PERFECT AWAY DAY AS TOWN WIN AND KEEP CLEAN SHEET
Huddersfield Town came to Ewood Park, having not won in this part of East Lancashire since 1986. Terriers Head Coach David Wagner made three changes to the starting line-up, with Jason Davidson, Joel Lynch and Harry Bunn restored to the starting line-up, replacing James Husband, Martin Cranie and Jamie Paterson.
Blackburn came into the game having lost two and drawn one of their last three and with a mid table place assured, had very little to play for.
The Terriers started well and passed the ball nicely in midfield. Blackburn played two up front, with their game plan clear in putting long balls into the box at every opportunity for strikers Danny Graham and Simeon Jackson.
The real battle was in midfield, where Town outmanned the opposition with their 4-2-3-1 formation. From the start, Town’s best avenue looked like it was down the right, with the impressive Rajiv van La Parra linking up well with Tommy Smith and fellow attacking midfielders Harry Bunn and Joe Lolley.
Town kept good possession in the first half and restricted Blackburn to very few chances. The work of Huws and Whitehead in midfield made Town look solid, albeit without creating any real chances.
The first chance for Blackburn came in the 19th minute when Elliott Bennett tamely shot wide of the Town goal from 35 yards out. Lynch came to the rescue on the 24th minute when his tackle on Danny Graham around the penalty spot was timed to perfection.
Town looked dangerous and Rajiv van La Parra was a constant threat – the Dutchman looking a lot more direct in his attacking play. His great work almost led to Harry Bunn being put through for a chance on goal, but the popular midfielder was adjudged to be offside.
Town’s breakthrough came on the 35th minute, with Harry Bunn running at the Blackburn defence. Instead of shooting, he passed the ball, and a weak header by a Blackburn defender back to Steele in goal, meant that Wells could nip in to finish for the Terriers to send the travelling fans into raptures.
The Terriers continued to play attractive football after the goal, with van La Parra again shooting from distance to trouble Jason Steele in the Blackburn net.
Blackburn’s team were booed off at half time, but this was as much down to Town having played well as Blackburn playing poorly.
HALF TIME: BLACKBURN 0 – 1 HUDDERSFIELD
The second half saw Blackburn make a double substitution with Jason Lowe and Chris Brown replacing Simeon Jackson and Elliott Bennett. Initially, these looked to give Blackburn more hope down the right hand side of midfield. Town had some bright possession, with Huddersfield winning lots of ball in midfield and looking fast on the break, whereas still Blackburn were looking to play the long ball game to Danny Graham, who was marshalled well by Lynch and Hudson.
On the 52nd minute, Town were awarded a corner from good play by van La Parra. The corner taken by Harry Bunn from the left was swung into the box, with a number of heads going up for the ball. It was difficult to see who got the final touch, be it Nahki Wells or a Blackburn defender, but the goal stood and the Town players headed towards the mass of fans from West Yorkshire behind the goal to celebrate.
This seemed to spur Blackburn into life, and a good amount of pressure followed for around 5 minutes without any clinical shots on goal, much to the frustration of the Blackburn faithful. A strange penalty appeal was rightly turned down when Mark Hudson cleared off the line on the 58th minute.
Town had a real chance when Nahki Wells burst through, only to be man handled by the Blackburn captain Grant Hanley. The referee gave a yellow card, when by the letter of the law it looked as if he was the last man.
Joe Lolley was replaced by Karim Matmour on the hour, and this led to Town becoming more astute in defending from the expected surge from Rovers. In truth, this didn’t come and Matmour had the opportunity to push forwards and create chances.
Town began to dominate again and dominate the game, especially as Blackburn were forced to move the ball up the field quicker in search of a goal. Danny Graham threatened but in reality, Town’s back line held firm.
The travelling Terriers fans were in good voice, and as a sudden hailstorm set in, it made it more of a challenge to play attractive football.
In the last ten minutes, Blackburn had lots of possession, but were insipid with the ball. Harry Bunn was withdrawn in the 82nd minute to be replaced by Kyle Dempsey, and shortly after, Dean Whitehead was replaced by Phillip Billing, whose job was to see the game out.
Town fans shouted for a penalty in added time, when Nahki Wells was bundled in the box, but the referee played on.
The final whistle saw Town’s players and management link together in a victory chain to take the congratulations of the travelling support, who enjoyed every second of the celebration.
FULL TIME: BLACKBURN 0 – 2 HUDDERSFIELD