Under-17s put in an assured performance against West Yorkshire rivals
- Huddersfield Town Under-17s fair well against an aggressive pressing side
- Goals from Sonny Whittingham, Ernaldo Krasniqi (x2) and Robson Shipley
- Young Terriers Coach George Danaher pleased with his side’s problem-solving skills
Huddersfield Town’s Under-17s battled through a different kind of test on Saturday morning to come out on top against West Yorkshire rivals Bradford City.
The Young Terriers impressed from the get-go, scoring two goals that each displayed individual brilliance within the opening 10 minutes.
The first came after just 26 seconds, thanks to Sonny Whittingham’s intense pressing, which meant the midfielder stole the ball and curled an effort into the top corner from the edge of the area.
The second came in the form of a rocket from just inside the City half by Ernaldo Krasniqi, who spotted the ‘keeper off his line and finished accurately from range.
Bradford began to creep back into the game with an aggressive pressing style of play. However, the Young Terriers fared well against the challenge, shutting them out in the first half thanks a string of last-ditch blocks and excellent saves from Michael Roxburgh, and went on to increase the lead to three goals through Robson Shipley’s first goal since returning from injury.
Krasniqi scored his second and the Young Terriers’ fourth from the penalty spot shortly after the restart, although the four-goal lead didn’t last long as the visitors pulled back two in quick succession. They pushed for more before the final whistle, however once again the Under-17s showed calmness to defend as a unit and pull through their latest challenge.
Under-17s Coach George Danaher said the performance gave him plenty of reasons to be pleased.
“I thought on the whole there was some really good things and players reacting well to different situations that we don’t usually find ourselves in.
“Normally we would dominate the ball, although on this occasion Bradford came and pressed us really aggressively which was a new challenge for some of the players as we don’t usually face teams that play like that.
“As a result, the players had to do some problem solving on the pitch and keep their focus, which is a fantastic experience for them – they will take great learning from it.
“In the goals there was some individual brilliance which is always great to see. The first two were fantastic in terms of individuals showing what they can do on the ball.
“Defensively at times we were under pressure, you’re always going to get that in matches and sometimes you need your defenders and goalkeeper to help you out, and today the defenders made some crucial blocks and Michael Roxburgh made some fantastic saves.
“For me, this makes it a great game because there is loads to take from it that we did well and that we can improve on. It’s a process for lads, win or lose, we review the matches with them in the classroom and on the pitch to help them get better each week.”
The Under-17s are back in action on Tuesday, this time in the Clarets Cup away at Barnsley. Danaher feels like this a perfect opportunity for the players to go through the process of rest and recovery between matches in quick succession, similar to the First Team.
“This match will test if they can get ready to go again in a short time frame. Like we’re seeing with Carlos’ team in the Championship the games are coming thick and fast, so the lads need to learn how to recover, watch things like their lifestyle, diet and so on, so they’re ready for the next game.”
Town’s Under-17s team (4-3-3)
Michael Roxburgh; Luke Daley (Fopefoluwa Deru, 45’), David Adewoju, Josh Okpolokpo (c), Jeremy Stewart (Michael Stone, 62’); Ernaldo Krasniqi, Sonny Whittingham (Dylan Helliwell, 62’), Brodie Spencer; Donay O’Brien-Brady, Conor Falls, Robson Shipley (Darnel Baxter-Alleyne, 83’)
Sonny Whittingham 1’, Ernaldo Krasniqi 9’, 58’, Robson Shipley 33’
Huddersfield Town Under-17s 4-2 Bradford City