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Huws Completes 90 Minutes as U23s Beat Villa
Monday, 6th Nov 2017 21:45 by James Ager

Emyr Huws completed 90 minutes for Town's U23s as they continued their winning start to their Premier League Cup campaign with a 2-1 victory against Aston Villa at Portman Road thanks to goals from Conor McKendry and Luke Woolfenden.

Huws, playing his second U23s game as he continues his comeback from the achilles injury which has kept him out of action all season, started in central midfield with Dean Gerken in goal, Myles Kenlock at left-back and Danny Rowe wide on the right in a strong Blues side.

A blistering start from Town saw them open the scoring after just four minutes. Rowe's cross from the right was flicked on by Huws and McKendry bundled the ball over the line at the back post, despite the best efforts of a Villa defender.

The Blues came within inches of doubling their lead just two minutes later when Ben Folami released Rowe on the right. The diminutive wide man drove into the box and hit a fierce shot which keeper Viktor Johansson pushed against his crossbar and over.

On 14 Town hit the visitors on the break following a corner and McKendry carried the ball from the edge of his own box to the visitors' area, but his low right foot shot was tipped just wide by Johansson.

Captain Shane McLoughlin acrobatically volleyed over from six yards out after more good work from McKendry, shortly before Gerken was called into action for the first time just before the half hour mark when he got down well to push Corey Blackett-Taylor's effort round his post.

Ben Morris twice came close to extending the Blues' advantage minutes later - a dipping volley landed just the wrong side of a post and then a crisp first-time shot was comfortably gathered by Johansson.

Folami had a golden opportunity to net his eighth of the season on 36 when he burst onto McKendry's through ball after an inexplicable slip from Jacob Bedeau, but the Australian youngster slotted his effort inches wide of the far post.

Gerard Nash's side were then made to pay for failing to add to their early goal three minutes before the break. A low cross from the right was scuffed across goal by Jacob Ramsey and with the Town defence appealing for an offside flag that never came, Harvey Knibbs was left with a simple tap in at the back post.

In stoppage time the Blues came close to deservedly regaining the lead but Johansson did well to parry a McKendry effort and Folami met the rebound, only for his goal-bound shot to be blocked and cleared to safety.

Ten minutes after the restart a short corner routine saw the ball worked to Rowe and his trickery inside the box created a sight of goal, but the former Macclesfield man fizzed a low shot wide of the near post. Moments later Huws hit a good effort from the edge of the box which was clawed away from the top corner by Johansson.

On the hour mark Folami played the ball across to McKendry on the left side of the box and his drive was tipped over by Johansson, with Woolfenden's effort from the resultant corner being deflected just wide.

In a rare Villa breakaway which preceded a brief spell of pressure from the visitors, a left wing cross was somehow headed wide, unchallenged, by sub Dimitri Sea.

With just under 10 minutes remaining a hopeful ball down the line from sub Armando Dobra released Folami again, but Johansson produced another fine save at full stretch to tip his shot bound for the bottom corner just around his far post.

However, with two minutes of normal time remaining, Woolfenden grabbed the goal the Blues had thoroughly deserved to claim all three points.

A short corner on the right found Morris and his ball into the danger area from the byline was only parried by Johansson and centre-back Woolfenden reacted quickest and drilled the ball low and into the net.

There was still time for the visitors to come close to nicking a point in the third minute of stoppage time but Knibbs couldn't quite stretch far enough to get a finishing touch on Alex Prosser's ball across goal.

Town, who have claimed victories in their opening two Premier League Cup group matches, should really have won by a much bigger margin and after a scintillating first half display the game could well have been wrapped up at the interval.

Widemen McKendry and Rowe were a constant threat to the Villa defence in front of watching manager Mick McCarthy, who will be pleased that Huws appeared to come through 90 minutes unscathed.

It was another solid if unspectacular outing for the Welshman, who was still running around late on despite his lengthy absence, and came close to scoring in the second half.

Lincoln City boss Danny Cowley was among those watching the match.

U23s: Gerken, D Crowe, Kenlock, Huws, Woolfenden, Webber, McKendry (Clements 74), McLoughlin, Folami, Rowe (Dobra 80), Morris. Unused: M Crowe, McGavin, Lankester.

Photo: TWTD

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Currie10 added 21:56 - Nov 6
Fantastic for Huws!

Did Kenlock / Rowe offer enough to push into the 18 ? Wonder if they could do with a month out on loan to tear it up...

BlueandTruesince82 added 21:59 - Nov 6
Id like to see Rowe more, think hes got something.


