Huddersfield Town faced off against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in what Terriers head coach David Wagner described as a ‘belter’.
Three-points were vital for both teams ahead of kick-off, and the Terriers took them back to West Yorkshire courtesy of goals from Rajiv Van La Parra and Steve Mounie.
In a first-half devoid of real chances, the hosts started the stronger – playing with a nervous energy that led to several rash, heavy challenges. Town rode the early storm and began to grow in the game.
Huddersfield’s calls for protection from the referee were undermined when Van La Parra took a dramatic dive in the first period. The Dutchman was lucky to avoid a yellow card for simulation, and David Wagner will likely be having words with the winger about his future conduct.
It wasn’t until the 36th minute that a meaningful chance was created. Lively full-back Florent Hadergjonaj broke forward and pulled a lovely ball back to Alex Pritchard. The former Norwich man’s shot was destined for the back of the net until Steve Mounie got in the way.
The resulting rebound shot from Van La Parra was then saved well by Baggies ‘keeper Ben Foster. West Brom were also guilty of spurning a good chance a few minutes later as James Mclean fired over when well-placed following an inch perfect cross from Matt Phillips.
The anxiety in the West Brom players showed early in the second-half when Town scored, what was, a pretty poor goal. Collin Quaner was afforded time and space on the edge of the box to pick out Rajiv Van La Parra.
Craig Dawson failed to get close enough to the Town man, whose scuffed effort found its way into the corner of the net. Pandemonium spread through the away end and a deafening chorus of ‘Huddersfield’ rang out around the Hawthorns.
The decibel level was to be increased eight minutes later as Steve Mounie scored Town’s second with a beautiful finish following a delightful reverse pass from Alex Pritchard. That goal prompted ugly scenes in the home end as fans streamed out of the Smethwick End and those that remained let the players know exactly what they thought of them.
The goal prompted Alan Pardew to make an immediate change – replacing James Mclean with the experienced Northern Irishman Chris Brunt. His impact was almost immediately felt as he delivered a dangerous corner that was headed into the back of the net by Craig Dawson.
Moments later he tested Jonas Lossl with a dangerous looking free-kick, but that was to be it for West Brom in terms of chances. Danny Williams and Van La Parra both went close for Town in the final stages but failed to add to the score line.
A chorus of boos greeted the home side when the full-time whistle went but the feeling couldn’t have been more different in the away end. Town fans were in delirium having witnessed their side win back to back games for the first time in the Premier League.
The result took Town to 30 points, almost within touching distance of safety. Three more wins for the Terriers will surely see them seal a second-season in England’s top division.
Whilst the first of those wins is unlikely to come at Wembley next weekend, Town fans can still start the week with great hope.