Huddersfield Town Under 18s beat Crystal Palace 3-1 at PPG Canalside to keep alive hopes of making the Professional Development League II play-offs, writes Steven Downes.
Tony Carss’ fourth-placed side need to finish in the top two of the Northern section, with Nottingham Forest having already clinched the title.
Town have two matches to go, at Birmingham City on Tuesday (1.00) and at home to Coventry City on Saturday (11.30).
Another win would put them above third-placed Crewe Alexandra, who have a goal difference of 18 to Town’s 20.
Second-placed Sheffield United are three points above Town with one game to go (at home to Hull City on Saturday) and a goal difference of 23.
Head coach Carss praised Under 18 skipper Jack Boyle for his performance against Palace.
“I thought he was excellent,” he said. “He hit the bar from 25 yards and made their keeper make a couple of great saves.”
Boyle was later presented with the academy goal of the season award at the first-team game against Hull.
He calmly converted a 17th-minute penalty against Palace to set up a 10th win in 13.
From then on, Town looked comfortable on the ball and Under 16 forward Dom Tear headed home from a corner whipped across in the 67th minute.
Palace pulled one back from a free-kick four minutes later.
But Sam Warde restored the two-goal cushion with a smart finish in the 81st minute.
“I was really pleased with the players and we had a gameplan as ever,” added Carss.
“It carries on around the theme of our identity and reactive pressure, our transition game and playing on the pitch.
“I thought we did really well for the first 25 minutes in particular, we got the penalty and created a number of chances.”
Carss explained players such as Warde and Boyle are playing new roles.
“It’s a little different to what they have done in the past but that responsibility is something they have to handle,” he said.
Carss will tell his players to take the next two games as they come.
“Where we finish is a little out of our hands, we just need to concentrate on our next two performances,” he said.
“If they bring six points then great.”
Team: Ryan Schofield; Jamie Mellen, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jordan Williams, Sam Gibson; Olly Dyson, Sam Warde; Luca Colville, Jack Boyle, Dom Tear; Cedwyn Scott.
Subs: Carl Rushworth, Dylan Cogill, Callum Elliott, Alfie Raw, Ben Jackson.