- Under-23s lose to Sheffield United
- Philip Billing sent off for two yellow cards
- Several First Team players get minutes on the pitch
Frankie Bunn’s Town Under-23 side was defeated by a single goal in the latest Professional Development game of the season against Sheffield United at PPG Canalside.
A Town team featuring several members of David Wagner’s First Team squad dominated the first half without scoring before a red card for Danish midfielder Philip Billing preceded the winning goal in the second 45 minutes.
Bunn’s men created most of the game’s big chances, but Blades goalkeeper George Long pulled off a couple of very good saves to preserve a clean sheet.
Joe Murphy, Martin Cranie and Ivan Paurević all featured as overage players on the afternoon, whilst fellow First Team squad members Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Jon Gorenc Stanković and Billing also started.
Cranie and Stanković in particular impressed as the Terriers started quickly, with several chances coming in the first 10 minutes. Jack Boyle was lively from the left of the attacking midfield three, firing just wide after a one-two with Cranie before forcing Long to tip over a fierce 25 yard drive a few moments later.
Captain Regan Booty went closer than anyone to breaking the first half deadlock. After Billing was brought down on the edge of the box, Booty – playing in the number 10 slot on the afternoon – stepped up and rattled the free kick against the foot of the post with the goalkeeper watching on motionless.
United, who had former Town coaches John Dungworth and Mick Wadsworth in the dugout, were aggressive in defence and had no chances of note in the opening 45, although David Brooks should have found a teammate with a 37th minute pull-back after neatly rounding Stanković.
Town’s attacking potency had waned as the first-half came to a close, but was reinvigorated after Bunn’s team-talk. Just three minutes after the interval, Cranie’s deflected cross found Booty in the area, but Long saved his right-footed snapshot down to his right side.
Billing almost scored a great goal in the 52nd minute after a cross was only half-cleared; his first-time, placed right-footed volley arrowed just wide of Long’s far post.
Long made the save of the game barely a minute later, with good passing involving Booty and striker Rekeil Pyke setting up Luca Colville. The winger’s left footed volley looked destined for the net, but the goalie flung himself to the right to tip the ball around the post.
Billing soon saw red in disappointing fashion with two quick-fire bookings around the hour mark. The first yellow came for an off-the-ball clash with combative striker Jake Wright in the 57th minute, before a second two minutes later for a careless late challenge for a header that floored an opponent.
Booty slotted back into the midfield two, but United still scored the only goal of the game in the 67th minute. A low pass was played into striker Wright’s feel and he rolled centre back Jacob Hanson before firing home impressively on his right foot, leaving Murphy with absolutely no chance.
Town tried to fight back immediately, with Pyke getting a foot to substitute Jordan Williams’ cross from the right side. Although he beat the goalkeeper to the ball, Long made himself big enough to divert the ball wide. Booty’s resulting deep corner found Paurević, but his volley was blocked on the line.
Right back Williams was on the attack again with nine minutes to go, but somehow managed to dissect three teammates at the back post with one low cross.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Joe Murphy; Tareiq Holmes-Dennis (Alex O’Hanlon, 62’), Jon Gorenc Stanković, Jacob Hanson, Martin Cranie (Jordan Williams, 62’); Philip Billing, Ivan Paurević; Jack Boyle, Regan Booty (c), Luca Colville; Rekeil Pyke
George Dorrington, Danny Kane, Fraser Horsfall
Jacob Hanson (49’); Philip Billing (57’)
Town red card:
Philip Billing (59’)
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