Lacklustre Leeds go down to Huddersfield
Wednesday, 16th Apr 2008 23:03
Huddersfield Town 1 Leeds United 0
Our run of wins came to an abrupt halt at the Galpham last night, and much as it pains me to say it, Huddersfield Town deserved to win this game.
According to the announcer this was “the game Huddersfield have been looking forward to since the fixtures came out, and now it’s finally here”. But even then, they couldn’t sell all their tickets, with the end opposite the Leeds fans having plenty of space in it’s upper tier and the lower tier closed completely. The PA then inadvertently played ‘Tom Hark’, giving us the chance to sing along with the lyrics “you’re only here, to see the Leeds!” which went down a treat in the home end.
But once the game started it became clear that it was Huddersfield’s cup final after all, as they looked by far the more eager of the two sides, with Leeds showing a strange lack of urgency. Our only change from Saturday was to bring Kandol into the starting line-up for Beckford, who has yet to recover from that injury at Orient. And while the big man won a lot of balls in the air, neither he nor Freedman are blessed with great pace, so Huddersfield’s defence didn’t have a lot to do to keep our striking pair at bay.
We had most of the possession for the first half hour or so, but our best chances came from free kicks, with most of them hit high and wide. Johnson and Kilkenny were both guilty of wasting set pieces from decent positions. Huddersfield’s best effort in the early stages was a shot from Williams that Casper dealt with fairly comfortably. They also had a shout for an alleged penalty when Huntington pulled Booth back, but it looked to me that the first foul had been the other way.
Up until now the game had been pretty dull, but there was suddenly a bit of entertainment to our left, when the locals spotted a small group of Leeds fans in their midst. It took a while to drag them out, and then the fighting seemed to spread to the executive boxes above that section. If I’d needed to buy a ticket from Huddersfield I think I’d have chosen a quieter part of the ground.
And there was soon a bit of bother on the pitch. Douglas had been booked for bringing down a player who had got past him in a dangerous position on their left, but I thought he was unlucky to get a second yellow in the 38th. minute. It seemed to me that he accidentally clipped Worthington’s heel as the Huddersfield man cut across in front of him. But at least Worthington had the decency to even up the numbers by getting sent off himself, picking up one yellow for following though when Casper already had the ball, and the second for the shoving match that followed when Lubo angrily reacted to this challenge.
So it was ten a side as we went into half-time. After the interval it was fairly even in terms of possession, but Huddersfield started to create the better chances. First Collins hammered a shot against the bar, and then Booth was left completely unmarked but headed wide of the post. Our best opportunity of the night came on 62 minutes when Johnson beat the offside trap and raced down the left with Kandol free in the centre, but his cross was woeful, a long way over the big man’s head when a simple ball to feat would surely have set him up for the goal.
We weren’t creating a great deal, and Mc.Allister needed to change things around if we were to win the game, but his substitutions were a little bit odd. Prutton came on for Johnson, and a chorous of disapproval greeted the decision to bring Hughes on for Howson, who had been our most creative force in the midfield. I would have given Elding the chance up front in place of the lumbering Kandol, but he doesn’t seem to be one of Macca’s favourites.
At the other end our problems continued, and some more slack defending allowed Huddersfield to take the lead in the 76th. minute. We allowed them far too much room on the left, and nobody tracked Holdsworth’s run to the far post, so he had time to pick his spot and duly nodded the Terriers in front. In response Leeds had shots from Kilkenny and Lubo deflected to safety, but Skarz could have made the game safe when his chip went narrowly over the bar, from a break that began when a tiring Kenton lost the ball on the half-way line.
Carole was our third sub (for Kilkenny) and created a few problems running at their defence, but again Huddersfield came closer to scoring, with Casper doing well to tip Kamara’s shot over the bar. As we moved into injury time Freedman could have snatched a point for Leeds but never quite got hold of the shot, and as the keeper palmed the ball away it just eluded Kandol. Casper came up for a corner right at the end but to no avail, and Leeds had gone down to a very disappointing defeat.
The one saving grace of the night was that Walsall also lost, so we maintain our four point lead over seventh place. We should still make the play-offs even if we don’t get any points back from the tribunal, but if we’re going to get through them we will need to play an awful lot better than this.
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