Dramatic conclusion to Premier League 2 season
Manchester United's Under-23s were ending the Premier League 2 season on a high until Wolves staged an unlikely comeback from two goals down to win 3-2.
The Reds were great value for a 2-0 lead, through Mason Greenwood and an Angel Gomes penalty, only for the visitors to reply through a Lee O'Connor own goal, Niall Ennis and Sadu Diallo from the 81st minute onwards. Over eight minutes of stoppage time were played but it looked as though Greenwood had bagged his second just before Diallo's winner as his close-range effort appeared to cross the line, only for it not to be given.
Instead, backed by coachloads of enthusiastic fans, Wolves secured three points that will clinch the Division Two title barring Southampton hitting double figures against Sunderland in their final fixture on Monday.
United started brightly in front of first-team boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but Gomes was denied a very strong penalty claim and then had a couple of decent attempts off target, the first of which was deflected.
Reds keeper Paul Woolston denied Ryan Giles with his legs at the other end, although the pressure began to build in front of the Wolves goal. Greenwood fired a free-kick over the bar but then produced a superb instant finish. George Tanner won a header, Tahith Chong showed clever skill and fed Gomes, whose pass into the danger area was converted by the striker for his 30th goal of the campaign, even if Aidan Barlow was in front of him when he tucked it home.
Matthew Olosunde showed good strength but fired across goal after a one-two with Greenwood, and Barlow had a shot saved by Andreas Sondergaard, but the title chasers had chances of their own with Diallo arrowing a left-footed drive wide with Woolston at full stretch and the keeper denying Ennis, even though the shot took a deflection off Luca Ercolani.
United flew out of the traps in a thrilling second half, with Chong having three great chances inside two minutes of the restart, all set up by Gomes. Somehow, Wolves survived that onslaught but the Netherlands Under-21 international was soon bundled over inside the box by a clumsy challenge from Max Kilman. Gomes cheekily beat Sondergaard with a 'Panenka' penalty to register his sixth strike of the season for the team and one that his performance deserved.
Barlow almost added a third but was squeezed out at the near post when Chong crossed and the away side began to build up a head of steam in retaliation. There appeared to be no warning of what was to follow, in truth, until Woolston pulled off a tremendous save but was taken off on a stretcher after colliding with Olosunde seconds before the stop. Alex Fojticek came on in his place and was suddenly facing a barrage from the all-gold shirts with Pedro Goncalves hooking a glorious opening wide.
Centre-back Ercolani also succumbed to injury and the pressure continued. Fojticek kept out Austin Samuels but was rescued by a post when Pedro hammered in a shot. However, O'Connor could only divert an Ennis cenre over the line when the Reds failed to clear a corner to start the comeback and Ennis levelled when Olosunde was unable to cut out a long ball down United's right and the impressive forward finished clinically.
Eight minutes of stoppage time were signalled and it looked as though Ricky Sbragia's side had recovered to win it. Greenwood hit a post from inside the six-yard box but was convinced the ball was over the line before Sondergaard cleared it with his feet. MUTV replays appeared to indicate he was right but, without goalline technology at this level, play was allowed to continue.
From the next attack, Ennis touched the ball on to Diallo who swept an unstoppable finish into the far corner of Fojticek's net.
It was cruel on United, who performed well and still mustered a Garner shot that Sondergaard saved and a blocked effort by Barlow in the dying seconds from a Gomes free-kick, but Wolves celebrated after the final whistle with their travelling supporters, knowing they have surely done enough to win the title.
United: Woolston (Fojticek 65); Olosunde, Ercolani (Warren 69), O'Connor, Tanner; Levitt, Garner, Barlow; Gomes, Greenwood, Chong.
Subs not used: Galbraith, Elanga, Bohui.
Scorers: Greenwood 31, Gomes 50 (pen) | O'Connor (og) 81