Mayhem, it was absolute mayhem on Saturday as Town battled to a hard-fought 2-1 win over a feisty Nottingham Forest. The Tricky Trees (honestly, Google it) came to West Yorkshire looking to right the wrongs of last week when they were beaten 4-0 at home by Garry Monk’s Sheffield Wednesday.
Even with that added motivation, Forest ended up leaving the John Smith’s Stadium with their tails between their legs. Goals from Christopher Schindler and the much maligned Steve Mounie made the difference for Town with both goals, surprisingly coming from set-pieces.
Rather than dedicating this blog to rehashing the events of the game, I’d rather focus on the three main talking points that came from the game…
Young journalist Steven Chicken from The Examiner has already covered this in detail in his latest piece for the paper and the ever excellent Ooh To Be A… podcast. However, it’s worth rehashing for those that may have missed it…
Christopher Schindler’s opener against Forest at the weekend was only the second time this season that Town have scored from a set-piece, with Steve Mounie’s header being the third. Our profligacy from corners and free-kicks has been a cause of consternation for Town fans for some time now.
Happily, our days of watching corners fly out for throw-ins and seeing free-kicks sail into the arms of the goalkeeper seem to be over. Along with the Cowley’s history as PE teachers turned football management duo, the one other thing everyone knows about them is their dedication set-pieces.
Rapid improvement from corners and free-kicks was never to be expected when the Cowley’s took over. However, it is heartening to see their hard work paying dividends now, hopefully it is a sign of things to come.
It is impossible to underestimate the importance of set-pieces in professional football, and as Danny Cowley said himself on Saturday, they provide an opportunity to score multiple goals – 25 a season according to the former Lincoln manager.
(Danny Cowley talks performances and set-pieces following Town's 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.)
Taking to social media after the game on Saturday, it was impossible not to chuckle at the reactions of certain Forest fans to the result.
Many followed the lead of their players by completely losing their heads and accusing Town of every crime known to man. Not only were Town players guilty of kicking their opponents up in the air, but apparently they were also at fault for going to ground when they were on the receiving end of two-footed tackles.
Already you may be screaming “HYPOCRITE” at your screen, remembering my response to the defeat at Deepdale a few months ago… Let me answer that by saying that I’m still not entirely okay with Town’s new style of play.
Shithousery, of course has a role to play in modern football, but I do still find it tedious to see Town players calling for the physio just so Danny and Nicky Cowley can relay a message to the players on the pitch.
Saying that, Town clearly needed a ruthless streak when the Cowley’s came into the club. Prior to their arrival, we were far too passive and routinely let opposition players run over us. So, in a way, it’s nice to see us playing with fire in our bellies and engaging in the dark arts to win football games.
The Forest fans that took issue with our approach may well have a point, but it is one that was weakened by the behaviour of their own players. Berating ball boys, pushing players into advertising hoardings and aiming digs at assistant managers are just a few examples of how to surrender the moral high ground.
(Saturday's victory over Nottingham Forest was marred by shithousery from both teams, but it was good to see Town on the winning end of it for once.)
Very few fans were optimistic about Town’s chances this season when Danny Cowley presided over a 4-2 loss at West Brom in only his second game in charge. That result left Town with a single point to their name after eight games of the season.
Evading relegation at that point seemed impossible, indeed no team with just one point after eight games had ever avoided relegation from the Championship. Despite our newfound wealth from the Premier League and a squad boasting undoubted talent, it seemed as though a return to League One was on the cards.
Now however, some Town fans are beginning to look up the table, with a few casting a hopeful eye on the play-off places. Those ambitions would have been unimaginable for the Town fans that left the Hawthorns in despair on the Sunday afternoon in September.
Clearly there is still work to do at Huddersfield Town, and personally I believe talk of a top-half finish - never mind a play-off push - to be premature.
Huddersfield Town still have clear and obvious problems, chief among them being the gang of disillusioned players in the squad that have caused a selection crisis for Danny and Nicky Cowley.
It is that fact though that makes me even more appreciative of the impact that the Cowley brothers have had on the club. Since that defeat to West Brom, Town have picked up 24 points from an available 45.
Chalking up that tally of points would be impressive for any team embroiled in a relegation battle. However, to have that record with an injury-ravaged/unavailable for selection ravaged squad is nothing short of remarkable.
Keeping that record up with the current crop of players might be unachievable, making the timing of the January transfer window perfect for Town.
Exits in January will hopefully pave the way for at least one or two new additions that the Cowleys can fully trust in. If the brothers are backed in the transfer window, then we can perhaps start setting our sights on an upper mid-table finish this season, with the clear hope of improving in the following campaign.
Now however, it’s time to forget about football for a few days and focus solely on eating lots of food, drinking plenty of beer and wine and spending time with loved ones. From everyone here at TerrierBlog, have a truly wonderful Christmas.
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