Second-half performance heralds victory- Town Under-23s beat Colchester United
- Harry Bunn sent off; Sean Scannell gets minutes
- Jordan Williams (pictured above), Danny Kane & Lewis O'Brien score
A great second-half performance, when a man down, gave Town’s Under-23 side a third straight win courtesy of a 3-2 win over Colchester United at PPG Canalside.
The game was poised at 1-1 when Harry Bunn was sent off for an altercation with Colchester’s Tariq Issa moments before the interval, but Frankie Bunn’s youngsters put in an excellent show to go two goals ahead before a late consolation from the visitors.
Bunn’s suspension doesn’t count at First Team level, so he got another important 45 minutes under his belt on return from injury alongside Sean Scannell.
With Head Coach David Wagner watching on alongside the analysts in the gantry, the first half was a dour affair.
Captain Regan Booty came close to replicating his excellent set piece goal from the previous game at Ipswich with a carbon copy move in the 13th minute – until the finish, where he curled the ball well over the bar from the edge of the box.
At the other end, Issa had the U’s first shot five minutes later; he fired straight at goalkeeper Luke Coddington on the turn from 20 yards out.
Scannell showed flashes of his individual ability on the right, but he played a role in the opponent’s opener in the 26th minute. His errant pass into midfield was pounced upon and with right back Jordan Williams overlapping, there was space for Colchester to cross. Town centre back Rarmani Edmonds-Green tried to cut the ball out, but only succeeded in steering it to Issa who turned and reversed a bobbling effort past Coddington’s right side.
‘Scanz’ was back at it two minutes later as he led the Town response, with only an excellent defensive block stopping striker Olly Dyson from turning his low cross home at the near post.
An Edmonds-Green error just after the half hour almost gifted Colchester’s Callum Jones a run through on Coddington’s goal, but the defender used his pace to get back and make a vital tackle.
Dyson blazed over at the other end, but the equaliser soon followed in any case as the Terriers improved slightly.
Two minutes before the half closed, Town struck back. Williams fed Scannell on the right and he delivered an excellent cross into Bunn’s feet. His shot was blocked, but the ball looped to Booty and he quickly fed a pass to Williams. The England Under-18 international had a narrow gap to aim at, but drove the ball expertly across the face of goal and in off the far post to level the scores.
Bunn was dismissed for grappling with Issa just before the interval after a flare-up surrounding a tackle between the two, with Bunn pushing his head towards the Colchester man to earn the red.
Scannell went off at half-time as planned, so Bunn reverted his young side to a 4-3-2 formation. Jack Boyle, on for Scannell, played in a narrow three alongside Booty and Lewis O’Brien and Town held a more regimented shape, not pressing until Colchester entered their half.
Ironically, it was with a man down that the Terriers excelled; they were far better than the visitors in the second 45 minutes. It took a while to get going, but after the hour mark the Terriers created all the chances and went two ahead.
Boyle’s smart side-step led to the first chance in the 60th minute; his shot was parried into Dyson’s path by goalkeeper Max Beadmore, but the young Academy scholar slid the follow-up well wide under pressure from centre back Dexter Peter.
O’Brien was a growing influence in the midfield and his excellent driving run at the heart of the defence led to another big chance in the 79th minute. He eventually slid the ball right to Williams and his cross found substitute striker Cedwyn Scott, but he delayed his volley as the ball sat up and a defender blocked well.
Unsurprisingly, it was the Under-23s’ proficiency at set pieces that led to the 81st minute breakthrough. Winning three successive corners – with Boyle having a shot deflected just wide from the first – the last one paid off. Town crowded the goal line, allowing centre back Danny Kane to climb highest to head home Booty’s expert delivery at the far post.
It got better for Town six minutes later as they netted a great third on the counter. Booty broke from the deeper block and pressed the Colchester defence into an errant pass, leading to a 3-on-2 attack. The Terriers made the most of it; Scott drew a defender before passing left to Booty, whose first-time ball across goal was ideal for O’Brien to thump home at close range.
Scott had another shot blocked after good work from Denilson Carvalho late on and there was still time for Callum Anderson to beat Coddington at close range for Colchester’s second, but Town deserved the win.
Highlights will appear on #HTTV soon!
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Luke Coddington; Jamie Spencer, Danny Kane, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jordan Williams; Regan Booty (c), Lewis O’Brien; Harry Bunn, Ronan Coughlan (Denilson Carvalho, 77’), Sean Scannell (Jack Boyle, 46’); Olly Dyson (Cedwyn Scott, 75’)
Ryan Schofield, Fraser Horsfall
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