2-1 home win over Birmingham City
Town’s Under-18 side clinched the Professional Development League 2 North title at PPG Canalside on Saturday morning with four games to spare courtesy of Jake Charles’ 90th minute winning goal against Birmingham City.
The Terriers emulated the Club’s Under-21 side by securing top spot in their League thanks to a 2-1 win over a talented Birmingham City side on the canal pitch.
The win also secured Town’s place in the end of season Professional Development League Play-Offs with four games to spare, where the young Terriers will now host the runners-up of the southern section in an end of season semi-final.
The visitors – who sit third in the PDL2 North – started the game well and it took a good performance from overage ‘keeper Ed Wilczynski to keep them at bay during spells. As early as the 14th minute the Town custodian had to be alert to pull off a great one-on-one save.
After that scare, forward Charles sprang to life. Barely a minute later he had a penalty appeal turned down after being dumped to the ground in the area, but he picked himself back up to combine with strike partner Flo Bojaj before attempting a chip over the ‘keeper, which dropped marginally wide of target.
Wilczynski made two excellent saves either side of the half-hour mark to keep the game goalless going into the interval, after which the Terriers found their rhythm and took the game to the visitors. However, the 'keeper and full back Brad Carroll had to combine to clear the ball off their own line in the 58th minute after another Birmingham attack.
Town centre back William Boyle fired wide from a corner soon after but eventually, in the 74th minute, the deadlock to be broken, with midfielder Ben Atkinson latching onto a pass from substitute Rekeil Pyke and shrugging off a defender before firing home.
However, the Blues responded just a minute later through a powerful run from their number nine and it took another superb save from Wilczynski to prevent Birmingham from going ahead just five minutes later.
The dramatic winner came in the first minute of added time at the end of the game, with Charles surging into the box and tapping home after his initial shot was blocked – his 17th goal in just 26 Under-18 starts.
There was still enough time for an unusual ending to the game, with the referee blowing the final whistle literally seconds before Birmingham put the ball in the net for a goal that didn’t stand.
After the game, Town fans, players and staff reacted on Twitter:
Town’s team vs. Birmingham City (4-4-1-1):
Ed Wilczynski; Mikey Starkey, William Boyle, Joe Wilkinson (c), Brad Carroll; Regan Booty (Philip Billing, 77), Ben Holmes, Ben Atkinson, Kedesh Goddard; Jake Charles; Flo Bojaj (Rekeil Pyke, 56)
Sam Guthrie, Nathaniel Pells, Jack Boyle
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