As has been the norm for the Cumbrians at youth level this season the lads came out firing against their FA Premiership Academy opposition from the off but failed to capitalise on their possession and ended up paying for it as the half came to a close.
As early as the fourth minute United central midfielder James Earl swung in the first of a succession of excellent corners into the Town box. This time, and not for the last time, it was Dan Kirkup who got his head to the ball in first but impressive Huddersfield keeper Simon Eastwood was able to punch the Carlisle skipper’s effort clear.
In the eighth minute Town striker Daniel Highley picked up the pieces from a clearing Kirkup header but his well-hit 25-yarder was straight at Blues keeper Adam Bradley who took the ball into his chest well as it bounced directly in front of him.
After 17 minutes Terriers midfielder Luke Malcher brought down James Earl out on the left. Earl picked himself to curl a delightful ball in from 35 yards out which Eastwood did well to palm clear under pressure from the marauding Kirkup.
Five minutes later Blues left-back Matthew Blake was the recipient of another United free-kick when he was fouled by Highley on the left-hand side. Blake pumped a deep ball into the box from 40 yards out which Kirkup headed low into the box for Carlisle striker Rob Bainbridge to run onto, Eastwood had seen the danger early though and came out quickly to smother.
With 27 minutes gone it was Earl again causing all the problems with his excellent balls in from the corner-flag, this one flew straight over the head of the back-pedalling Eastwood but unfortunately for United it skimmed off the face of the bar and out for a goal-kick.
A brilliant save from Eastwood was the only thing that stopped the Cumbrians from going 1-0 up with 33 minutes on the clock. A trademark long throw from Blake flew into the Terriers box which Kirkup flicked on into the path of right-winger Mike Stewardson who must have thought he had scored as he sidefooted the ball towards the bottom corner from eight yards out. Eastwood flung himself full length to his right though and managed to get a full hand on the ball and tip it round his near-post for a corner. It was a great save from the Town keeper who must be highly thought of as he was restricting England under-17 international glovesman Alex Smithies to only a place on the Terriers bench.
Ten minutes to go to the interval and the visitors started to get a foothold on the game. Malcher played the ball into the feet of Highley who turned Blues centre-half Terry Stewart well before hitting a 20-yarder on goal, once more though Bradley was well positioned to take the effort in on it’s first bounce.
Shortly afterwards United forward Steve Hindmarch, who had a disappointing game by his standards on the heavy and bobbly surface, missed a good chance for the Blues. Central midfielder Shaun Vipond played the young striker in just inside the Town box but Hindmarch stumbled on the ball and only succeeded in dragging his 15-yard effort weakly wide of Eastwood’s near-post.
After 41 minutes Alex Hallam, who was one of two number elevens before kick-off until Matthew Biddle realised his mistake and raced off to swap his shirt for the number ten jersey, set up a good strike for Town. He laid the ball from his left-wing berth across to the onrushing Mitchell Bailey who struck a cracker from fully 30 yards out which fizzed just inches over Bradley’s bar.
Seconds before the first 45 minutes were up Hindmarch showed a nice piece of skill to send Bainbridge running through on goal, Huddersfield centre-half and captain Tom Clark closed down quickly though as he punted the ball out for a Carlisle corner. The flag-kick in was only part-cleared to Vipond who was well placed to hit a half-volley in on goal but his left-footed effort went well wide of Eastwood’s goal.
Just as the whistle was about to be blown on first-half injury time what felt like a dagger was blown to the United heart as the Blues went 1-0 down after dominating the majority of the opening period. Blake gave away a needless free-kick for a push in the back of Highley out on the Huddersfield right which left-back Joe Skarz, who had a great delivery in all night, swung into the centre of the Carlisle box. Clark flicked the ball on with the outside of his boot to the far-post area where centre-half James Berrett had raced into unmarked to side-foot home easily from six yards out. Not for the first time this season the United youngsters had seen the better of the play in the half but found themselves going down the tunnel a goal behind.
That goal gave Town some confidence in the game and they came out after the interval creating the first chance. A free-kick was conceded by Stewart for the most minimal of contact on Biddle in a dangerous position on the right-angle of the Carlisle box. The set-piece was ideally situated for the left-foot of Skarz but his curling effort was straight at Bradley who gratefully plucked the ball out of the air with ease.
The Blues quickly came roaring back into the game though and took control of the majority of the possession. In the 47th minute Stewart hit a deep ball over the top for Bainbridge to chase down but the young forward was unable to control the ball properly on the sticky pitch and Eastwood was able to collect the ball at the very edge of his area.
Just sixty seconds on and an Earl corner was headed away by Berrett to Vipond who was patrolling the 18-yard line once again, like his previous opportunity however he could only pull his right-footed half-volley wide of goal.
The Cumbrians were starting to pile on the pressure now in their desperate search for an equaliser which came at last in the 58th through their set-piece dangerman Kirkup after Earl had missed a great chance to grab a goal seconds earlier. Vipond sent Bainbridge away down the right-side who crossed in low and hard to Earl who was running through on goal, Earl’s first touch was poor though, when he had had the chance to shoot first time, and Berrett was able to hoof the ball away for a United corner.
