Charlton Athletic U18s midfielder Ryan Huke spoke to Valley Gold for Academy Notes after the recent 5-3 win at Birmingham in the Premier League Cup.
The 17-year-old who signed his first professional deal with the club last month joined the Addicks Academy at U13 level and believes his skillset allows him to be an effective Number 8 or 10, as well as out wide on the wing, and told Valley Gold:
“The teams started evenly for the first 10 minutes however we were quite sloppy with our passing and couldn’t get hold of the ball well. We grew more and more into the game as it went on and got a lot of joy by attacking down the left and right-hand sides of the pitch with quick forward runs. With 25 minutes gone a goal was looking likely after some good chances and we were rewarded with our first goal after I initiated a good press just outside Birmingham’s penalty area leading to a mistake falling to Sahid Kamara as he threaded a pass into my path for me to finish coolly first time into the roof of the net.
“Five minutes later we started to get control and had a very good spell of possession. A good combination between Mack Reilly and Matt Dench got us in behind the left-hand side leading to Mack cutting inside his defender and having a shot towards the near post bringing a good save out of the keeper and forcing a corner. Toby put in a cross towards the near post that the keeper tried to claim but could only scramble it in front of him which was quickly poached by Pat Casey who hit it home with his left foot.
“We began to really dominate possession a chance a ball was played over the top of our defence down the right-hand side. They managed to find a way to put in a dangerous cross which was met by Birmingham’s striker who headed it in from 6 yards after getting goal side of our centre back. We really should have done better to stop the cross, but also be more aware of the runners inside the box to prevent free headers. A couple of minutes later Zach played a pinpoint pass in behind Birmingham’s left-sided centre back to myself touchings the ball down in front of me and my shot produced a good save from their keeper.
“We lead Birmingham 2-1 at half time being the more dominant team with their goal being Birmingham’s only real chance of the game.
“We started the second half as we ended the first taking control of the game, dominating the ball and mainly playing in Birmingham’s half. It only took us five minutes to work a throw-in down the right-hand side for Ollie Hobden to drill in a beautiful cross across the box meeting the head of Mack Reilly who glanced it into the bottom left-hand corner.
“As we kept probing during the second half and creating good openings a lack of concentration at the back allowed Birmingham’s forward to capitalise on the goalkeepers’ touch who tried to recover but took the forward out in doing so and the referee pointed to the spot. Their number 9 sent the keeper in the wrong direction onto the bottom left-hand corner.
“Shortly after Ralfi Hand picked up the ball and advanced into the final third with a promising run forward and slipped the ball to myself, and I took a touch and a shot which was blocked and smacked the outside of the near post leading to a corner. Later on, Birmingham came back at us again using the counterattack to good effect after our corner which ended up in a loose ball on the edge of the area which was met first by a Birmingham player finishing at the near post levelling the score at 3-3. Chances were still coming for Charlton as I took a touch inside towards the goal from Zach’s ball in behind which was saved onto the post again.
“We were taken to extra time as the 90 minutes ended at 3-3, however, we should have had the game put to bed already.
“Extra time started and we had an early chance when Karoy Anderson who was on the edge of the box struck low towards the bottom left corner but went wide. Coming close to half time in extra time we built nicely down the left-hand side, and we were rewarded a free kick from Kai Enslin after his shirt was pulled. Ralfi Hand swung a delicious ball in and the keeper didn’t come out to claim it with the ball dropping to Ollie Hobden who puts us 4-3 up.
“After digging deep throughout the game and extra time, towards the end of the second half in extra time Birmingham left themselves vulnerable at the back whilst chasing for a goal as Mack was played in behind by Karoy Anderson and as he approached the keeper he squared it to Kai Enslin who slotted it home to put Charlton 5-3 up ending Birmingham’s hopes of a comeback.”
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