Tim Oscroft attended Manchester United's first fixture at the John Smith's Stadium in Huddersfield – the Reds' 2-1 FA Youth Cup defeat by the hosts...
Formerly known as the McAlpine and the Galpharm, the John Smith's Stadium has been Huddersfield Town's home since 1995 but this was the first time any United side had played here. In fact, the last time the senior Reds had been in this vicinity was October 1971, when they came away from the old Leeds Road ground with a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the old First Division, courtesy of goals from Best, Law and Charlton. Housed near the site of that venue, the John Smith's is a well-appointed stadium with a modern look and feel, and one that has worn a lot better than some more recently-built grounds.
The hosts were clearly up for the challenge, with the line-ups announced on the PA system in the same way they would be for a first-team match. There was a sizeable turnout of 1,385 housed in the lower tier of the main stand and there were some familiar faces in the VIP area. Terriers' first-team manager Mark Robins rubbed shoulders with former team-mate Clayton Blackmore, while Sir Bobby Charlton’s presence indicated just what this competition means to the club. A vocal contingent of Reds had made it over Saddleworth Moor on a wild night on the roads, with the Januzaj chant getting several airings.
Huddersfield’s Under-18s top the Professional Development League Two, and they looked a confident unit from the outset. Tall Danish midfielder Phillip Billing was a frequent menace, and Jake Charles, grandson of the late Wales and Leeds legend John, also asked questions of the Reds defence. In the dugout was coach Frank Bunn, the former striker who holds the record for most goals in a single League Cup match – six – set when he was with Oldham in 1989.
Reds in focus
The hosts were good value for their early lead, but Joel Castro Pereira’s fine