Young Terriers triumphant in opening Clarets Cup match
- Gulutte Zunda & Brahima Diarra goals seal Clarets Cup win
- Positive work on high fight zones in training evident in display
- Jon Worthington impressed with squad’s mentality in bounce-back win
On what was a fantastic day for the Club, Huddersfield Town’s Under-17s ran out 2-1 winners away against Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night to ensure victory in their first Clarets Cup group stage fixture.
The Clarets Cup is a competition created by Burnley FC specifically for Under-17 players. Although Town’s Academy runs an Under-17 games’ programme, most English clubs run Under-18 teams.
The Academy has targeted the Clarets Cup fixtures as ‘performance’ games, when the Young Terriers are challenged to put together all the lessons from training in order to perform and win.
Usually, in U18 Youth Alliance games, the Under-17s try to apply what they are currently working on in training in a game situation, with the result not the focus.
Jon Worthington’s side took control early on Tuesday evening and were rewarded for their early dominance when Swedish winger Gulutte Zunda snatched the ball from the defender on the edge of the area and arrowed a shot into the bottom right corner.
Town were unlucky to not double their lead in the first half, however just as importantly Michael Roxburgh, when called upon, made a fantastic save low to his left to deny Rovers from the penalty spot and keep the Terriers ahead.
Doncaster got their goal in the second half after a mix up in the Town defence, but with the score level and the clock running down, Town mustered up a few more chances.
A brilliant, bending effort from Brahima Diarra (pictured above) in the 68th minute flew past the Rovers ‘keeper and into the bottom corner to eventually seal the points for the Young Terriers.
This result was doubly pleasing for Under-17s coach ‘Worthy’ as his side came away with a victory whilst also effectively putting into practice the high pressing they have been working on in training.
He said: “The main thing was coming out of the cup match with a result and I’m really pleased we got that. There were some positive performances, a great reaction from the weekend and we could’ve scored a lot more.
“It was really pleasing from all aspects really, and like I say it just shows the character of the boys.
The first goal set the tone; it was a fantastic reaction from Gully to win the ball back so high up the pitch. It was a great example of reactive pressure and I’m happy for him that he got a goal as well.
“We then had the little setback of their goal, but I thought we dealt with it and came back stronger again. We went on to create more chances and obviously got a real quality goal through Brahima. Overall, the group showed what they’re about today and it’s pleasing to see.
“There are always areas to improve upon in and out of possession, but this is one to just take the positives from. We’ll be looking at the clips from tonight to reinforce the positivity for future matches.”
The Young Terriers’ next game at Under-17 level is in the same competition, with a trip to hosts Burnley in the Clarets Cup scheduled for Tuesday 8 October 2019.
Town’s Under-17 team vs Doncaster Rovers (4-3-3)
Michael Roxburgh; Luke Daley, Loick Ayina, Josh Okpolokpo (Ernaldo Krasniqi, 56’), Taylor Annakin; Ben Midgley (C), Brahima Diarra, Myles Bright; Darnel Baxter-Alleyne (Andre Edionhon, 78’), Robson Shipley, Gulutte Zunda
Doncaster Rovers 1-2 Huddersfield Town Under-17s
Gulutte Zunda 7’; Brahima Diarra 68’