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Match Reports


5 February 2024

Match Reports


5 February 2024

Abbott and Isaac score in EFL Youth Alliance win.

- Huddersfield Town Under-19s 2-1 Doncaster Rovers
- Zak Abbott scores on his competitive Town debut!
- Danny Isaac with the other goal for the Young Terriers

A debut goal from Zak Abbott and second half strike from Danny Isaac gave Huddersfield Town’s Under-19 side a home victory over Doncaster Rovers on Saturday morning.

The forwards struck either side of the interval to secure Oran Thompson’s young side all three EFL Youth Alliance League points in what was an impressive performance overall.

The Young Terriers were noticeably young on the day, with three under-16 players in our midfield four. Thompson’s team also featured two returns from long term injury; defender Jay Smith-Sway and winger Donnell Garrick.

Garrick was straight into the action as early as the second minute, racing onto a poor back pass towards the goalkeeper by a Rovers defender. However, the ‘keeper reacted well to spring from his line and make an important tackle as Garrick got to the ball.

Although Town enjoyed decent control of the ball throughout, the visitors – managed by former Town player Frank Sinclair – posed a genuine threat on the break and goalkeeper Alex Walpole had to do well on a few occasions in the first half. Having swept up behind Town’s high defensive line twice already, he did brilliantly to deny a Rovers player one-on-one after they successfully countered following am 18th minute Town corner, making himself big to block the shot.

As the game approached the half hour mark, Town started to test the Doncaster defence properly.
Smith-Sway, who did well in his planned half hour on the pitch, tried his luck in the 20th minute after a superb bit of pressing to win the ball high, testing the goalkeeper off his weaker left side.

Then Garrick turned infield from the right brilliantly before feeding Isaac with a great pass into the box, only for the last defender to take the pace off his shot on the turn with a half block.

Midfielder Marlie Neil then won possession in the Rovers half and quickly found Abbott ahead of him, who pulled a speculative shot wide from range.

However, Town did score on the stroke of the 30th minute through a well-worked move. Right wing back Joe Nicholson’s throw in found Abbott with his back to goal on the edge of the box, and he cleverly backheeled the ball into the area for Garrick. Donnell looked up and pulled the ball back to Isaac who got his shot away; the goalkeeper saved, but Abbott had kept moving and easily placed the rebound into the bottom corner!

Captain Walpole had to save low soon after the restart having given the ball away trying to play out, but Town kept pressing and Abbott soon had another shot blocked in the six-yard box after more clever work from Isaac.

Thompson withdrew Abbott as planned after a first 45 minutes in Town colours as the Young Terriers got ever younger through their subs, but his charges continued to do well.

Walpole made a couple of routine saves at one end, and at the other Isaac had a shot blocked when well positioned in the area and sub Mo Fikri was only denied a scoring chance by a brilliant last-ditch clearance at the back post.

Another substitute, Luke Schofield, then inadvertently put a Doncaster player through on his own goal in the 71st minute with a poor pass, but centre back Anthony Gregory showed great pace to get back and force the striker to try and lob Walpole from range. The forward still wasn’t far away from an equaliser, with the ball clipping the top of the crossbar before dropping dead.

Town hit back, with Gregory and Isaac combining to play another substitute, Milkyas Mebrahtu, into the box, but his shot when stretching was easy pickings for the Doncaster goalkeeper.

From that attack, Town’s second immediately followed. Doncaster tried to play out, only for Fikri to intercept a pass from a defender in the area. He looked up and calmly squared to the unmarked Isaac, who swept the ball past the goalkeeper from around 12 yards out.

Doncaster pushed to get back in the game for the final 10 minutes, but Town defended the box very well. In particular, wing back Nicholson made one excellent clearance to snuff out the danger at the back post.

When they did concede, they could count themselves unlucky – a 92nd minute Doncaster free kick hit a player in the defensive wall and completely wrongfooted Walpole before rolling in.

Nevertheless, Town saw out the win. The only meaningful action after that consolation saw Doncaster’s number nine sent off late in the game, earning a second yellow card for persistent fouling.

Town’s team (3-4-3)
Alex Walpole (c); Jay Smith-Sway (Hakim Legall, 30’), Alex Joof, Anthony Gregory; Joe Nicholson, Marlie Neil (Luke Schofield, 60’), Gabriano Shelton, Aaron Ojungu; Donnell Garrick (Mo Fikri, 60’), Zak Abbott (Milkyas Mebrahtu, 46’), Danny Isaac

Unused substitute
Hugo Bennett

Zak Abbott (30’), Danny Isaac (78’)

Town booking
Alex Joof (57’)

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