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Sphere on Spiral Stairs

Huddersfield T          1 (Helik 45+1)                                                     

Leeds United            1 (Bamford 67)                                        


2nd March 2024, EFL Sky Bet Championship


I guess we all knew a result like this was on the horizon somewhere – no team can continue to real off win after win like we have been doing this year. We knew full well that the Terriers would summon up their inner Real Madrid for this one too and we knew they’d make up for in physical aggression what they lack in skill and quality. We got all that and more.

Right from the start Huddersfield took no prisoners in their challenges and this not only threatened to injure and limit our players but also broke the game up with the constant fouls and niggles needing numerous interventions from the trainers or, occasionally the referee’s yellow card. It was hard for Leeds to really get any sort of rhythm going. Having said that, as early as the third minute Cree Summerville should really have buried the chance he was given when the ball was laid on a plate for him, six yards out and with only the keeper to beat. As we’ve seen all season, despite the number of goals we’ve scored, we are still not exactly clinical.

That missed chance that was easily saved, was the only strike on goal we managed in a stop-start first half littered with fouls and bookings. Then, with seconds left of the first half we saw glimpses again of a defensive frailty that has just started to creep back into our game, a throw-back to earlier games in the season. First, from a left wing corner, a near post flick almost caught Meslier out but he just managed to parry the ball away off his line. Seconds later though, from a free-kick as good as a corner on that same Huddersfield left wing, we were first outjumped, then Meslier failed to hold the header and Michal Helik was more alert than we were to stab home the rebound. We seldom concede what I call ‘good’ goals and this one didn’t reflect well on us at all. Good as we like to think our defence is, we do concede exceedingly poor goals.

The good news was, that, seconds after the goal and in first half added time, Jonathan Hogg got himself sent off. Already on a yellow card for one of those earlier fouls, he challenged for a ball in the air with Junior Firpo and left his forearm to swipe our man across the face. It was a stupid challenge and he deservedly walked.

Inevitably it was like the Alamo in the second half, almost constant Leeds pressure, at least when the Terriers time-wasting allowed. It took us until the 66th minute to find the equaliser though when Patrick Bamford stabbed home a Connor Roberts assist. More Leeds pressure followed but it just wasn’t the fluent, clever, pacey Leeds we’ve got used to in recent months. We didn’t find a way to combat the ten man rearguard action and stubborn resistance of the Terriers and could find not a single further shot on target. Two in 90 minutes having dominated the possession to the tune of 79% just isn’t good enough. Huddersfield hit the target 5 times from their meagre possession.

Maybe we suffered a reaction to the Chelsea disappointment, having played that draining game only 60 odd hours earlier, maybe it was just our time to stumble. Who knows. Somehow though we need to get our act back together quickly as we face two more crucial games in the next six days against sides that will no doubt play in a similar manner – Stoke and Wednesday will both be physical and defensive in their approach. With Leicester stumbling again today, the race for those precious top two places is now wide open to any two of the top four. There will be twists along the way in these final 11 games but you’d think we need six points from the next two games to keep us in the running. We need Elland Road’s thunderous support again to help us on our way on Tuesday.

        Game Statistics:


                     Huddersfield  Leeds 

  Possession        21%    79%

  Shots                  12      15

  On Target              5        2

  Corners                 8        8

  Fouls                   10      13

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