One point to open the 2021/22 Central League campaign
- Huddersfield Town B Team draws at Fleetwood Town
- Late equaliser rescues 2-2 draw at Poolfoot Farm
- Brahima Diarra & substitute Charles Ondo the scores
Huddersfield Town’s B Team opened their 2021/22 Central League campaign with a 2-2 draw against hosts Fleetwood Town at their Poolfoot Farm training complex on Wednesday afternoon.
The Young Terriers did not hit their best performance levels on the afternoon, but still rescued a point through substitute Charles Ondo after Brahima Diarra’s early goal was cancelled out by two home strikes.
Town’s passing out from the back was not up to the usual standard on the afternoon, giving Fleetwood several opportunities to intercept and attack goalkeeper Nicholas Bilokapic’s goal. However, the Terriers scrapped it out and found a way to secure a point.
Bilokapic was the first goalkeeper called into action in the seventh minute, clawing away a long range shot after midfielder Jon Russell lost possession just over halfway.
An uncharacteristic error in possession from Town skipper Ben Jackson soon led to another attack, with the home striker only able to hit the outside of the side netting from an increasingly narrow angle.
Town then capitalised on a Fleetwood error to take the lead in the 23rd minute. Recent recruit Connor Shanks, playing on the right wing, seized upon a poor infield pass and won a 50/50 challenge before driving into the penalty area and striking the post with a low effort. Similarly to Josh Koroma at Sheffield United last weekend, he stayed composed to collect the rebound and square the ball for Brahima Diarra, who slotted home from close range.
Australian stopper Bilokapic did very well to keep Town ahead just before the half hour mark, making a good low save with his feet after a forward latched upon an error in possession from Josh Austerfield.
Town replied, with 17-year-old right back Brodie Spencer shrugging off a defender before pulling the ball back to Diarra, who fired a snapshot over.
The half ended in frenetic fashion, with chances at both ends. Bilokapic made a fantastic reaction save to prevent what looked like a certain goal after the Fleetwood winger wriggled past left back Jaheim Headley, and then the home custodian also did well to push another Diarra effort around the post after he dribbled past two defenders and hit the target on his left.
Austerfield cleverly pulled the resulting corner back to Jackson on the edge of the box, but his first-time effort went narrowly wide.
Bilokapic was needed again in the final minute of the half, getting down low to his right to save another effort from the dangerous right winger.
Unfortunately, the winger made no mistake with his next effort barely a minute into the second half, driving Headley back into the penalty area before switching the ball onto his left and beating Bilokapic high to his left.
Diarra dropped back into his customary midfield role at the interval, with Austerfield being replaced by striker Ondo, but his loose control and subsequent foul 25 yards out gave Fleetwood a free-kick opportunity that they expertly converted to take the lead in the 54th minute.
A series of errors in possession gave Fleetwood opportunities to extend their lead as the second half wore on, but Town started to control possession in the final 15 minutes and found the equaliser. The move involved both substitutes, with Diarra finding left back Shane Maroodza on the left; his deep cross was nodded back across goal by Russell, leaving Ondo with the simple task of placing the ball home from close range.
Fleetwood went the closest to netting the fifth goal of the game – hitting the post through a superb 83rd minute strike – but the game ended level.
Town’s team (4-3-3)
Nicholas Bilokapic; Jaheim Headley, Ben Jackson (c), Nassim Kherbouche, Brodie Spencer; Josh Austerfield (Charles Ondo, 46’), Jon Russell, Myles Bright; Donay O’Brien-Brady, Brahima Diarra, Connor Shanks (Shane Maroodza, 70’)
Michael Roxburgh; Neo Eccleston, David Adewoju
Brahima Diarra (53’), Shane Maroodza (88’)
Brahima Diarra (23’), Charles Ondo (80’)