Young Terriers finish SPAX Cup with a win
- Huddersfield Town Under-19s win in the SPAX Cup
- Young Terriers defeat hosts TuS Ennepetal
- Striker Kit Elliott scores the game’s only goal
Huddersfield Town’s Under-19 side finished the SPAX Cup on a winning note on Monday morning, defeating tournament host TuS Ennepetal.
A young Town squad, missing several of the more senior Under-19 players, has found the learning curve steep against the likes of SV Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf and FC Midtjylland on Saturday and Sunday, but bounced back to return to England on a winning note.
Academy Manager Leigh Bromby named seven Under-17 players in his final starting line-up for the game to further their experience and they responded against the Germans. Although the game was far from fluent, Town had the better of the play and deserved the victory.
The first real chance of the match came the way of centre back Nassim Kherbouche, who headed a corner wide of the far post inside six minutes.
Ennepetal kept trying their luck from range, but goalkeeper Giosue Bellagambi – who recently trained with the Italy Under-19 squad – was more than equal to their efforts.
However, Town went really close again on the quarter-hour mark when midfielder Tom Bell acrobatically volleyed Taylor Annakin’s driven cross just wide of target.
The home side’s best chances of the game came from a Town error in possession in the 18th minute. Kherbouche’s pass was poor and Bellagambi had to come to his rescue twice, saving the initial effort with his feet before recovering to claim a back-post volley.
Town then created a massive chance, with top scorer Micah Obiero uncharacteristically wasteful. The 18-year-old was played in on goal by strike partner Elliott but skied his effort when ideally positioned just 12 yards out.
Another Under-17 player, Andrew Ijiwole, was introduced by Bromby at the interval and he had a huge impact on the second half. His powerful, direct dribbling was a real thorn in the side of the German team.
Defender Tom Bamford soon headed a corner from Sam Sharrock-Peplow over the crossbar as Town continued to turn the screw.
Nobody could connect with a superb low ball across the face of goal from Ijiwole in the 31st minute, whilst at the other end Bamford pulled off a superb block to deny an attacker a clear shot at goal.
Obiero fired over from another corner and then turned provider, latching onto Ijiwole’s pass into the right channel and pulling the ball back to Rarmani Edmonds-Green. The centre back was playing in central midfield and timed his run perfectly, only to see his side-footed effort blocked by a defender.
Finally, with 11 minutes left, the breakthrough came. Ijiwole started the move, firing a powerful pass infield from the right flank to Tom Bell. He moved it onto Edmonds-Green, who produced a superb reverse pass to put striker Elliott clean through. Kit made no mistake, drawing the goalkeeper before calmly rolling the ball into the corner.
Buoyed by the sizeable home crowd, Ennepetal tried to find a way back into the game. A combination of Bellagambi and the woodwork prevented a 25-yard free-kick from finding the top corner before centre backs Oran Thompson and Mustapha Olagunju produced big moments at the back to keep the opponents at bay.
The win secured a seventh placed finish in the tournament, but the learning benefits will have been the main takeaways for Bromby and his staff.
Town’s team (4-4-2)
Giosue Bellagambi; Sam Sharrock-Peplow, Oran Thompson (c), Nassim Kherbouche (Rarmani Edmonds-Green, 26’), Tom Bamford; Tom Bell, Taylor Annakin (Andrew Ijiwole, 26’), Mustapha Olagunju, Tim Akinola; Kit Elliott, Micah Obiero
Luke Mewitt; Romoney Crichlow-Noble, Jaheim Headley, Will McCamley