Report: Huddersfield Town Under-23s 3-1 Blues Under-23s
Blues Under-23s were beaten by Huddersfield Town in the Premier League Cup on Monday night.
The Group G fixture went the way of the hosts at the John Smith's Stadium, with three goals in a shade over an hour of football putting the Terriers in control.
Although the visitors showed good defensive resistence until just before half-time when the deadlock was broken. Brahima Diarra was located by Kian Harratt and found the bottom corner with a curling effort.
Town's goalscorer was then awarded a penalty early in the second period, but his efforts were not rewarded when Harratt's spot-kick was saved by Archie Matthews.
That might have proven to be a turning point for Blues in West Yorkshire, however, a double blow was to follow as Huddersfield struck in the 62nd and 63rd minutes.
Diarra and Loick Ayina combined well to lay-on goal number two for Jon Russell, with a further counter following soon after as Irish international Danny Grant found the net.
The tide did turn when second-half substitute Kyle Hurst got Blues on the scoreboard with 23 miniutes remaining, but try as they might this could not be added to as Nicholas Bilokapic made three stops of note in the closing stages.
Reflecting on Blues' fourth PL Cup outing of the campaign, Steve Spooner admitted that his side failed to get going.
He told BCFC.com: "For 70 minutes they were much better than us and better with their pressing. We didn't take the shackles off until we were 3-0 down. We had some better spells, but it shouldn't take that long. We need to show more boldness and courage. The 'keeper made saves but we didn't work him too hard; a free-kick over the wall and another bending shot. I can't complain about the result they were far better than us in every department."
The fixture saw Tate Campbell return from injury, with the defensive minded player featuring for just the second time in the development team's 2021/22 campaign.
But despite his lack of game time, the Under-23s Head Coach was pleased with the returnee's display and went on to explain that he will soon be joined in the action by a number of teammates who have been sidelined in the recent weeks and months.
He said: "He couldn't have had a bigger baptism of fire, coming back from injury. But he came through it very well and he didn't look like he had been away.
"A few other players returned to training this week, Alfie Chang, Leo Dos Reis and Renedi Masampu. It was just a shame they have returned at this time when there aren't as many games. But it's nice to have them back and they will have to keep working hard during the Christmas period.
Blues' final game before the festive break and until the New Year sees them host Reading in Premier League Two action on Friday night.
The visit of the Royals to Nuneaton Borough's Liberty Way provides another challenge for the Under-23s and certainly not one the Boss is taking lightly.
Spooner said: "It will be another good test for us, we were unfortunate to not win it down there in the end [earlier this season]. They got beaten as well the the other night, so they will be hurting from that. They are a quick passing and industrious side. It will be another tough game - which they all are."
Huddersfield Town: Nicholas Bilokapic; Ben Jackson (captain) (Ben Midgley 88), Josh Austerfield, Loick Ayina, Jaheim Headley, Brahima Diarra, Etienne Camara, Brodie Spencer, Danny Grant (Micah Obiero 68), Kian Harratt, Jon Russell
Unused Substitutes: Giosue Bellagambi; Connor Shanks, Myles Bright
Blues: Archie Matthews, Josh Williams, Tate Campbell (Tommy Fogarty 46), Mitchell Roberts (captain), Callum Sullivan (Kyle Hurst 65), Caolan Boyd-Munce, Remi Walker, George Hall, Jobe Bellingham, Kieran Wakefield, Oriol Soldevila.
Unused Substitutes: Alfie Brooks, Rico Browne.
Goalscorer: Hurst 67.
Image provided by Liam Ford/Huddersfield Town.