Development Squad soundly defeated
Town’s Development Squad had an afternoon to forget at the John Smith’s Stadium, losing comprehensively to visitors Leeds United in the Professional Development League 2 North and having a man sent-off.
That man was midfielder Sondre Tronstad but by the time he received his marching orders, Frankie Bunn’s side was already two down.
Although Leeds was the better team over the course of the encounter, it was the aerial power of defender Dario Del Fabro that caused real damage; his presence from set-pieces led to two of Leeds’ five goals on the afternoon.
The visitors started well and took the lead with the first clear effort of the game inside 10 minutes. After a shot from striker Brian Montenegro was blocked behind for a corner by covering defender Jake Carroll, Italian Under-19 international centre half Dario Del Fabro rose highest from the subsequent corner and thumped a good header into the top corner of Joe Murphy’s goal.
At the other end a few long throws from Town’s Danish midfielder Philip Billing caused a few panicky moments for Leeds, but they looked the slicker going forwards and doubled their advantage in the 17th minute. Paraguayan striker Montenegro was released into Town’s penalty area courtesy of a one-two and Carroll’s desperate last-ditch sliding tackle only succeeded in diverting the ball out of Murphy’s reach, leaving the striker with the easy task of tapping home.
Leeds’ team was well in the ascendancy at this stage, with midfielder Chris Dawson shooting just wide from 25 yards out, but Town got a foothold in the game as the half-hour mark approached.
Duane Holmes led the charge – and almost got on the score-sheet as the 30-minute mark passed. After his typical surge forward was halted illegally 25 yards from goal, he stepped up and unleashed a deflected free-kick onto the top of Leeds’ crossbar.
Two minutes later, the diminutive midfielder connected well with a powerful volley that forced ‘keeper Eric Grimes into work. Had the effort been a yard either side, it would have been a goal.
Striker Flo Bojaj was working gamely against two centre halves and looked to have a gilt-edged opportunity seven minutes before half-time after Holmes worked a clever one-two with Billing and clipped a ball into his path – only to have strayed marginally offside.
The Terriers had to stay alert at the other end, where Bojaj popped up to execute a great defensive header to clear a dangerous Kalvin Phillips free-kick from the danger zone.
Sadly Town conceded a third only five minutes into the second-half – and were reduced to ten men. Del Fabro was too much for Town’s centre halves to handle from another corner and from his header, Norwegian midfielder Sondre Tronstad was adjudged to have handled on the line.
That gave Leeds midfielder Chris Dawson the chance to beat Murphy from the spot and he didn’t let it pass, sending the Irish custodian the wrong way.
Town’s best chance of the game came with a man short just before the hour mark. Jake Charles isolated Del Fabro in the Leeds area and went past him on the outside before pulling a smart ball back for Academy scholar Regan Booty, but the midfielder couldn’t connect cleanly with the ball when eight yards out and the goalkeeper saved his shot.
Instead, Leeds netted a fourth with 19 minutes left as Kalvin Phillips beat Murphy with an excellent effort from outside the area and scored again with the final action of the game; defender Ross Killock heading home from close range after another corner wasn't properly dealt with.
Joe Murphy, Jake Carroll, Joe Wilkinson, Duane Holmes, William Boyle (c), Joe Wright, Sondre Tronstad, Philip Billing, Jake Charles, Flo Bojaj (Rekeil Pyke, 57), Regan Booty (Jacob Hanson, 62)
Lloyd Allinson, Ben Atkinson, Jack Senior
Town yellow cards:
Joe Wright (44); Philip Billing (58)
Town red card:
Sondre Tronstad (49)