Pyke and trialist Eusebio Bancessi score- Town U21s beat Cardiff City
- Top scorer Rekeil Pyke nets again
- Three trialists feature - and one scores the winner
Frankie Bunn’s Town Under-21 side celebrated securing the Professional Development League 2 North title by ending Cardiff City’s 11 game unbeaten run at the John Smith’s Stadium on Monday afternoon.
In what could be a dry run for the PDL2 Play-Off semi-final – the Bluebirds are second in the southern division at the moment – the Terriers won the tie thanks to goals from Rekeil Pyke and trialist Eusebio Bancessi from Wolves.
The game was well contested by two good sides, but Bunn’s young charges showed all the resilience and quality in attack that has made 2015/16 such a successful campaign.
Goalkeeper George Dorrington – one of three Town trialists on the afternoon – was tested within the first minute when Danny Kane was adjudged to have fouled a striker just over 20 yards out; the 18 year-old from Manchester United held Matt Kennedy’s free-kick well.
The response was good from Bunn’s men, with another of the trialists coming to the fore for the next 10 minutes. Winger Eusebio Bancessi certainly has a name with good footballing pedigree and the 20 year-old from Guinea-Bissau took the fight to the Bluebirds. He beat a man neatly on the touchline before finding 16 year-old Jordan Williams on the overlap and his excellent low cross only just evaded Jake Charles in the six yard box.
The third trialist – 19 year-old Danish midfielder Victor Guldbrandsen of Ipswich Town – didn’t want to be left out and should have opened the scoring in the sixth minute, but sent a point-blank header wide at the far post from Regan Booty’s pacey corner delivery.
Jack Boyle, who only started the game due to a knee issue picked up by Ronan Coughlan in the warm-up, had a rasping 20 yard drive tipped over the bar by visiting goalkeeper Luke O’Reilly in the 17th minute as the Terriers continued to press, with the home side’s tenacity out of possession making it difficult for Cardiff to play out effectively.
Cardiff arrived at the John Smith’s Stadium on a run of eight wins and three draws in the last 11 fixtures and showed why with a good spell just after the half hour. Dorrington came out quickly to block after Macauley Southam escaped Fraser Horsfall’s attentions in the penalty area and then Booty was needed to execute a great tackle to stop a dangerous counter-attack.
Striker Rhys Healey should have then given the away team the lead in the 33rd minute, but somehow placed his close range shot back at Dorrington after a superb delivery from the Town left into the six yard box.
Instead, it was Town that opened the scoring in the 39th minute through second year Academy scholar Rekeil Pyke. When Booty drilled a high delivery into the Cardiff area it looked certain that O’Reilly would come and claim, but instead the striker jumped impressively high to beat the goalie to the ball and head into the empty net for his 11th of the U21 season.
Town’s Irish centre back Kane made sure his side led at the interval with a superb goal-line clearance moments later. Healey broke clear after Town got the defensive line wrong and he looked sure to score after rounding Dorrington, but the defender charged back to slide the eventual shot clear before colliding with the near post.
Cardiff was handed a way back into the game in the 48th minute when Horsfall was adjudged to have pulled down striker Healey in the area, although it did look harsh with both players grabbing each other in equal measure.
Up stepped Kadeem Harris – but instead trialist stopper Dorrington excelled, diving low to his right to get a strong hand to the ball before leaping on the rebound.
Four minutes later, Town doubled the advantage. Guldbrandsen and Booty worked the ball to the right for Williams, who advanced down the flank before sending a perfect cross onto the head of Eusebio, who had joined up with the striker in the box and had the easy task of beating the ‘keeper from close range.
Cardiff came to the fore in the latter stages of the game in an effort to protect an 11 game unbeaten run with Town giving the ball away in uncharacteristic fashion, but thankfully Dorrington excelled. He blocked a close range volley from the combative and dangerous Healey just after the hour mark before pushing away a powerful drive from Kadeem Harris with 10 minutes left.
Pyke could have sealed the win in the 82nd minute after easily outstripping centre back Menayese onto Danny Kane’s ball into the channel, but the ball sat up and he volleyed over the goal as he entered the penalty area.
Instead Harris made things interesting with an 83rd minute goal, stepping inside from the Cardiff left and curling around Dorrington into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Jake Charles had a chance to net in the 92nd minute after collecting the ball in the penalty box following more strong work from Pyke, but visiting goalkeeper O’Reilly did very well to keep out his powerful low drive.
It was fitting that the excellent Dorrington had the final say, tipping over after a near post corner found Harris’ near post run.
Highlights of the game will appear on HTTV on Tuesday!
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
George Dorrington; Jack Senior, Fraser Horsfall, Danny Kane, Jordan Williams; Regan Booty, Victor Guldbrandsen (Jamie Spencer, 59); Jake Charles, Jack Boyle (Lewis O’Brien, 66), Eusebio Bancessi (Callum Charlton, 88); Rekeil Pyke
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