Town through in FA Youth Cup
Town: Jack Boyle (24); Rekeil Pyke (59)
Town’s Under-18 side progressed to the Fourth Round of the FA Youth Cup thanks to a comfortable two goal victory over Crystal Palace at the John Smith’s Stadium on a chilly December evening.
A goal in each half from Jack Boyle and Rekeil Pyke gave the young Terriers a deserved victory over their London opponents
Visitors Crystal Palace had a lot of pace going forward and looked to play striker Corie Andrews in behind whenever possible. An early attempt came through this ploy as early as the seventh minute as a gentle lob over the top set the striker away, but he shot straight at Town’s Irish ‘keeper Tadhg Ryan, who narrowed the angle well.
The opening 20 minutes was a scrappy affair as both teams found their feet on the big John Smith’s Stadium pitch in wet and windy conditions as the reported ‘weather bomb’ hit Huddersfield. Ryan’s excellent positioning kept Palace’s balls over the top at bay whereas midfielder Regan Booty crafted Town’s best effort with an in-swinging cross that was just too far ahead of striker Rekeil Pyke.
It took 24 minutes for Town’s youngsters to create a genuine goal-scoring opportunity – and the Terriers capitalised. The power of first year scholar Pyke was too much for Palace centre back Matt George down the left channel, allowing Rekeil to advance into the edge of the area; he picked a perfect pull-back into Jack Boyle’s path and the winger steadied himself before firing an excellent angled drive past the helpless ‘keeper from 18 yards out to give his side the lead.
Having missed the start of the season through injury, it was the 17 year-old’s fourth goal in just his seventh start.
Pyke was back in the action just two minutes later, charging down the goalkeeper and forcing him into a miskick. Unfortunately for Tony Carss and co, the striker’s attempt at a first-time lob over the stranded custodian went tamely wide.
However, the opening goal signalled a change in the game as Town found their passing range and showcased some of the football that has seen them rise to second in the Professional Development League 2 North table.
Midfielder Adam Porritt did brilliantly to fashion himself a chance 10 minutes before the interval, collecting Booty’s half-cleared corner before knocking the ball over the head of his marker and firing a powerful shot at goal that was well saved by Oliver Pain to his right side.
At the other end, impressive right back Mandela Egbo flashed a low cross across the face of goal, but Town fought back and crafted another opportunity minutes from the interval. Overlapping left back Brad Carroll was released into space by goal-scorer Boyle, but shot into the side netting when a pull-back to a teammate was the better option.
Like the first-half, Palace’s Andrews had the first effort of the second period when he hit a decent snapshot towards the front post that needed a strong hand from Ryan to see it wide. However, Town soon regained control and Booty hit a good free-kick just inches wide of the far post after a trip on Coughlan.
Town’s second goal was excellently crafted just before the hour mark, with the attacking duo of Boyle and Pyke combining as per the first. This time Jack turned provider, collecting a pass between Palace’s defence and midfield and sliding his teammate through on goal. With the goal at his mercy, Rekeil made no mistake in converting his seventh of the season.
Booty tried his luck again with 20 minutes left with a long range strike that the goalkeeper had to push around his post and by this stage Carss’ men were controlling possession, frustrating their visitors.
Palace’s best chance of the second half came in the four minutes of added time at the end of the game, but ‘keeper Ryan got a touch to an effort at goal from a wide position and defender Jacob Hanson got back to clear the ball to safety.
Town still had the final effort when goal-scorer Boyle ran the full length of the half to connect with a break clear, but his powerful drive from inside the area was well saved.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Tadhg Ryan; Brad Carroll (c), Fraser Horsfall, Jacob Hanson, Nathaniel Pells; Regan Booty, Jamie Spencer; Jack Boyle, Ronan Coughlan, Adam Porritt (Liam Coogans, 84); Rekeil Pyke
Owen Brooke, Danny Kane, Dylan Cogill, Sam Warde
Jamie Spencer (40)