Posh U18s celebrate

Joel Odei-Larbi’s first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory over The Owls.

Peterborough United U18s claimed their first three points in the Under-18 Professional Development League campaign as Joel Odei-Larbi’s strike on the stroke of half-time sealed a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday U18s at Middlewood Road on Friday afternoon.

Both sides struggled in possession in the opening stages of the game, but it was The Owls who had the first opportunity at goal as an effort from the edge of the box was straight down the throat of Jake West. Posh were forced into an early change on 18 minutes after the trialist was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge and was replaced by Tyler Winters.

The Owls went close again on 29 minutes as a low ball into the box was met by their forward, but he sent his first-time effort over the bar. Posh grew into the game, but failed to test The Owls' keeper in that spell.

Posh found the breakthrough on 43 minutes, and it all started from a lovely chipped ball into the box by Reuben Marshall which found Dennis Kelmendi advancing and he played it across goal to Joel Odei-Larbi to tap home from close-range.

Simon Davies, who was stepping in for Jamal Campbell-Ryce for the game, made a change at the break as Odei-Larbi was replaced by Levi Baker. West was called into action on 55 minutes, getting down low to his left to keep out a powerful effort from a free-kick on the edge of the box.

A deep corner from Harvey Mills found James Dornelly on the edge of the box, he headed the ball back into the box and found Baker, who tried to flick it past the keeper, but was kept out by a fine save before the linesman flagged for offside. 

Posh were inches away from doubling their lead on 67 minutes as Joe Toynton’s header smashed against the post following a lovely cross from Ben Challinor. The Owls continued to search for an equaliser and threaten down the right-hand side, fizzed in another low cross into the box before Josh Marcon blocked an effort on the half-volley.

Speaking after the game, Davies said: “In the first-half, the players used a few rotations that would help play against their shape and trusted it, which looked good at times and managed a few good spells of possession, that built the confidence in the players and we took the lead just before the break. The goal came from the shape we prepared in, then we tried to rotate those to affect Sheffield Wednesday to get those opportunities and we did, plus had a few more where we could have punished them even more if we had been more clinical in the final third.

"In the second-half, we dug in as a team after we came under a little bit of pressure, which is what you expect when holding a one-nil lead, but the players showed resilience and saw the game out. On the whole, all the players should be really pleased with their performance.”

Posh XI: West, Rose (Gilbert, 58min), Dornelly, Toynton, Mills, Challinor, Marcon, Trialist (Winters, 18min), Kelmendi, Marshall, Odei-Larbi (Baker, 46min).

Subs Not Used: Laycock, Overton.