Some impressive performances in another great test for Town
- Huddersfield Town Academy side plays at Brentford B
- A set-piece goal 15 minutes from time leads to a defeat for the Young Terriers
- Some impressive performances from Dean Whitehead’s young side
Huddersfield Town’s Under-19 side enjoyed another great test against Brentford B at the Jersey Road training ground in London on Tuesday afternoon.
Although Dean Whitehead’s youngsters eventually fell to a single goal defeat thanks to a set-piece 15 minutes from time, there were more encouraging signs from several players in the 90 minutes against a great opponent.
The average age of Town’s squad was just over 18 years old, with First Team squad member Abdelhamid Sabiri inflating that at 22. On the flip side, three Under-17 players started the game; defender Mustapha Olagunju, midfielder Josh Austerfield and winger Jaheim Headley.
The median age of the Brentford side was 19 and 20, with several Scandinavian internationals amongst their numbers.
The Bees started the game on the front foot, dominating the ball for the opening 20 minutes. That meant that Whitehead’s side had to battle to get a foothold in the game, defending admirably. On the rare occasions that the centre back pairing of 18-year old Oran Thompson and 17-year-old Olagunju were breached, young Australian goalkeeper Jacob Chapman held firm behind them.
Aside from a few long-range efforts that were either off target or easy pickings for Chapman, Brentford’s best effort came in the 10th minute when striker Joe Hardy got goal-side of Olagunju. However, he rushed his effort, blasting well over when a teammate was well positioned in the middle of the penalty area.
Town started to enjoy possession as the first-half progressed, but Sabiri’s strength and skill an asset in midfield, as well as the directness of 18-year-old winger Aaron Rowe. The latter was almost put through on goal by striker Kit Elliott’s slide-rule pass in the 36th minute, but home goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe was well positioned to rush from his area and clear the ball.
Sabiri then won a free-kick only 20 yards out two minutes later after being floored by a defender. The German Under-21 international can hit a fantastic free-kick, but the resulting effort wasn’t one of his best, with the ball always set wide of the near post.
Ending the half well, right back Demeaco Duhaney was the next to try his luck at goal for Whitehead’s side. He collected a short free-kick from Sabiri before taking aim from 30 yards out. His effort was good enough to keep Balcombe interested all the way, but in the end the ball drifted wide.
Brentford’s best effort of the first-half followed in immediate reply, with a great passing move giving Hardy the chance to pull a shot just wide of Chapman’s right-hand post from 20 yards out.
Town continued the positive momentum into the second-half with Headley’s cross almost finding Elliott in the middle, only for a defender to clear the ball behind at full stretch. Sabiri headed the subsequent corner wide under heavy pressure from several defenders.
A Brentford player headed a corner well wide at the other end soon after before Town continued to attack. Sabiri’s trickery won his side another free-kick 25 yards out and this time the Moroccan-born midfielder hit the target, but Balcombe was able to gather the effort in at the second attempt.
A big opportunity for Town was shut down just before the hour mark, much to Town’s disappointment. A ball over the top of the Brentford defence set 17-year-old forward Elliott away, but he was clattered by an advancing Balcombe as he poked the ball past the goalkeeper. The custodian was shown a yellow by the referee as the offence took place with several defender trying to cover.
After that challenge, the Bees enjoyed a good period, testing Chapman with a few efforts from outside the penalty area. Once again, the January 2019 recruit showed good hands and composure.
Olagunju then played the pass of the match, stepping out from centre back and advancing to halfway before clipping a beautiful looping pass into the path of Under-17 top scorer Kian Harratt, who had come on as a substitute. Unfortunately, the 16-year-old’s touch was heavy under pressure from a recovering defender and the goalkeeper was able to smother the ball.
The winning goal followed a few minutes later. Olagunju gave away a free kick in a wide position and the ball was clipped to the back post for Brentford midfielder Theo Archibald. His volleyed effort was excellent, beating Chapman but hitting both posts as the ball bounced across goal. Midfielder Nikolaj Kirk was the quickest to react to stab the ball home.
Town responded well, creating the best chance from open play almost directly from kick-off. Sabiri won the ball on halfway and drove forward before finding skipper Scott High. His pas across the face of the Brentford penalty area found Duhaney in space and he played a one-two with Elliott before volleying towards goal, forcing Balcombe into an impressive save.
Town tried to find an equaliser in the final few minutes, with a defender just preventing Harratt from connecting with a low Elliott cross late on but couldn’t muster the goal.
Town’s team (4-3-3)
Jacob Chapman; Ben Jackson, Mustapha Olagunju (Tom Bamford, 73’), Oran Thompson, Demeaco Duhaney; Josh Austerfield (Kian Harratt, 61’), Abdelhamid Sabiri, Scott High (c); Jaheim Headley (Tom Bell, 73’), Kit Elliott, Aaron Rowe
Gabriel Rosario; Sam Sharrock-Peplow
Aaron Rowe 30’