Town’s Under-17s react well to in-game challenges
- Young Terriers to take positives from Grimsby Town challenge
- Huddersfield Town Under-17s forced to adapt throughout the game
- Comments from Coach Oran Thompson ahead of Cup Semi Final
Huddersfield Town’s Under-17s were forced to adapt throughout their match against Grimsby Town on Saturday morning.
The Young Terriers got off to a positive start with Conor Falls directing the first chance of the game – a diving header – inches over the bar.
However, they found themselves behind early on, conceding a penalty during a spell of pressure from the home side, which was dispatched in the 20th minute.
Thompson’s side battled back as the half went on, keeping the home side penned in. They came closest to equalising before the break thanks to Evander Grubb, who’s half-volley from range forced the Grimsby ‘keeper into making a save.
The second half presented more challenges than the first. On top of windy conditions, four substitutes had already been made when Josh Okpolokpo was forced off with a head injury midway through the half, resulting in Town playing the final 20 minutes with 10 men.
Thompson reshuffled his side and they did well to stop the threat that Grimsby possessed before managing to build their final attacks.
Town came close again when Dylan Heliwell dribbled through the Grimsby defence, but just as he was about to get his shot away from close range he was stopped by a well-timed tackle.
Despite being unable to find an equaliser before the final whistle, Academy Coach Oran Thompson was happy with the way the Young Terriers went about dealing with different factors that came into play during the game.
“It was another game where we’ve had to adapt to the conditions – the surface, the wind, they both made it difficult to play at times – but on the whole I thought the lads did adapt well and managed the game a lot better than in previous matches,” he said.
“Physically we were good. We know what to expect against teams like Grimsby, we’re always going to get lots of duels and, especially when you’re away, it’s going to be a test. I think each week the lads are standing up to that challenge more and more.
“I was also impressed with the final 20 minutes, similar to the Rotherham game we were down to ten and had to adapt. That experience probably helped them today, staying compact, staying together and making sure we’re a solid unit more than anything. Then that’s when you think about building attacks.”
Thompson also highlighted how good of an example the match was in terms of how the Academy aim to develop the players, providing them with a physical test in the form of a strong opponent, as well as playing matches in quick succession, much like the First Team.
“This one was a real good test. Obviously they’re very well organised, they set up a little differently with their press today which was another challenge for us to adapt to in the moment, but that’s what it’s all about for the lads – that constant learning so they can take it into next week and the week after that.
“Also playing matches this often, it’s massive what it can do for their development. In the Championship most weeks this season it’s been Saturday-Tuesday games, so it’s helping get them be prepared with their professionalism off the pitch to get themselves ready to go again. Plus, obviously the best place to learn football is on the pitch, so there’s definitely positives to take away.”
Huddersfield Town Under-17s Team (4-3-3)
Michael Roxburgh; Charles Nduwuisi-Ondo, Josh Okpolokpo (70'), Chukwudalu Molokwu, Neo Eccleston; Ben Midgley (c) (Sonny Whittingham, 30’), Evander Grubb, Michael Stone; Cian Philpott (Michael Aileman, 67’) Robson Shipley (Andre Edionhon, 55’), Conor Falls (Dylan Heliwell, 46’)
Grimsby Town 1-0 Huddersfield Town Under-17s