A sensational strike from Abdelhamid Sabiri lit up today’s Professional Development League game against Leeds United at the John Smith’s Stadium.
A brace from 17 year-old striker Olly Dyson had already given a Town side including five First Team players the lead after an early Leeds goal before second-half sub Sabiri wowed the 200 fans in attendance with a superb dipping volley from almost 40 yards.
With Christoph Buehler, Andrew Hughes and Paul Clements watching on, the likes of Joel Coleman, Martin Cranie, Dean Whitehead, Florent Hadergjonaj and Collin Quaner all got important minutes under their belts alongside Sabiri as Frankie Bunn’s side secured a welcome win.
The more experienced Terriers bossed possession early on, but it took until the quarter-hour mark to register an attack of note; Dyson collecting Hadergjonaj’s excellent low cross but taking a touch when the shot had to come, allowing a defender to clear.
Town won a penalty a minute later when a defender handballed as Dyson tried to turn in the area following a corner, but Jack Boyle smacked the ball against the post with the goalkeeper beaten and Leeds cleared.
Striker Oliver Sarkic fired wide from just over 20 yards for the visitors after 25 minutes, but it was Town who hit the woodwork for a second time soon after; captain Regan Booty hitting the upright with a free-kick after Boyle was felled on a run.
Leeds goalkeeper Will Huffer was called into action with two minutes of the half remaining when Hadergjonaj picked out Lewis O’Brien with a great deep cross, collecting the midfielder’s half-volley at full stretch to his right.
Despite having control of the half in the whole, it was Leeds who took the lead. Town’s defence switched off as Sarkic ghosted in behind to collect a pass over the top and he finished well, beating Coleman at close range to his left side.
However, there was an immediate reprieve with the last action of the 45 as Town equalised. O’Brien found left back Romoney Crichlow-Noble on the overlap and his low first-time cross was sublime, leaving Dyson with the easy task of tapping home inside the six-yard box.
Sabiri was introduced as a planned half time substitute and made an immediate impact, playing a big role in the 50th minite goal that put Town ahead for the first time. His run forward drove Bunn’s men upfield and he found Boyle, whose exchanged passes with Dyson to put the striker through on the edge of the box. The 17 year-old showed great composure to steady himself and place the ball home for his third of the U23 season.
Sabiri’s goal – and Town’s third – was a stunner. Picking the ball up around 40 yards out, it sat up invitingly – and with an apparent minimum of effort he expertly looped a volley over the goalkeeper and inside the far post to send the crowd into raptures.
Leeds had an immediate chance to reduce the arrears, but Jack Clarke hit a feeble shot wide after being put through on goal with Town crying out for a foul on Dyson.
Town looked to control possession as the minutes ticked down and the referee let a few tasty challenges go. In the end Town gave Leeds a glimmer of hope with a late second; Rarmani Edmonds-Green’s poor pass out of defence being punished as Madger Gomes placed a shot between defender Dylan Cogill’s boot and Coleman’s right hand. However, the Terriers held on for the win.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Joel Coleman; Romoney Crichlow-Noble, Dylan Cogill, Martin Cranie (Rarmani Edmonds-Green, 82’), Florent Hadergjonaj (Jordan Thomas, 46’); Regan Booty (c), Dean Whitehead; Lewis O’Brien, Jack Boyle, Collin Quaner (Abdelhamid Sabiri, 46’); Olly Dyson
Tadhg Ryan, Denilson Carvalho
Lewis O’Brien (18)