Cloddyseedbed added 22:04 - Nov 6
Very impressive performance from the whole team tonight. I've watched the U23's a few times this year at home and like the way the team is set up and the positive way they play with swift passing and attacking play. Impressive in defence with Woolfender and Webber solid in the middle and Kenlock doing well on the left. I did find that Crowe at right back was often out muscled due to his size and Villa were dangerous attacking from his side on occasions. 2 good wide midfielders in Rowe and McKendry, both getting forward well and also doing there bit to stifle Villa. For me McKendry (7) was the pick of the bunch for his workmanlike performance and quality on the ball. Huws continuing his comeback was at times strolling and not committing to 50/50's, but that is probably to be expected. He did put one or 2 attacking runs in but overall I thought his contribution was quiet. Folami looked good and strong on the ball for his age and combined well with Morris, in fact the whole frontline was a bit of a handfull all night for the Villa defence. Victory was well deserved. Far more entertaining football for the full 90 mins than Saturdays game. Well done U23's and coach and tactician. that's the way to play football.

harlingblue added 22:35 - Nov 6
A thoroughly entertaining U23 game, deservedly won by Town. Another 90 minutes under the belt of Huws bodes well for the future, while the wing play of McKendry and Rowe was a joy to watch. Woolfenden and Webber are a fine centreback pairing, while Folami is a very skillful front runner. Missed chances and some excellent goalkeeping by Villa's Johansson kept the visitors in a game that they were always second best. Rowe looks well deserving of a place on the 1st team bench or perhaps a loan spell to get the game time to enable him to push on.

OwainG1992 added 00:39 - Nov 7
I would love to see Rowe as a constant on the bench for our first team. We know our best front four now. Generally our bench will be German iorfa Smith adeyami Sears and say two others? For me from January why not Danny rose and keifer Moore.

algarvefan added 00:55 - Nov 7
I'm just thinking that when MM goes, why not step up the U23 coaching team, a few of the players and see what happens, they sound a great positive bunch.

lightingblue added 06:20 - Nov 7
Mr Nash is building a good reputation for himself. End of the season I wonder if if it worth a punt

bluelodgeblue added 12:03 - Nov 7
Apparently Cowley the Lincoln manager was in the stand any thoughts on what we can read into that?

BobbyBell added 13:40 - Nov 7
IF MM is going at the end of the season and everything indicates that he is then surely we must be lining up his replacement now. Waiting too long could be a disaster. We have shown that our players can play when given freedom to do so, so if we had a manager who wasn't afraid of the opposition every week and instead let them worry about us who knows what could happen.

Pilgrimblue added 13:49 - Nov 7
I've said before that Nash should be given chance on MM departure. Not seen that many U23 games but he certainly sets team up well and plays completely different to MM with passing and movement that's absent from MM's teams. Outplaying Villa says something!
Agree about Rowe and Folami as they've impressed me so don't understand MM's bench sometimes.
Probably the most impressive bunch of youth for many years, just hope we can hold on to the best ones. Future is very bright.

oldelsworthyfan added 15:40 - Nov 7
Well done the U23s not just for winning, but for playing the kind of football we want to watch. Gerard Nash has done well and I hope we can hang on to him. Who knows what the end of the season will bring because MM's time will be up. Alf Ramsey came to ITFC with no management experience whatsoever and he did a good enough job (excuse the understatement). There must be two players in the U23s who are now better than both Cole Scuse and Luke Chambers.

Seasider added 17:06 - Nov 7
oldesworthyfan,we are all assuming that McCarthy wont be here next season,but the club have an option I believe.

I never wanted him here in the first place for several reasons,which have all shown to be true.However nice blokes don't always make good Managers,and being a fair man I must say that he has done a reasonable job in the circumstances of having a smaller budget than a lot of clubs

Against this his attitude,especially to the fans,also the Press leaves much to be desired,and this coupled with the use of expletives,arrogance,and childishness in saying if the crowd calls for a player,he is less likely to bring him on;not forgetting his general outlook on the beautiful game and style of play has resulted in the attendances falling by 25%.

A lot of these things would be too much for a lot of owners,but our detached Mr Evans seems not to bother too much about what goes on at Portman Rd;and seems happy to let McCarthy get on with it regardless.


Seasider added 17:15 - Nov 7
btw congrats to the under 23' and especially their young manager Gerard Nash.

McCarthy apparently there.I wonder what he thinks when he sees one of his teams playing more expansive footy than the first team.

Does he ever watch games on the television and see the pass and move etc playing what he considers tippy tappy football,and what does he think of it all?It would be fascinating to know !

lightingblue added 17:55 - Nov 7
I wounder if we can get a bigger crowd for the under 23’s than the first team. It’s worth a shot for Evans to get the hint

BobbyBell added 10:42 - Nov 8
I feel sorry for Wolfenden who impressed everyone when given a chance but has not been seen since despite our injury woes and our currently unreliable defence.

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