Huddersfield Town failed to beat Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United at the John Smith’s Stadium, with goals from Kari Arnason and Conor Sammon sealing the win for Steve Evans’ side.
Despite finishing the game with ten men, the Millers took all three points back to South Yorkshire, leaving Chris Powell with much to think about after his side’s third straight defeat.
In a first half which lacked clear-cut chances, it was the visitors who managed to break the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes.
Although Joe Lolley began brightly in his first home start for the Terriers, his efforts down the right side amounted to little with Town failing to test Adam Collin.
Alex Smithies made a good save to deny the Millers’ midfielder Kari Arnason a driven header from a corner, but the Icelander would soon get the better of the 25-year old stopper.
A blustery wind played its part in the first period of play, as the ball hung in the air on occasion making life difficult for both outfits.
Yet as Town tried to travel further up the pitch through Butterfield, Scannell and Lolley, the visitors exploited the space in the middle of the park.
Rotherham’s chance to strike then came as right-back Jack Hunt found himself in space on the right side of Town’s area; his low swinging cross found a way through Town’s defenders and led to a scramble just in front of Smithies. The ball then fell kindly for Arnason, who smashed his effort into the back of the net, though his first attempt was initially a miss-hit.
The goalscorer, along with Lee Frecklington and Jacob Butterfield, all found their way into the referee’s book for clumsy challenges – however, aside from Rotherham’s late flourish and these cautions, there was little to talk about during the 15 minute break.
The second half began to pan out much like the first, with both sides finding it difficult to fashion chances.
Lolley’s afternoon was cut short, as the wide man made his way to the dressing room, seemingly nursing an injury. His replacement was striker Ishmael Miller who slotted in next to James Vaughan.
Town then backed off their opponents as United pressed with the ball and this would prove costly, as Rotherham grew in confidence and advanced just after the hour mark.
Radoslaw Majewski likewise replaced Jonathan Hogg in the middle of midfield and Town then lapsed in concentration momentarily, resulting in a second Rotherham goal.
As Derbyshire, Frecklington and Ben Pringle linked up on the edge of Town’s area, Conor Sammon then found and exploited a yard of space, driving a low shot into the bottom corner.
With yellow cards becoming a recurring theme in this Yorkshire derby Kirk Broadfoot and Lee Freckinglton found themselves in the book for late challenges.
However, as Frecklington had earlier seen one yellow card in the first half, the referee was forced to brandish a red to the Rotherham skipper.
Consequently, Steve Evans made a change bringing on Rob Milsom for Ben Pringle to guard his sides two-goal lead.
Town then followed Evans’ alteration with a change of their own as the returning Joel Lynch came off for Murray Wallace with ten minutes left to play.
However, as the 90-minute mark approached, there was only time left for Town and the visitors made two more routine substitutions.
The second of three changes for the Millers saw Matt Derbyshire make way for Jordan Bowery in the 82nd minute – moments later Conor Sammon received a standing ovation from Rotherham’s travelling fans, as he came off for Frazer Richardson.
Town now prepare for a trip to St. Andrew’s as they meet Birmingham City in their next Sky Bet Championship fixture.
Town’s team (4-3-3):
Alex Smithies; Jack Robinson, Joel Lynch (Murray Wallace 80’), Mark Hudson ©, Tommy Smith; Jonathan Hogg (Radoslaw Majewski 59’), Conor Coady, Jacob Butterfield; Sean Scannell, James Vaughan, Joe Lolley (Ishmael Miller 58’)
Joe Murphy; David Edgar, Jake Carroll, Oscar Gobern