Final game of the U18 season held at PPG Canalside
- Town U18s heavily defeated by Sheff Wed
- Young line-up included five trialists
- Remi Thompson netted Town's consolation
Town’s Under-18 Professional Development League season finished with a heavy loss to visitors Sheffield Wednesday at PPG Canalside on Tuesday morning.
The Owls, who are chasing a place in the top two of the northern table to reach the end of season Play-Offs, were far too strong for an inexperienced Town side that included five trialists, with the game ending a comprehensive 10-1 to the visitors.
As has been the case during the second-half of the season, Academy Manager Leigh Bromby chose to field many Under-16 players in preparation for next season alongside the trialists; left back Sam Sharrock-Peplow and right back Ahmed Abdullahi; midfielder Jeffrey Oredein and wingers Kareem Ben-Kmyal and Dario Sesay-De Luca.
The early moments of the contest set the tone for the day. Town ‘keeper Harrison Davison-Hale had to tip over an effort from striker Layton Swaine, but Ben Hughes still nodded home from the resulting corner.
It was two inside four minutes as a cross from the Town left was bundled home by two visiting attackers at close range.
Hughes scored his second in the 13th minute, showing good strength to ride two challenges as he burst into the penalty area before hitting a crisp drive into the roof of the net.
The Young Terriers managed to settle down after that, but still struggled to mount any attacking play in the face of a powerful opponent and it was an error that led to the fourth just inside the half hour. Midfielder Oredein couldn’t control a poor clearing kick from Davison-Hale and Wednesday quickly broke forward, with impressive midfielder Alex Hunt finishing the move.
Another error led to the fifth three minutes before the interval. Left back Sharrock-Peplow sold Spratt badly short with an attempted lay-off and Swaine made no mistake, collecting the ball and firing the ball past the goalkeeper’s right.
Bromby replaced three of the trialists with Town’s Under-16 players at half-time and that led to a brief resurgence.
First Ben Mills couldn’t turn home Josh Austerfield’s corner at close range and then Remi Thompson came to the fore, executing a crunching challenge before setting striker Darnell Mintus away down the left flank. The athletic striker cut infield and forced the goalkeeper into a low save as he tried to reverse his shot inside the near post.
Sadly, Wednesday netted the sixth in the 58th minute as centre back Isaac Rice looped a header from a deep corner over Davison-Hale’s dive.
The Wednesday seventh came from a straight long ball. It looked like Davison-Hale was the favourite but he hesitated, allowing winger Jordan O’Brien to steal in and slam the ball into the top corner.
Town’s players were all at sea at this point as captain Dahomey Raymond, now at right back, gave an attempted back-pass straight to striker Swaine for the visitors’ eighth goal.
Town’s sole highlight came in the 73rd minute, albeit scant consolation. Mintus deserved much of the credit for pressing and winning the ball high up the pitch before playing Thompson through on goal. The diminutive midfielder, who had been unfortunate to see an effort cleared off the line a minute earlier, made no mistake, finishing comprehensively past goalkeeper Luke Jackson.
It was Wednesday who completed the scoring; first Iyad Hamud curled a beauty beyond Davison-Hale before O’Brien netted again with the final meaningful kick.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1)
Harrison Davison-Hale; Sam Sharrock-Peplow, Harry Spratt, Tom Bamford, Ahmed Abdullahi (Seth Meeson, 46’); Dahomey Raymond (c), Jeffrey Oredein; Kareem Ben-Kmayal (Remi Thompson, 46’), Josh Austerfield, Dario Sesay-De Luca (Darnell Mintus, 46’); Ben Mills