A goal on his Huddersfield Town debut for Harry Bunn and returns from injury for Anton Robinson and Joe Wright were among many positives for the Terriers today as the Under-21 side won 3-1 at Barnsley this afternoon.
Bunn, signed from Manchester City on emergency loan deadline day, scored the final goal of the game as Town’s Under-21s extended their unbeaten record to seven wins and one draw from the opening eight games of the season.
Midfielder Robinson, returning from his long-term knee injury, played the first 55 minutes, whereas Academy graduate Joe Wright came on as a substitute for the final 15 minutes to complete his comeback from a broken leg.
The main talking point of a goalless first half was an injury to Jake Carroll. Deployed in midfield on the day, the Irishman came out of a heavy challenge with a leg injury and had to be replaced inside 25 minutes.
Barnsley wasted no time in taking the lead during the second-half, with defender Jordan Tunnicliffe heading a free-kick past Town ‘keeper Ed Wilczynski in the 46th minute.
However, the young Terriers fought back and took the lead within 10 minutes.
First Jordan Sinnott restored parity to the scoreline with a free-kick of his own, firing low and hard across the Barnsley custodian and into the bottom corner via a deflection.
Town took the lead for the first time in the game on the 55th minute, just after Robinson was replaced. Under-18 centre back William Boyle found the feet of Paul Mullin on the left wing with an expert pass and the Academy graduate drove infield before letting fly with his right foot from the edge of the area; Barnsley’s ‘keeper parried the shot, but striker Cristian Lopez was alert enough to tap home the rebound.
Bunn netted his debut Town goal with five minutes remaining, reacting quickly to cut out a quickly-taken goal kick from the home stopper and smashing the ball home from the edge of the box.
Senior Professional Development Coach Steve Eyre spoke to htafc.com following the victory:
“It took us 50 minutes to get into our groove because Barnsley made it difficult for us,” said Steve.
“We changed shape after half-time to try and open the game up, but it was Barnsley who struck first. We showed character to bounce back immediately and from that point we took over the game. The lads found a way to win the game and finished it superbly.
“They responded to everything that was asked of them,” he continued. “We had a first team player coming back from a long injury, a new signing and a number of youth players in the team who all gelled superbly with our consistently excellent development squad players.”
Anton Robinson made his return following a lengthy stint out through injury, while Harry Bunn scored on his debut for the Development Squad.
“Anton was eager to play and wanted to stay on naturally. He will be well pleased to have come through the game and to have helped out the team in a victory.”
On Bunn, Steve said: “He was a constant threat as the game started to open up and was always looking to take the fight to the opposition. He could have scored ten minutes earlier after rounding the ‘keeper, but his goal in the final few minutes was the icing on the cake.”
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Ed Wilczynski; Robbie McIntyre, William Boyle (Joe Wright, 75), James Burke (c), Jordan Sinnott; Jake Carroll (Philip Billing, 25), Anton Robinson (Joe Wilkinson, 55), Dale Hopson, Paul Mullin; Cristian Lopez, Harry Bunn