Frankie on the FA Youth Cup game at Fulham
Town’s Under-18 players performed fantastically despite defeat at the quarter final stage of the FA Youth Cup at Fulham tonight, according to Professional Development Coach Frankie Bunn.
Town more than matched the Under-18 Premier League leaders at Craven Cottage this evening, but striker Flo Bojaj’s 14th goal of the season proved to be nothing more than a consolation in a 2-1 defeat.
Despite the scoreline, Bunn was quick to praise the performance of the young Terriers after full-time.
“I thought the lads were fantastic from the first whistle to the 93rd minute, when we hit the bar. To a man they ran themselves into the ground.
“It feels a little ‘bitter-sweet’ tonight; sweet because we played well – the performance was absolutely fantastic – but bitter due to the result. I think this was the best performance in the whole Youth Cup run, especially when you consider that Fulham are one of the favourites to win it.
“To come away from home and put in the performance we did is testament to the players. I thought we were spot on tactically, our fitness levels were great and the performance level was fantastic.
“Perhaps a little bit of quality in the final third has cost us tonight, but I do think we were absolutely tremendous.”
French forward Moussa Dembele’s high-quality brace sealed the home side’s progression to a two-legged semi-final against Reading, but after falling two goals behind Bojaj gave the Terriers hope and the boys in yellow went very close to a late equaliser.
Bunn said of Flo’s goal: “It was a nice break. Regan Booty hooked the ball down the line and Ben (Atkinson) did terrifically to get the ball across. Flo was cool, calm and collected to round the ‘keeper and tap it home.
“We went for it when we were a goal down with 15 minutes to go and we changed things a little bit. That left us a bit open at times as their front four are very good, but when called upon Sam (Guthrie) did well; he pulled off a couple of good saves.
“We hit the bar late on and could have had a penalty too.”
The focus now reverts back to the Under-18 Professional Development North for Bunn and the players. Town host Sheffield Wednesday at PPG Canalside on Saturday and will hope to extend their lead at the top of the division, which stands at nine points with two games in hand.
“We’ve had a problem in the League game that follows a Youth Cup game and the boys have to learn from that. Hopefully this run and tonight’s performance will stand us in good stead.”
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