Brace from Conor Falls secures win on Saturday
- Huddersfield Town Under-19s win in EFL Youth Alliance League
- Conor Falls scores twice in 2-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers
- Composed, impressive performance from the Young Terriers
A brace from Conor Falls secured a 2-0 win over visitors Doncaster Rovers for our Under-19 side in their latest EFL Youth Alliance League game of the season on Saturday morning.
The Young Terriers looked very composed throughout the game at the Millers Oils High Performance Complex, showing a good understanding of the lessons learned in training under coach George Danaher in the way they defended and built attacks.
After a 5-0 reversal at Walsall the previous weekend, there was a particular emphasis on the importance of winning second balls and having a solid foundation to play from – something every player on the pitch committed to.
Equally, a 7-2 midweek win over Crown Pro Elite Academy showcased the attacking ability of the Under-19 squad, and there was plenty to like in both goals and in other attacking moments.
Town scored with the first clear chance of the game in the eighth minute. On the theme of second balls, midfielders Michael Stone and Temi Okuwa combined to win the ball just inside the Rovers half, allowing skipper Stone to find Hakeem Sandah with a pass higher up the pitch. Hakeem turned infield smartly before playing Falls through on goal with the outside of his right boot and the Northern Ireland Under-19 international made no mistake, cleverly lifting the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Doncaster did carry a threat despite Town’s impressive performance, and right back Joseph Johnson showed good defensive awareness to get back in front of goal to hook clear a dangerous ball into the goalmouth from a Rovers striker just before the quarter hour mark.
Winger Fope Deru has recently impressed on work experience with Bury, but he got the start on the day as he’s ineligible to play for the Shakers in the FA Vase on Sunday. It was his ball lifted over the defence that gave Falls another half chance soon after, and although his first touch brought the ball down beautifully, he could only volley over with his second whilst sprinting.
Doncaster’s best chance of the first half came through a 27th minute set piece. The ball, delivered from wide on the Town left, managed to evade a number of bodies before dropping to an umarked player at the far post, but he drilled a low, left footed shot against Josh Mazfari’s far post before Ajay Weston cleared the rebound.
Town maintained a really good shape throughout the game, which restricted Doncaster to balls played into the box and shots from range as opposed to efforts that truly tested Mazfari.
At the other end, Deru had the first effort on target of the second half – powering impressively past the left back down the dead ball line before forcing the visiting goalkeeper into a low save from the narrowest of angles.
When Doncaster pressed Town high, the likes of Falls, Sandah, and Deru stayed high to give Town’s defenders a more direct option up the pitch. If the ball was lost, Town’s recovery runs were a constant feature of the 90 minutes.
Rovers did eventually test the Town custodian in the 68th minute, with Mazfari making the save of the game. A good cross from our right picked out the striker around eight yards out and he directed his header on target, only for Josh to fling himself to his left to push the ball away strongly.
That save became even more important two minutes later when Town effectively put the game to bed with the second, and Danaher will have been delighted with the quality of the move.
After centre back Michael Parker won an initial header, midfielder Dan Vost picked up the important second ball and quickly found engine room partner Okuwa. In turn, Temi found Stone with a pass over halfway, allowing Michael to turn and drive at the defence.
Deru and Falls immediately gave him great forward runs, with Stone picking out Falls perfectly with his forward pass. Conor didn’t have to break his stride as he drove into the penalty area and swept the ball past the goalkeeper’s left side to extend the lead.
Town turned the screw slightly as Doncaster had to take chances in the final 10 minutes, with visiting goalkeeper Jake Oram making several saves. Our biggest chance to make it three saw Okuwa win another ball before setting quicksilver sub Omari Mrisho away down the right; his deep cross was headed back across goal by Johnson, now on the left wing, and it looked certain that trialist Abubakarr Sesay would score – only for his volley to be saved at point-blank range.
Falls also had a couple of chances to complete his hat-trick thwarted by Oram, whilst Mazfari had one more save to make – a sharp low stop after a cross deflected off centre back Freddie Fletcher, who was tussling with a striker.
The Under-19s are back in action on Tuesday, hosting Scunthorpe United at the Millers Oils High Performance Complex in an 11am kick-off.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1)
Josh Mazfari; Joseph Johnson (Tyree Sanusi, 84’), Freddie Fletcher, Michael Parker, Ajay Weston; Temi Okuwa, Daniel Vost; Hakeem Sandah (Abubakarr Sesay, 72’), Michael Stone (c), Fope Deru (Omari Mrisho, 72’); Conor Falls
Francis Hurl; Archie Sheppard
Conor Falls (8’, 70’)
Fope Deru (43’); Freddie Fletcher (75’); Ajay Weston (84’)