Pritchard nets in big win for Mark Hudson's side
- Town Under-23s defeat Burnley
- Alex Pritchard (pictured) nets first for Town
- Dom Tear & Rekeil Pyke the other scorers
Town’s Under-23 side recorded a fully deserved home win over Burnley in the latest Professional Development League game of the season on Monday afternoon, which included a first Town goal for Alex Pritchard.
Coach Mark Hudson’s team performed excellently in the second-half to put the visiting Clarets to the sword, with Pritchard netting a penalty before goals from Dom Tear and Rekeil Pyke.
Earlier, goalkeeper Ryan Schofield had kept the game level with a penalty save before the Terriers eventually took control thanks to a performance full of ‘Terriers Identity’.
Town had most of the ball in the opening 45 minutes, but the directness of the visitors caused issues and they had the biggest chances to break the deadlock.
Dwight McNeil fired just wide from around 20 yards out after a smart turn inside the third minute and just seven minutes later, Burnley had a golden opportunity from the penalty spot when striker Ntumba Massanka worked his way goal-side of centre back Romoney Crichlow-Noble and was brought down.
Thankfully for Town, England Under-21 international goalkeeper Ryan Schofield came to the rescue; diving full to his right side to keep out Massanka’s spot kick to keep the scores level.
Massanka had another big chance just before the half hour. Regan Booty played a blind pass back to Schofield that was intercepted by the striker and, after rounding the goalkeeper, he tried to slot the ball home from out wide. Instead, Crichlow-Noble got back well to push the ball wide.
The resulting corner from McNeil beat everyone on the line and hit the far post before being cleared.
The best Town could muster in the first-half, despite the lion’s share of possession, were a couple of speculative long-range efforts from Pritchard that drifted off target, as well as one chance for lively Rekeil Pyke; the visiting goalkeeper doing just enough to deflect the ball wide as the striker charged onto Matty Daly’s through ball in the 24th minute.
However, the Terriers took complete control in the second-half. Given the license to rotate positions by coach Hudson, Pritchard found himself in slightly deeper positions and began to dictate play alongside 16 year-old Matty Daly, the ever-impressive Lewis O’Brien and Regan Booty.
Town kept the Clarets, whose side included Republic of Ireland international Stephen Ward, camped inside their own half for almost the entire second period and started to create chances with patient passing that was reminiscent of David Wagner’s First Team in full flow.
Just before the opener came from the penalty spot, striker Pyke – who was dominating two young centre halves – looped a clever header just wide of the far post from an O’Brien cross.
O’Brien was the man who created the opener, with a powerful surge into the heart of the Burnley defence causing panic and a rash challenge as he entered the area. Burnley’s players argued the foul was outside the box, but the referee gave the penalty.
That allowed January recruit Pritchard to step forward and score his first Town goal at any level to give the youngsters the lead, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
Within a minute, it was two. O’Brien found himself inside the area again and his deflected shot fell into the path of winger Dom Tear, who calmly steadied himself before firing underneath the goalkeeper from close range for his third of the season.
Pritchard was replaced as planned after 73 minutes, but that didn’t stem the flow; instead, the third goal followed in the 82nd minute. Teenager Daly did the hard work, pressing an opponent and winning the ball high up the pitch before releasing a pass to Pyke. The striker breezed past the last defender and finished comprehensively past the advancing goalkeeper with his left to cap a good performance.
Town saw the game out brilliantly, with the whole team patiently passing the ball and the defence keeping the visiting side at bay.
Highlights of the game will appear on #HTTV this week.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1)
Ryan Schofield; Mason O’Malley, Romoney Crichlow-Noble, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jordan Williams; Matty Daly, Regan Booty; Dom Tear (Scott High, 87’), Alex Pritchard (Luca Colville, 73’), Lewis O’Brien; Rekeil Pyke (Micah Obiero, 85’)
Luke Mewitt, Isaac Marriott
Romoney Crichlow-Noble (55’)