16:49 21st November 2016
by David Threlfall-Sykes
Town's youngsters will learn from harsh defeat
- Town Under-23s defeated by Leeds United
- Dom Tear & Lewis O'Brien score for the Terriers
- Marcus Antonsson nets hat-trick for Leeds
A headed goal in the final minute from Swedish striker Marcus Antonsson condemned Town’s Under-23 side to a tough defeat at the hands of Leeds United in the Professional Development League at the John Smith’s Stadium on Monday afternoon.
It was a harsh result on the young Terriers against a far more experienced Leeds side featuring many experienced First Team players in Marco Silvestri, Toumani Diagouraga, Stuart Dallas, Antonsson, Alex Mowatt and Matt Grimes.
After weathering a difficult opening 20 minutes, when Leeds took the lead through Antonsson, Frankie Bunn’s side fought back to lead at the interval through Dom Tear and Lewis O’Brien.
The Terriers could have scored more in a good second half, but the young defenders found out exactly what happens when quality players are afforded even half a yard as Antonsson completed an impressive hat-trick to give his side the win.
Leeds bossed the opening stages and netted the first inside four minutes. Irish Under-21 international Danny Kane did a lot of good things for Town on a rainy and windy afternoon, but he lost possession to Mowatt and his reverse pass gave Antonsson the chance to finish across goalkeeper Joel Coleman and into the far corner, despite the custodian getting a hand to the ball.
Mowatt fired wide from a similar position four minutes later before Dallas stung the goalkeeper’s palms after an uncharacteristic error in possession from Town skipper Regan Booty.
Dallas fired just wide of target as Leeds’ dominance continued before Town substitute Sam Warde, on early for the injured Luca Colville, hit a terrible pass straight to midfielder Eoghan Stokes, who hit a fierce drive inches over the bar from 20 yards out.
Once the 20-minute mark passed, Town’s young players got a foothold in the game as they got tighter to their opponents. First year scholar Dom Tear made some impressive runs from the left of midfield and he won a free kick out wide that Jack Boyle delivered into the box. The attacker directed the ball into the danger zone towards Rekeil Pyke and Jacob Hanson, with the latter’s header rolling agonisingly wide of target.
Dallas should have done better soon after when he swept the ball over the crossbar on his weaker right foot inside the penalty area, but Town continued to improve.
Striker Pyke made great runs into the channels for his teammates all afternoon and held the ball up well for his team, but should have done better with a big chance just before the half hour. The impressive O’Brien burst through the Leeds midfield and slid a perfect ball in behind centre back Vann for Pyke’s run. After holding off the defender to break clear, Pyke pulled his shot wide of the far post with just the ‘keeper to beat from 12 yards.
17 year-old right back Jordan Williams played well too and his excellent touch infield soon set teammate Boyle into space. Jack took aim and let fly with a 25 yard strike that was heading for the top corner before the agile Silvestri tipped it over.
The goal soon followed, with O'Brien playing a big part. His through pass was perfect for Tear’s infield run from the left and the youngest man on the pitch ran clear before calmly slotting the ball past Silvestri.
Coleman was alert to save Antonsson’s snapshot at the other end upon the restart before Booty had to block Stokes’ goal-bound shot behind for a corner as Leeds pressed. The resulting corner was worked short and ended with Dallas on the edge of the box, who curled wide again.
Town finished the half the stronger, hitting the post before the second goal came. Williams found Tear with an infield pass and his first-time lay-off was perfect for O’Brien’s late run into the box, but the scholar could only hit the outside of the near post from an ever-narrowing angle.
However, Lewis wasn’t to be denied his goal and was soon rewarded for a great piece of heads-up play. As Silvestri rolled the ball into midfield, O’Brien reacted whilst his opponent waited and nicked the ball, side-stepped a defender and hit a low drive that was deflected past the stricken goalkeeper.
The Terriers came out in similarly positive fashion in the second half and had chances to extend their lead. Pyke soon powered past the outside of right back Whitehouse after being released into space by Tear, only for the visitors to scramble his pull-back to Booty clear.
Another fantastic passing move down the left side released improving trialist left back Alex O’Hanlon into space and he picked out Pyke in the middle, but the striker was almost on top of the goalkeeper and his shot was blocked at source.
Another O’Hanlon cross was soon cleared to Warde on the edge of the box and Silvestri executed an impressive save from the Irish youngster’s powerful follow-up volley.
Warde fizzed another excellent shot just wide of target with 20 minutes to go, but sadly the visitors soon equalised. Antonsson was released into the right side of Town’s area and cleverly side-stepped Hanson’s sliding challenge before curling the ball around the diving Coleman in expert fashion.
Ronan Coughlan made a welcome return to action as a substitute after missing the whole of the season through injury and he went as close to any Town player to a winner with 10 minutes left, tackling Stokes before advancing and crashing a powerful shot off the crossbar with Silvestri beaten. Tear tried to steer the rebound into the net at full stretch, but could only divert it wide.
Leeds had a big chance to win it with two minutes left when a deflected clearance landed at the feet of Mowatt in the area, but Coleman did very well; the ‘keeper got his angles right to block his shot.
Unfortunately for Town, Antonsson completed his impressive hat-trick in the final moments. A player was given too much time to cross from the Town right and picked out the striker, who flicked a deft header inside the far post.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Joel Coleman; Alex O’Hanlon, Danny Kane, Jacob Hanson, Jordan Williams; Regan Booty (c), Lewis O’Brien; Dom Tear, Jack Boyle (Ronan Coughlan, 72’), Luca Colville (Sam Warde, 17’); Rekeil Pyke
George Dorrington, Dylan Cogill, Olly Dyson