Match report: U23s begin Premier League Cup with stalemate at Huddersfield

Huddersfield Town U23 0-0 Sunderland U23

Sunderland under-23s began their Premier League Cup campaign with a 0-0 draw at Huddersfield Town, to gain a well-earned point in Group F on Monday night.

The Black Cats were greeted with a familiar face in the opposing dugout at the John Smith’s Stadium, with former midfielder Dean Whitehead taking charge of the Terriers. 

There was nothing to separate the sides in the opening stages as Anthony Patterson was equal to the few attempts at his goal. 

Lee Connelly, Connor Slack and Williams Kokolo were proving a nuisance up front in an interchanging trio, and it was the former who mustered Sunderland’s first attempt at goal, but the striker’s long-range effort sailed high and wide.   

Sunderland were growing into the game and their pressure almost paid off on the half-hour mark, when Jake Hackett’s 20-yard free kick went just inches wide of the post with the ‘keeper at full stretch. 

And Hackett went even closer on the stroke of half time with another free kick from an identical position, this time Jacob Chapman sprung to his left and pushed the ball away. 

It was the Terriers' turn to attack moments later in what was a frantic opening 45 minutes, when Kit Elliot stung the palms of Patterson from distance.

The hosts dominated possession in the second period but were unable to create an opportunity until the 70th minute, when Elliot’s deflected effort was well held by Patterson. 

Cole Kiernan was introduced by Elliot Dickman late in the game and the striker had a golden opportunity to grab a late winner, but he sent a free header straight at the ‘keeper. 

Hackett whipped in a couple of late free kicks as Sunderland searched for a winner, but it came to no avail as the lads had to settle for a point in their opening group game.  

Sunderland’s next Premier League Cup fixture sees them host Liverpool at Eppleton CW next month.

Huddersfield Town U23s: Jacob Chapman, Demeaco Duhaney, Ben Jackson, Mustapha Olagunju, Rarmani Edmunds-Green, Isaac Marriott, Josh Austerfield, Scott High ©, Kit Elliot, Matty Daly, Herbert Bockhorn

Subs: Illounga Pata, Giosue Bellagambi, Luke Daley, Will McCamley, Kian Harratt

Sunderland U23s: Anthony Patterson, Owen Gamble, Kane Evans, Dan Neil, Jack Bainbridge ©, Andrias Edmundsson, Lee Connelly, Ruben Sammut, Connor Slack, Jake Hackett, Williams Kokolo

Subs: Jack Connolly, Ahmed Abdelkader, Nathan Greenwood, Cole Kiernan, Ryan Leonard

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