Earl swung the first ball in which was put out for another flag-kick by Huddersfield right-back Daniel Racchi who was guarding the near-post. The next ball in however flew straight to the head of Kirkup who glanced home from close range into the roof of the net to bring matters level.
That goal visibly gave Carlisle’s youngsters more belief in themselves and they looked a far better side instantly as the adrenaline of the situation really began to kick in. In an effort to freshen things up in the Town engine room Terriers Academy manager Gerry Murphy almost instantly replaced Malcher with the rangy Lucas Atkins.
With 66 minutes gone Highley sent Biddle clear down the right channel and as he ran in on goal it looked like Huddersfield were about to regain their lead. Bradley raced off his line sharply though and did well to get his body in front of Biddle’s goalbound effort, the ball flying off his side and over the United bar for a Town corner.
Three minutes later the Blues went very close to gaining the advantage in the tie through a classic long-throw routine. Blake hurled the ball into the box, Kirkup flicked on and Hindmarch met it with a diving header from just six yards out which Eastwood did extremely well to save low down at his far-post.
In the 72nd minute Town brought on Daniel Broadbent for Biddle upfront, Broadbent showed some good touches on the ball without actually creating any end product and only seemed to give the ball away to Carlisle most of the time.
With 14 minutes left in a contest which looked like it was heading for extra-time Racchi received the only yellow card of the night from referee Mr P Quinn after leaving his foot in on Vipond after the United midfielder had cleared a Huddersfield free-kick into the box. Sixty seconds later Jake Simpson replaced the hobbling Earl in the centre of the United midfield.
Shortly afterwards Town substitute Atkins laid the ball back to Bailey on the edge of the Carlisle box but Bailey’s effort flew well over Bradley’s bar. Only two minutes on and United went ahead for the first time in the match with a barnstorming goal from Bainbridge.
Blues right-back Ashley Combe hit a deep free-kick up into the Town box where Kirkup caused havoc with his height, the ball eventually making it’s way out on the bounce to Bainbridge 20 yards out from the Huddersfield goal. With the ball sitting up in the middle of the "D" begging for a rasping half-volley Bainbridge gave it exactly that as he smashed his effort straight over the head of Eastwood and into the roof of the Terriers net. A finish to match the occasion which left the young Blues with just ten minutes to hang on to make it into the last sixteen of the FA Youth Cup in front of a vocal crowd of 451 spectators in the main stand.
In the 83rd minute the Blues almost put the result beyond doubt when once more Vipond sent Bainbridge racing clear down the right-wing. Bainbridge crossed in to the back-post where Stewardson was waiting to head down at goal, Eastwood saved that effort excellently though and got up even more quickly to get a good block in on Simpson’s close-range shot from the rebound. It was a great double save by the impressive keeper and one that kept his side in the tie up to the final whistle.
A minute later Bailey wasted a great opportunity to draw the visitors level when, completely unmarked on the penalty spot, he could only sidefoot a low cross in from Highley way over the Carlisle bar. Shortly afterwards it was substitute Broadbent who almost found the equaliser for Town when he cut in on his left-foot from the United right and unleashed a sweet curling effort to Bradley’s far-post which flew inches over with the Blues keeper rooted to the spot.
In a last throw of the dice to take the tie to an extra 30 minutes the Terriers brought on Curtis Roberts in place of Bailey but it would prove to be too little too late as the visitors only created one more chance to get something out of the game.
That came deep into the three minutes of the injury time allotted as Blake foolishly gave away a free-kick on the right by-line for needlessly pushing Broadbent in the back. Skarz once more stepped up to put the set-piece in but this time he didn’t get enough height on the ball and it was thumped away from the near-post by Stewardson.
Thirty seconds later referee Quinn blew time on the tie and it was great to see the United youngsters literally jumping for joy at the result they had worked so hard for. It's Sheffield United at home up next for the lads in the Fifth Round but let's take a little bit of time out first to celebrate this great night for the youth team before it's back to the serious matter of a League game at home to Preston on Saturday morning
United line-up :
Adam Bradley, Ashley Combe, Matthew Blake, Terry Stewart, Dan Kirkup, James Earl (Jake Simpson 72), Mike Stewardson, Shaun Vipond, Steve Hindmarch, Rob Bainbridge, Gary Baker.
Unused subs :
Matthew Wood, Dan Wordsworth, Matthew Brown and Connor Grant (GK).
Huddersfield line-up :
Simon Eastwood, Daniel Racchi, Joe Skarz, James Berrett, Tom Clark, Adam Wilson, Luke Malcher (Lucas Atkins 59), Mitchell Bailey (Curtis Roberts 88), Daniel Highley, Matthew Biddle (Daniel Broadbent 72), Alex Hallam.
Unused subs :
Thomas Oakley and Alex Smithies (GK).
Updated Youth Team Results : Click here