Huddersfield defy the odds again

Updated: Jul 25, 2018

This evening Huddersfield Town travelled to London, knowing that they could yet again write their names into the history of this illustrious club. The task ahead of them was arguably much greater than the one they faced in the capital last May. This time, they had to deny petro-millionaires Chelsea in their own backyard.

The game started almost identically to the draw against against Manchester City four days earlier. David Wagner's Terriers packed their defensive lines with an airtight solidity and challenged Chelsea to break them down.

The opening signs were that the hosts' were more willing to mix things up than the Premier League champions. Not only did they probe and push with intricate one-touch football, but they also hit the wings consistently with raking quarterback style balls from the ever creative Fabregas. Yet Town stood firm and rose to the challenge.

A thundering challenge from Huddersfield's aggressor-in-chief Jonathan Hogg set the battling tone on the quarter-hour mark, and Chelsea didn't look to seriously threaten until midway through the half. Rajiv Van La Parra was twice dispossessed in dangerous areas before being bailed out by gutsy challenges from his fellow Terriers.

From these challenges, Huddersfield seemed to gain confidence, and they began to gain a greater foothold on the game, but unfortunately their play didn't result in a goal. Chelsea hit back with their own pressure in the closing moments of the half and were left furious when the referee signalled half-time just before they were about to take a corner. That decision though, afforded Huddersfield the respite they needed at just the right time.

The second period started in much the same way as the first, with concerted Chelsea pressure, and the Blues should perhaps have taken the lead in the 48th-minute when Rudiger headed over when well-placed from six-yards. 

The German was made to rue that miss minutes later as the industrious Laurent Depoitre got on the end of an inch perfect through-ball from Aaron Mooy to put Town into a surprise lead. Under enormous pressure from the onrushing Caballero, Depoitre showed poise, balance and strength in abundance before lofting the ball into the back of the net.

Chelsea looked shell-shocked in the immediate aftermath of the goal and it wasn't until the introduction of Eden Hazard on the hour mark that the Blues began to threaten again. The Belgian's  willingness to drift into space created gaps in the Huddersfield defence and cross after cross rained down on the Town six-yard box.

One of those crosses finally drew the hosts level in the most fortunate of manners. Zanka met a cross with a firm left boot, and his resulting clearance cannoned into the face of Marcos Alonso before finding it's way into the back of the net.

From that moment, the heat was really on, seconds became hours and minutes became days and the red jersey's of Huddersfield seemed to be engulfed by ceaseless waves of Chelsea blue.

In the 83rd-minute, Town looked to have succumbed to the pressure. A goal-mouth melee saw the ball loop up to Chelsea centre-back Andreas Christensen merely yards away from the Huddersfield goal, he jumped to meet the ball with a firm head and waited for the net to ripple.

Yet Jonas Lossl was there, channelling his inner David Seaman to make a miraculous save and turn the ball onto the post. That save seemed to strike a psychological blow to last season's Champions and although they went on to threaten with a Hazard long-shot and a Giroud scorpion-kick they could not break down the ever resilient Terriers.

When the referee blew the final whistle in the 96th-minute a collective sigh of relief emanated from West Yorkshire and a raucous cheer thundered from the away end in Stamford Bridge. David Wagner and his team of inexperienced players - who had been written of all season - had achieved the unthinkable again.

Wagner now has the fairytale ending he has so often spoken of, and although the M1 might not be the Yellow Brick Road, it will surely be full of wonder and cheer for the German this evening.

The Town are staying up, and now you'd better believe us, and now, you'd better believe us.


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