Stone and Bakre score in an end-to-end game
- Stockport County 2-2 Huddersfield Town B
- Central League Cup group stages end with a draw
- Town must now wait for qualification fate
A young Huddersfield Town B side finished their Central League Cup qualifying campaign with a draw at Stockport County on Tuesday afternoon.
A tactical, cagey first 45 minutes gave way to an all-action second at Stockport’s Carrington Training Centre, with goals from midfielder Michael Stone and forward Hazeem Bakre ensuring a share of the spoils for Town.
With many of our older B Team players currently training with Darren Moore’s First Team squad, it was good to see several young players from the Under-19 group take their chance to impress on the afternoon.
The Young Terriers started brightly, with Stone’s third minute slide-rule pass just inches away from setting forward Charles Ondo in on goal.
Shane Maroodza – back from a long-term hamstring injury – then advanced into space from left-sided centre back and found DJ Sturridge with an early pass. He drove into the box and, ultimately, into traffic, with Maroodza on for a return pass.
The hosts came into it around the quarter hour mark, with Keane Barugh – playing behind the two strikers – finding space to orchestrate things. He had already fired over from range before testing our goalkeeper Francis Hurl for the first time in the 17th minute, half volleying goalwards after David Adewoju’s defensive header fell to him.
Hurl made routine saves from Kylan Depeiaza and Ashton Mee soon after and then Town started to get on the front foot again, with Ondo’s shot being deflected wide for a corner after another good pass forward from Stone.
Town were dealt a blow on the half hour when captain Ben Midgley injured his ankle getting back to do some good defending. That caused a change in shape for the men in acid lime, with Worthington switching to a 3-4-3 and introducing Hazeem Bakre.
There were two further substitutions for Town in the interval as Maroodza and Neo Eccleston completed their planned 45 minutes, with Dan Vost coming on for his first appearance since a long-term ankle injury alongside Dylan Helliwell. That led to a change to 4-3-3, with full back Omari Mrisho moving into centre back.
The game immediately opened up, and Stockport took the lead five minutes in when Barugh was allowed to advance into the area to beat Hurl to his left side.
However, Michael Stone – captaining the side with Midgley absent – immediately restored parity in the scoreline upon the restart! The former Stoke City man received a pass on the edge of Stockport's box and moved the ball onto his supposedly weaker left foot before shaping a beautiful effort around the goalkeeper and inside the far post.
Stockport defender Taylor McMahon looped a header against our crossbar soon after when unmarked at the back post from a corner, and then Town spurned a golden chance to take the lead when DJ Sturridge placed his shot wide from around the penalty spot after Bakre had won the ball from a defender and smartly squared it from our right.
Undeterred, Bakre gave Town the lead for the first time on the hour mark. Winning the ball high in the Stockport half once again, Stone this time turned provider, moving the ball to the right where Bakre drove infield onto his favoured left foot before drilling the ball into the goalkeeper’s bottom left corner in fine fashion.
The manic half continued as Barugh got his second to make it 2-2 with 25 minutes left, and it was a surprise that was the end of the scoring. Both sides had chances to win it – Hurl made a fantastic double save from a Stockport attack where it looked certain they would score and also pushed over a late header, whereas Bakre fired over when well positioned at the other end.
However, it was still a performance to be proud of from a young and somewhat makeshift Town B side.
Town’s team (3-5-2)
Francis Hurl; Neo Eccleston (Dylan Helliwell, 46’), David Adewoju, Shane Maroodza (Dan Vost, 46’); Omari Mrisho, Cian Philpott, Ben Midgley (c) (Hazeem Bakre, 30’), Michael Stone, Stephan Padrao; DJ Sturridge, Charles Ondo
Myles Bright, Archie Sheppard
Michael Stone (51’), Hazeem Bakre (60’)
Michael Stone (75’)
You can support Town's Academy by joining the Blue & White Members Club, and you'll receive lots of benefits too! Click HERE to find out more.