Town hit for six in semi-final contest
Town Under-21s’ hopes of contesting the Professional Development League 2’s National Final were dashed at the hands of Charlton on Tuesday, who ran out 6-1 winners at Sparrows Lane.
The Terriers, who were without a recognised striker as a result of Godwin Abadaki’s return to Rochdale, were on the back foot for large parts of the game, but didn’t deserve to lose by six goals.
Matt Crooks scored Town’s only goal of the game to make it 2-1, at a time when Town looked likely to go on and make a real fist of the battle. However, four goals from striker Joe Pigott were more than enough to see off Steve Eyre’s men.
Town finished second in the North Division behind Leicester City and found the going tough during the opening stages of their semi-final clash. In the ninth minute, some poor marking from a Charlton throw in allowed Joe Pigott room and he made no mistake from the edge of the area.
Within 20 minutes, Town were further behind when what looked like a foul on Lloyd Allinson wasn’t given by the referee and Ade Azeez had the easiest of headers from six yards.
Town’s biggest threat was coming from the hands of Captain Jordan Sinnott, whose long throws were causing the Addicks’ defence problems.
Steve Eyre’s words at half-time and a slight change in formation (Duane Holmes moved to right midfielder, Ben Holmes to right-back) lifted the Terriers at the start of the second half and they earned a life-line when Chris Atkinson charged down a clearance by Charlton’s stopper and Crooks was on hand to calmly lift the ball over the stranded ‘keeper.
Town’s charge continued with Atkinson who saw a shot blocked before the Terriers were dealt a gruel blow when a missed foul on Murray Wallace in the box allowed Pigott to score his second from a set-peice.
The Terriers’ spirit and endeavour shone through as they battled hard against a physical Charlton outfit; but an end product wasn’t forthcoming.
The contest was all but over with twenty minutes remaining when Pigott secured his hat trick after Wallace had felled a Chartlon attacker in the box.
Pigott and substitute Michael Smith both scored during the final 15 minutes as Town searched for a second. The score line flattered the hosts who will go on to play either Leicester City or Cardiff City in the National Final.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Lloyd Allinson, Robbie McIntrye, Murray Wallace, Tom Smith, Duane Holmes; Matt Crooks, Dale Hopson (Michael Starkey, 84), Jordan Sinnott, Chris Atkinson; Jake Charles (Ryan Cox, 70), Ben Holmes