REPORT: Worksop Town 2-1 Huddersfield Town Academy: Brave Tigers fight back

Worksop Town continued their glistening pre-season form on Friday night with a 2-1 win over the Huddersfield Town Academy at Sandy Lane.

First-half goals from Kian Harratt and Steven McDonnell saw the sides reach the break level, but it was Ben Tomlinson’s goal soon after the restart that made the difference in a fiery affair.

Huddersfield started much the brighter side, but relative inexperience shone through at times as their youthful ranks made errors under pressure.

Before long, the Tigers dug in and got up to speed with their opponents with a remarkably physical approach. Both sides enjoyed decent half-chances in the early stages, but neither ‘keeper was tested.

Huddersfield took the lead through a smart strike from 19-year-old Harratt. The Pontefract-born striker latched onto a delightful through-ball from Charles Ondo before beating the defender for pace and slamming his effort high into the top corner at the near post. The Trialist between the sticks was caught off-guard and had no answer for the venomous strike.

Worksop were not stymied by the setback and stretched the Terriers’ defence on each flank, with Ify Ofoegbu’s quick feet asking questions of the hitherto-unchallenged defence. The sprightly 21-year-old was brought down in the box on the 15-minute mark, and took on the responsibility of the resulting penalty-kick. Ofoegbu went low to the right of Max Dearnley, who stretched well to save.

The relief was not to last as the Tigers were awarded another penalty just minutes later. McDonnell stepped up and made no mistake as he smashed the ball straight down the middle of the goal.

Cagey play ruled the remainder of the half, with possession being lost on countless occasions in the middle of the park.

The Tigers came agonisingly close to taking the lead as the half ticked to a close. Left-back Connor Smythe dived into a sumptuous, crashing challenge on the halfway line and the loose ball was picked up by forward Zayn Hakeem. Hakeem took a handful of steps in possession before firing an ambitious effort on goal. Dearnley was forced into a desperate retreat as the curving ball headed towards goal, but he could breathe a sigh of relief as the shot sailed just inches above the crossbar.

Craig Parry’s men flew out of the blocks after the restart as a number of substitutions breathed a new lease of life into the tiring side. Stylish winger Aaron Sennett-Neilson revitalised the attack, and from the off looked to be a thorn in the Terriers’ side.

Worksop took the lead for the first time through substitute Tomlinson. The 30-year-old, who had barely been on the pitch for five minutes, dropped a shoulder to magnificently free himself of the battling defender and struck a powerful, left-footed effort across the face of goal and into the bottom-right corner.

Tempers flared on the hour mark as the frustration of some nefarious challenges set in. Worksop were awarded a free-kick amongst the scuffle, which Sennett-Neilson curled just wide of the left-hand upright.

Worksop appeared to take control of the game from here, and could even have doubled their lead 15 minutes from time. Following a throw-in, Smythe launched a cross into the box and found Tomlinson, unmarked at the far post. Unsighted by the aerial duel in front of him, the striker could only watch as the ball flew beyond his reach.

The visitors hoped a late flurry of substitutions could turn the tide of the match, but the well-oiled Worksop backline kept the marginal lead intact.

The Tigers are next in action on Tuesday, July 27, as they welcome Retford United to Sandy Lane.

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