent’s free-kick deep into the Wolves’ penalty area found Sam Hart, who rose highest and headed his effort past Harry Burgoyne off the post to give the Reds a 27th minute lead. Kent turned provider to goalscorer shortly after when his low drive beat Burgoyne, and like the Reds’ opener, his effort went in off the post.
Neil Critchley’s side had numerous chances in the first half, with most of them falling to striker Jerome Sinclair, who has been playing in the Under 21s in recent weeks. Sinclair, Liverpool’s youngest ever player, had two efforts well saved by Burgoyne in the Wolves goal.
The hosts did have a few chances of their own in that half. Firstly, Connor Hunte set up Connor Johnson, but his effort was well saved by Liverpool goalkeeper Andy Firth. The Liverpool number one was called into action again shortly after Liverpool’s opener when he was forced into a good stop when he denied Hunte.
The youngster was eventually beaten as the first half came to a close. Niall Ennis forced the ‘keeper into a brilliant save, only for it to find Leacock-McLeod, who pulled one back via an effort that yet again went in off the frame of the goal.
It was the same again for Wolves’ equaliser. Hunte’s fierce drive was well denied by Firth, only for his parry to fall to a Wolves player in his penalty area, and that player was Ennis who made it 2-2 just before the hour mark.
Jerome Sinclair had a golden opportunity to put Liverpool 3-1 up just before Ennis’ equaliser, as the striker was the first player in the match to strike the woodwork, but not score as his shot smashed the crossbar following an impressive turn and shot. Wolves substitute Nicolae Carnat had sympathy for the Liverpool forward, as moments later he hit the frame of the goal as his strike beat Firth but did not beat the post.
As both sides pushed for a winner, the visitors were given a lifeline when Regan Upton tripped goalscorer Kent in the box in the 75th minute, but Marsh became the sixth player to hit the woodwork in the game as the match ended 2-2.
The game was meant to be played at the Liverpool Academy, but the Reds decided to move the fixture so that both teams can have the experience of playing in a first team stadium, and in front of a crowd, as 620 supporters turned out to watch the thrilling game.
Liverpool: Firth; Travis, Lewis, Sheron (Chirivella), Hart; Whelan, Marsh (Watts), Nicholas (Maxwell), Canos, Sinclair, Kent.
Wolves: Burgoyne; Matinyadze, Upton, Johnson, Breslin; Leacock-McLeod (Carnat), Finnie, Levingston, Hunte; Ronan, Ennis (Devers)
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