Details of Town's first overseas U19 tournament
- Town U19s finish fourth in international tournament
- Young Terriers reach semi-final before defeat
- Details of the final two games on Easter Monday
The Huddersfield Town Academy’s first foray into international tournament football at Under-19 level was a great success, with Mark Hudson’s charges finishing fourth in the 10-team Champions Trophy in Düsseldorf over the weekend.
Having reached the knock-out stage by finishing second in Group 1, Hudson’s U19 side concluded the Düsseldorf trip with a fourth-place finish after narrow defeats to Japan Highschool Selection in the semi-final and Werder Bremen in the third-place Play-Off.
Town started the final day with the Semi-Final against Japan Highschool Selection. The Japanese side had progressed to the Semi-Finals by finishing top of Group 2, having picked up one win and three draws.
From the off, Japan Highschool’s players were very organised, making neat passing angles and looking to create space in a style like that of the Young Terriers’. However, the first goal did not come from one of these passing moves, but rather from a set piece.
In the sixth minute, a corner was floated to the back post where Ryo Tabei was waiting. His header went into the turf and as Luke Mewitt came to meet it, a Japan Highschool player came across to make contact with the ball. The striker missed his attempt, but his distraction allowed the ball to bounce over Mewitt’s head on the way into the goal from Ryo’s original header.
After the opening goal, Town saw more of the ball but couldn’t create a clear-cut chance. The nearest the team came in the opening stages was when Matty Daly looked to play in Dom Tear, but the goalkeeper read it well and came out early to claim.
Mark Hudson’s side was having to stand up to significant pressure from the Group 2 winner and in the 17th minute, Japan Highschool doubled its advantage. A drilled cross from the left flank was converted by Shunta Araki to make it 2-0 with eight minutes left to play in the half.
Town had one final chance in the half as Mason O’Malley’s free kick found an unmarked Romoney Crichlow-Noble on the far post. He managed to square the bouncing ball back across goal, but the Japan Highschool defence cleared.
At half time, Hudson rang the changes with Ben Jackson, Jordan Williams and Aaron Rowe replacing Crichlow-Noble, O’Malley and Micah Obiero.
The second-half started in a much better fashion for Town. The players were seeing more of the ball and moving it with an intensity not seen in the first period. Town’s first big chance came as Jordan Williams floated in a cross, but the resulting header was wide.
A few minutes later and Town had a penalty appeal. Scott High’s free kick collided with the wall and the Town players shouted for hand-ball, but the referee waved away the protests. At the other end, a well worked free kick almost gave Japan Highschool a three-goal cushion but the volley went over Luke Mewitt’s bar.
As the game entered the final ten minutes, Town stepped up the search for a goal. Most of play was in Japan Highschool’s half and with four minutes left to play, Town pulled one back. Olly Dyson fired one in the bottom left corner from inside the box to score his second goal of the tournament.
Town pushed hard for the equaliser in the dying moments but some gamesmanship from Japan Highschool ran down the clock and the game finished 2-1. That result meant Japan Highschool would progress to the Final against Borussia Möchengladbach, while Town would play a Third Place Play-Off match against Werder Bremen.
For the Play-Off game, Mark Hudson brought in three fresh faces in Williams, Rowe and Ben Jackson who started in the place of Crichlow-Noble, Isaac Marriott and Obiero.
Bremen started the stronger of the two teams with Mewitt being called into action early on; he came out and claimed a cross well to stop the attack. A few minutes later and the ‘keeper was again needed to get down low and catch a driven shot.
Town was pushing players forward, but the team had to be careful of being caught on the break. Jordan Williams picked up a yellow card as he was forced into making a late slide tackle in one such counter-attack. Minutes after his booking in the 17th minute, Williams did excellently to shield the ball out of play for a goal kick and stop a counter attack that had developed from a Town corner.
In the 21st minute, Werder took the lead. A corner kick eventually found its way to Joshua Sargent who finished past Mewitt into the left side of the goal. The goal was the last meaningful phase of play in the half as the referee’s whistle went with the score at 1-0.
Half time saw the introduction of Obiero as Town looked to get back into the game, but Mewitt had to produce another good save early on to keep the score at 1-0.
Mark Hudson made a double change of Sam Gibson and Ben Mills as the clock ticked towards the 40-minute mark, with Town improving in doing an effective job of nullifying the opposing attack as the half progressed.
There was just time for one final Town chance. Olly Dyson worked some room to run into and as he entered the box he struck a shot goal-wards. The Werder goalkeeper met the attempt with an equally good save and pushed away the shot for a corner.
The game finished 1-0 and although the players may have been disappointed with the two defeats on Monday, the players and staff can take great pride in reaching this stage of the tournament. Town finished fourth in the U19 Champions Trophy with a record of two wins, two draws and two defeats with five goals scored and four goals conceded.
Highlights from the tournament will appear on #HTTV later this week.
Town Starting Line-Up vs Japan Highschool Selection (4-2-3-1):
Luke Mewitt; Mason O’Malley (Jordan Williams 26’), Romoney Crichlow-Noble (Ben Jackson 26’), Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jake Barrett; Scott High, Isaac Marriott; Olly Dyson, Matty Daly, Dom Tear; Micah Obiero (Aaron Rowe 26’)
Harrison Davison-Hale, Sam Gibson, Oran Thompson, Ben Mills, Dahomey Raymond
Town Starting Line-Up vs Werder Bremen (4-2-3-1):
Luke Mewitt, Mason O’Malley, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jake Barrett, Jordan Williams (Sam Gibson 33’); Scott High, Matty Daly (Isaac Marriott 30’); Ben Jackson, Aaron Rowe (Micah Obiero 26’), Dom Tear (Ben Mills 33’); Olly Dyson
Harrison Davison-Hale, Romoney Crichlow-Noble, Oran Thompson, Dahomey Raymond