Holmes, Mullin and Boyle seal passageDuane Holmes (45), Paul Mullin (92 in ET), William Boyle (97 in ET)
Town’s Under-18s progressed to the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday night after beating their Premier League opponents Stoke City 3-2 after extra time.
Town looked to be heading through in normal time after Duane Holmes’ opener, but the game went to extra time after James Alabi converted from the spot for Stoke.
The Terriers didn't hang about in extra time though and raced into a 3-1 lead courtesy of goals from Paul Mullin and William Boyle; Stoke pulled a goal back in the second-half but it wasn't enough to stop Town from progressing.
Town named the same team that despatched Hartlepool by three goals in the Third Round for their trip to Stoke.
That meant that Mikey Starkey, Joe Wilkinson, William Boyle and Tom Briggs protected goalkeeper Ed Wilczynski in defence. Town’s midfield trio consisted of top scorer Duane Holmes, Captain Kedesh Goddard and Danny Morton. In attack Jake Charles and George Conway flanked striker Paul Mullin.
The Terriers began the game in confident fashion against their Premier League counterparts, but were given a flavour of what they were up against when Stoke striker James Alabi knocked William Boyle off the ball before eventually losing possession as he closed down on goal.
Town were showing their worth though and forced their first chance of the game with eight minutes gone when Paul Mullin headed in to the side netting after the Stoke defence had failed to clear a corner.
At the other end Derice Richards poked just wide after the Terriers’ defence had failed to clear a long throw.
The game had a superb pace to it and Town were enjoying themselves on a big Britannia pitch. They were the next to go close when firstly Mullin fired wide before Danny Morton drove over after evading a Stoke challenge in the midfield.
Stoke’s response was a good one with winger Nathan Ricketts-Hopkinson picking the ball up in his own half before cutting inside Tom Briggs and firing just wide from 25 yards.
Everything was on the counter for the home team though as the Terriers continued to dominate possession. Striker Paul Mullin missed a great chance to put Town ahead when he headed wide from six yard from George Conway’s teasing cross.
Stoke’s best period of the half came just after the half hour mark when they went close twice; firstly Morton cleared off the line from Samuel Coulson’s header before Ed Wilczynski showed good reactions to deny Kris Scott who had broken through the Terriers’ defence.
Town responded well and finished the half in superb fashion before eventually taking the lead through Duane Holmes. In the 42nd minute Conway narrowly missed out at the back post from Charles’ cross before good play from the pair set up Holmes, but he fired over from eight yards when well placed.
Holmes then shot wide again after skipping past three players before he handed Town the lead in the final minute of injury time when he smashed home from ten yards.
After such an enthralling first half it was no surprise that the second took a little while to get going. Despite that, Stoke will have been disappointed not to have drawn level when defender Coulson connected with a deep free-kick, but failed to test Wilczynski.
At the other end an ambitious 40 yard volley from Briggs was as close as the Terriers had come before Mullin forced Stoke ‘keeper Dale Eve in to a good save with a low, left footed drive on 62 minutes.
Town were doing well to limit Stoke in attack and went close themselves when William Boyle flicked over Jake Charles’ free-kick.
As the game ticked past the 80 minute mark the home side began to turn the screw and after a period of sustained pressure they drew themselves level from the penalty spot. The foul was committed by Joe Wilkinson who was adjudged to have fouled Alabi at the near post. The big striker – who has scored for Stoke’s Under-21s this season – confidently drilled the ball past Wilczynski to set up a frantic finish.
The Terriers had a couple of chances to retake the lead before the final whistle with Mullin spurning the best of them when he headed straight at Eve from 12 yards.
Town carried their good finish into extra time and had raced in to a two goal lead by the 97th minute. Paul Mullin scored the Terriers’ second converting Charles’ near post cross – a goal that the striker had deserved after working tirelessly on his own upfront.
A stunned Stoke were then hit by another goal two minutes later when William Boyle bundled home a corner that the home side had failed to deal with.
Stoke pulled a goal back through Peter Makrillos, but it wasn’t enough to deny the Terriers’ passage to the fifth round.
Town’s team (4-3-3):
Ed Wilczynski; Mikey Starkey, Joe Wilkinson, William Boyle, Tom Briggs; Duane Holmes, Kedesh Goddard, Danny Morton (Ben Holmes, 79); George Conway, Paul Mullin (Ryan Cox, 100), Jake Charles
Sam Guthrie, Fraser Horsfall, Ben Atkinson
Town booking: Danny Morton 48