Young Terriers win the national title- Town U21s win PDL2 Play-Off Final
- Frankie Bunn's side wins 2-1 at Sheffield United
- William Boyle and Jacob Hanson score the goals
Huddersfield Town’s Under-21s were crowned Professional Development League 2 Champions with a 2-1 victory over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this afternoon.
After a goalless first period, Town made the breakthrough when defender William Boyle headed into the back of the net. Ben Whiteman got the Blades level before Jacob Hanson nipped in from the back to bag the Terriers a dramatic 85th minute winner.
The victory means that the visitors are the victors in the whole division, including the entire northern and southern section.
Senior Professional Development Coach Frankie Bunn named Flo Bojaj in his starting line-up, with forward Rekeil Pyke unavailable for selection due to injury.
Meanwhile, there was a place for left back Jack Senior, who had previously played every minute of competitive football for the successful title-winning Under-21s this season.
For the home side, Che Adams started in an attacking position as part of a front two and he brought plenty of experience with him; despite being only aged 19, he has made 41 appearance for the Blades’ First Team in the 2015/16 campaign, netting 12 goals.
Town got off to a purposeful start with a number of set-pieces, and midfielder Regan Booty caused danger with one as he swung a corner in which cannoned off the foot of the post.
Shortly afterwards, wide man Jake Charles weaved his way towards goal but was snuffed out at the final moment with goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale gathering the ball gratefully.
However, the Blades came closest to taking the lead as Diego De Girolamo was fed and unleashed a low drive just inside the box, but Town’s 16 year-old goalkeeper Ryan Schofield was alert to save well with his body.
And Town’s stopper had to be at his best to deny Terry Kennedy who rose highest from a cross with a bullet header but Schofield dived to his right to push away.
Despite the opportunities that the hosts were mustering, Bunn’s side were remaining firm at the back with the highly-rated Adams frequently involved. Ben Whiteman then had an effort from distance which Schofield again stopped relatively comfortably.
The Terriers were having spells of possession, but found that their moves were being halted frustratingly with the final pass lacking. At the other end, centre halves Danny Kane and William Boyle were performing admirably to continue to thwart the physical Adams.
Looking to break the deadlock, Jack Boyle ambitiously struck from approximately 25 yards but it cleared the United crossbar by some margin. The home side had an attempt from long range themselves courtesy of Louis Reed, although it travelled harmlessly over the woodwork.
Heroic blocking in Town’s defence was the reason behind the visitors not going behind as Adams found a yard of room inside the area and got a shot away, while the ex-Ilkeston FC striker’s partner De Girolamo also saw his low blast cleared from danger.
The latter then sprung into life as he approached the 18-yard-box with the half-time break nearing, and ignored the involvement of his team-mates offering help, before firing wide.
After the interval, Town’s Lewis O’Brien picked up a pocket of space and nearly handed his side the advantage but his attempt from far out went past the post.
But the Blades were looking good from set-pieces and Schofield had to dive to his right to stop Callum Semple’s goalbound header.
In the next action, Wales Under-21 international Charles broke free on the wing and his cross was nearly converted into the back of the net by a United defender.
Town’s youngsters were lively with the ball, but were still finding it difficult to penetrate. At the other end, De Giralamo’s quick feet afforded the attacker some shooting room which he took advantage of, but Schofield was once again sharp between the sticks to palm away.
In the 68th minute, Jordan Williams replaced Jack Boyle and the former took up a position on the right wing just in front of Hanson, which was an unfamiliar area of the field as he’s usually a centre half or right back.
That move sparked Town into life a little more, and Ronan Coughlan’s effort was deflected to Flo Bojaj who snuck in, but his close-range stab went marginally over.
The encounter began to open up, and with ten minutes remaining, Town took the lead. England U17 international Williams collected a deep corner and cut in from the right-hand side and curled it towards the far post, but William Boyle crept in remaining in an onside position, to deceive the goalkeeper and nod calmly into the back of the net.
But just over 60 seconds later, the Blades levelled up proceedings. Ben Whiteman raced clear of the Terriers’ backline after Regan Booty was caught in two minds trying to clear Adams’ ball forward and got to the ball ahead of Schofield to poke home.
In a frantic end to the contest, Bunn’s men regained their advantage with five minutes left on the clock. Following a spate of shots, the ball was fortuitously deflected to Jacob Hanson striding forward from the back and he prodded calmly beyond Ramsdale from around 15 yards out.
With full-time approaching, Regan Booty advanced forward uncharacteristically from his defensive midfield position and produced a fine strike which just travelled wide of the mark. The fourth official indicated a minimum of three minutes of added time at the end of the second half.
And Town defended brilliantly with Boyle and Kane particularly providing aerial resistance, heading away the threats to deny United an equaliser and 2-1 is how it stayed as the man in the middle blew his full-time whistle and jubilant scenes followed.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Ryan Schofield; Jack Senior, William Boyle, Danny Kane, Jacob Hanson; Regan Booty ©, Lewis O’Brien; Jake Charles, Jack Boyle (Jordan Williams 68’), Ronan Coughlan; Flo Bojaj
Owen Brooke, Fraser Horsfall, Joe Wilkinson, Cedwyn Scott
Tweets by @htafcdotcom