Youngsters lose out on penalty shoot-out, performing excellently
- Town’s Under-19s face FC Tokyo and Newcastle United in tournament
- Dean Whitehead’s Young Terriers impressed throughout the afternoon
- Highlights to come on HTTV this week
The Huddersfield Town Under-19s travelled to the North East for the Invitational Festival on Saturday, which saw the Club take part in a round robin format played on one afternoon against opponents FC Tokyo and Newcastle United.
Having experienced a few injury issues before the journey up north and with five trialists also making the trip, there was a lot to learn from this tournament, and, once again, the youngsters put in another noble performance.
The action got underway at noon, but for Town, the first piece of football for them in this three-man tournament wasn’t until 1.40pm against FC Tokyo, and in this initial tense affair, it was the Japanese side that took control early on.
The Young Terriers were quickly under pressure from the fast pace and intricacy from Tokyo and they found themselves behind inside 15 minutes, with thanks to a sensational free kick that left goalkeeper Jacob Chapman stranded with no chance.
It did not take long for Whitehead's men to get back into the game, however, with striker Micah Obiero constantly worrying the Tokyo defence and a great chance came just after the goal. He lashed the ball forward, only for it to be smartly stopped by the Tokyo keeper.
Town continued to mount the pressure on their opponents and after the Tokyo goal, the tide completely swung in favour of the Young Terriers. Winger Will McCamley worked the ball extremely well down the right side, to eventually pull the ball back for fellow trialist Taymar Fleary, who smashed home to make it 1-1.
With the games only 60 minutes long, Town stepped up their search for a winner and their superior control of the possession paid dividends, as Obiero finally got his goal thanks to 16-year-old winger Sam Sharrock-Peplow's beautiful cut back for the striker, who then eased the ball into the back of the net.
In the second 30, it seemed the goal just before the half-time whistle had put a spring in the steps of the Young Terriers and the lads continued to dominate from there onwards, with captain Scott High impressing in central midfield, just as the front three were constantly threatening the Tokyo defence.
The intelligence and magnificent character of Whitehead's men shone through and they were able to see the game out 2-1, which, after Obiero's goal, was not in much doubt.
The Young Terriers had little time to dwell on their victory, and within 15 minutes, the hosts Newcastle United, were out and ready to play the final game of the day.
The coaching staff rang the changes for this one and in came Giosue Bellagambi for Jacob Chapman for his first start at Under-19 level, just as the other trialists switched; Darnel Baxter-Alleyne replacing Fleary and Younes Bouhamed switching with McCamley.
However, despite the positive end to the Tokyo match, the negative start repeated itself and the Terriers found themselves a goal down inside three minutes, and before they could get a grip on the game, Town were 2-0 down seconds later.
However, this did not seem to worry the boys. The strong-mindedness of the lads began to shine through because despite trailing by two, the Young Terriers began to control the tempo of the game and ask questions of the Newcastle defence.
Eventually, Town took advantage of their continued pressure and possession and a well-worked build up was smartly slotted home by Bouhamed to make it 2-1, but it took just two minutes for the host to reclaim their two-goal deficit, making it 3-1.
However, in what was turning out to be a frantic first half - Town were back within a goal yet again, thanks to Obiero's clever chip over the Magpies’ ‘keeper.
The first-half ended shortly after, and both sides could take a breather from these chaotic, fantastic 30 minutes of football. However, the breaks on this windy Saturday afternoon were just five minutes long and we were quickly underway for the final half-hour of the day.
By this point, Chapman came in to occupy the goalkeeping slot and Bellagambi turned to the bench, but the hosts started the second half in similar vein to the first, taking just five minutes to hit the back of the net despite the tempo being dictated by Town.
As we entered the final 20 minutes, the Young Terriers began to dominate. The Magpies ‘keeper was consistently tested, Obiero was tormenting the Newcastle defence, substitutes McCamley and Fleary started to utilise their pace and worry the back line.
Then, with eight minutes left on the clock, the speedy Fleary broke away down the right-hand side, intelligently pulling the ball back for the inform Obiero to tap home.
This looked like being the final big moment of the game, but as these Young Terriers are continuing to prove, they do not give up. Whitehead's men had the desire, knowledge and ability to bring the game back level and once again Fleary and Obiero combined in sensational style, with the latter pulling the game back to 4-4 with his hat-trick goal.
In this crazy, tense game, the two could not be separated and the day was finalised with a penalty shootout. Town netted two and missed one, whilst Newcastle slotted home three, giving the hosts the victory.
Highlights from the tournament will appear on #HTTV later next week, with words from Whitehead also to come.
Town’s Line-Up vs FC Tokyo (4-3-3)
Jacob Chapman; Jaheim Headley, Mustapha Olagunju, Nassim Kherbouche (Tom Bamford, 44'), Ilounga Pata (Tim Akinola, 44’); Scott High (C), Josh Austerfield (Darnell Baxter-Alleyne, 44’), Taymar Fleary; Sam Sharrock-Peplow (Younes Bouhamed, 44'), Micah Obiero, Will McCamley
FC Tokyo 1-2 Huddersfield Town U19s
Fleary 16'; Obiero 29'
Town Line-Up vs Newcastle United (4-3-3)
Giosue Bellagambi (Jacob Chapman, 30'); Jaheim Headley, Mustapha Olagunju (Tom Bamford, 41'), Nassim Kherbouche, Ilounga Pata; Scott High (C) (Tim Akinola, 48'); Josh Austerfield, Darnel Baxter-Alleyne (Taymar Fleary, 41'); Sam Sharrock-Peplow, Micah Obiero, Younes Bouhamed
Newcastle United 4-4 Huddersfield Town U19s (Newcastle win 3-2 on penalties)
Bouhamed 22'; Obiero 25', 52, 54'