Seven straight wins for the Development Squad
- Town through to the Premier League Cup first round proper
- Seventh straight win for Frankie Bunn’s side
- Highlights on HTTV on Tuesday
Huddersfield Town’s Under-21s progressed through to the Premier League Cup first-round with a 1-0 victory over Nottingham Forest, with Ronan Coughlan grabbing the only goal at the John Smith’s Stadium this afternoon.
Senior Professional Development Coach Frankie Bunn made two changes to the side that beat Coventry City 6-1 last week, with Tommy Smith named in the side against the Reds. Jake Charles, who scored a brace against the Sky Blues, was absent due to a thigh injury.
Huddersfield started in positive fashion with the narrow midfield of Phil Billing and Duane Holmes linking efficiently with each other. It was the latter who had the hosts’ opening opportunity of the encounter, bursting through the centre of the pitch, however he saw his effort deflected past the post.
Left-back Jack Senior surged forward for the next chance of the game, crossing for the expectant Rekeil Pyke who headed over the bar with the ball just escaping full contact.
Forest’s first-half midfield included ex-Barcelona youth captain Roger Riera and the challenging Town players were proving more than a match, with the visitors struggling to get a foothold in the match.
Huddersfield continued to look impressive with Holmes stretching the Forest midfield, and he delivered for Flo Bojaj who could only divert over the bar. Ronan Coughlan then took on a host of Forest players before attempting to place in the right corner, but it was just wide.
Centre-back William Boyle came excruciatingly close to putting the home side ahead, although he couldn’t connect properly with the in-swinging corner with the goal gaping. Forest, who fielded first-teamer Tyler and Lithuania international Deimantas Petravicius in their side, were struggling to get into the offensive areas with Town workmanlike in their display.
Intricate play just inside the box from Bojaj was the route for near-success in the next crucial action as Town upped the ante, and he played it cutely to Holmes who forced a smart tipped save from Bulgarian goalkeeper Dimitar Evtimov.
A momentary lapse in concentration from Reds’ defender Jack Kelly invited Bojaj through on goal, and it was only a superb stop from Evtimov who made himself big that denied the hosts the advantage. The frontman then found himself in the area again, and the Bulgarian shot-stopper saved the powerful goal-bound strike with half-time approaching.
With only three minutes remaining before the interval, Town got the first goal of the afternoon. Coughlan’s header was palmed away by the ‘keeper and the attacking-midfielder was on hand to convert from close range.
Lloyd Allinson was called into action for the first time just after the break, but he comfortably denied Oliver Burke’s header from a set-piece. Town were looking at ease with their pressing causing major difficulty for the visitors and Holmes showed great skill to side-step substitute Matty Cash and rifle an attempt just wide of the woodwork.
Despite rare forays forward into the Terriers’ half, the East Midlands outfit wasn’t threatening to find a leveller with Forest’s two up top, including James Thorne who netted two past Bunn’s youngsters in September. Bojaj saw his left-footed thud blocked by the centre-half as he sought a second down the other end to ensure his side could breathe easier.
Lively work down the left side by Senior ended with Holmes curling an effort towards the corner of the net, but Evtimov was even to it to thwart the central midfielder. He was then involved again as the match entered the final ten minutes, but he blasted over the upright.
Town grafted with admirable confidence to close out a seventh win on the bounce and nullify any potential dangers from Forest, with Boyle marshalling the defensive structure well.
Town’s team (4-4-2 diamond):
Lloyd Allinson; Jack Senior, William Boyle (c), Tommy Smith, Jacob Hanson; Regan Booty, Philip Billing, Duane Holmes, Ronan Coughlan (Sondre Tronstad 88’); Rekeil Pyke (Ben Holmes 90’), Flo Bojaj
Ed Wilczynski, Danny Kane, Fraser Horsfall