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26 August 2017 Venue John Smith's Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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Match Reports

REPORT: TOWN 0-0 SOUTHAMPTON

26 August 2017

Huddersfield Town maintained it's unbeaten start to the 2017/18 Premier League campaign with yet another clean-sheet as the John Smith’s Stadium faithful witnessed an entertaining 0-0 draw against Southampton.

The point would turn out to be one of an important value for 'The Terriers’ in an encounter where the momentum shift would ebb and flow between two Clubs who have yet to taste defeat.

The clash against Mauricio Pellegrino's outfit saw Head Coach David Wagner name an un-changed side which started the previous Premier League fixture against Newcastle United.

It would be the visiting Saints that got proceedings off to a nervous start. Northern Irish international Steven Davis produced a defence splitting through ball to Nathan Redmond who latched on to the pass before curling inches wide of the far post.

Town wouldn't be rocked by the early chance, however, as the Club would raise the intensity in response to the relieving let-off.

Skipper Tommy Smith advanced down the right-flank with urgency before delivering to a waiting Mathias Zanka in the area, but the Dane cushioned a header easily into Fraser Forster's gloves.

Southampton's high-quality attacking prowess reared it's head yet again shortly after Town levelled up the chance count; this time Serbian playmaker Dusan Tadic slid in Davis - playing in a number 10 role behind Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini - and it would take a characteristically consistent Chris Löwe sliding intervention to ensure that the resulting effort barely troubled Jonas Lössl between Town's sticks.

With Saints' best chance of the first half squandered by Nathan Redmond, it would be the Terriers' who failed to make the most of two glorious chances 20 minutes in.

Firstly, a perfectly weighted through ball from Aaron Mooy to a lively Rajiv van La Parra on the left saw the Dutch winger pick out Elias Kachunga in the six-yard box. On this occasion, Kache would be denied a split-second from pulling the trigger, as Japanese international central-defender Maya Yoshida pulled off a superb block to thwart the Congolese man from putting Town ahead.

Occurring from the clearance following Yoshida's crucial intervention, the composed Philip Billing kept up the pressure on the visiting back-line by delivering a pin-point left-footed cross towards an un-marked Steve Mounié. Fraser Forster would pull off a terrific save to deny the Benin striker from poking home from a yard out.

The home side continued to grind out opportunities; visiting Skipper Steven Davis the next man in the black and green to vitally put his body on the line after excellent, skilful wing play from Elias Kachunga had found Rajiv van La Parra in space on the edge of the 18-yard box.

Pellegrino's men rarely threatened up until the interval, with recent record-signing Mario Lemina slicing harmlessly wide summing up the offensive capabilities in the last third of the period; albeit with Town ensuring it stayed firm and compact through the marshalling of Mathias Zanka and Christopher Schindler in the central-defensive roles.

Town would rue another couple of golden chances to wonder how it would go in at the interval all square; Steve Mounié flicked agonisingly wide of the upright after Aaron Mooy's delightful cross-field pass had found an open Tommy Smith on the right, before Maya Yoshida misjudged a bouncing ball to allow Tom Ince around the back who's inventive outside-of-the-foot effort towards the far corner was somehow tipped for a corner by an agile Fraser Forster.

Forster, who had so far proved to be a decisive player so far for the Saints, very nearly gifted Elias Kachunga with an opener after failing to efficiently handle a deep cross, but recovered well to claw away Kache's reactive effort on the empty net.

Manolo Gabbiadini had seen little in the away of action up to the opening minutes of the second half, but the former Napoli man struck tamely at Jonas Lössl just a minute in to ensure that the Terriers were fully alert to begin what would be a vital 45 minutes.

That man Gabbiadini floated a tidy cross aiming for an arriving cavalry at the far post which would fortunately evade every potential threat; all that coming after Tommy Smith had initiated the teasing cross sequence by aiming for Steve Mounié who had descended into the visiting penalty area with intent.

Once more, the Terriers would let a major chance go to waste, with Steve Mounié unable to reach Tom Ince's insightful low cross by a matter of inches which surely would've seen the ball nestle into the bottom corner.

Town huffed and puffed, but still couldn't break Maya Yoshida's resistance, as Saints' number three continued to impress, firstly by denying Elias Kachunga's dart to the by-line followed by a heroic block to divert Aaron Mooy's thunderbolt.

As goalless draws come, this one wasn't a snooze-fest by a long stretch of the imagination; Mauricio Pellegrino had thrown on Irish talisman Shane Long to liven things up in the forward areas for the South coast Club, and the former Reading, Hull and West Brom man thought he'd found a clear route to goal after a smart touch opened up space. However, Christopher Schindler displayed his usual attributes of exceptional positioning intelligence to use his body well and cut off that worryingly free route towards the Town net.

The pendulum of chances would then briefly swing back in the Terriers' favour, as both Tom Ince and substitute Kasey Palmer saw goal-bound efforts deflected away for corners, from which no useful attempts could be mustered.

Long's fellow Southampton replacement James Ward-Prowse had a great opportunity to give the Saints a priceless lead late on, but the England under-21 midfielder went down under the challenge of the solid Mathias Zanka; a challenge which referee Stuart Attwell deemed to have been fair, with the game allowed to play on.

Town seemed to be, to an extent, clinging on near the end of the 90, as Southampton would create a number of chances to keep the home terraces on the edge of their seats in anticipation of ensuring the well-deserved point.

Shane Long would pick out Redmond with time on the edge of the area who fired straight at a comfortable Jonas Lössl, before the linesman's flag on the Revell Ward stand side came to Town's rescue after Maya Yoshida attempted to flick on Sam McQueen's near-post centre.

Long again caused the defensive line a headache by reaching the by-line with pace to deliver a deep cross which left-back Ryan Bertrand would head back across goal towards the far corner; Tommy Smith the man to valiantly scramble back and effectively clear off the line.

Despite being deep into injury time, David Wagner's side wouldn't be forced into changing it's tactical set-up from set-pieces. The very high defensive line would again be called into action, this time to ensure Oriol Romeu's diving header was adjudged to have been in an offside position, in turn completing a magnificent start to the Premier League campaign; a start which sees Huddersfield Town top of the table heading into the international break, with a Monday Night Football trip to West Ham up next for the Club in two weeks time.

TOWN'S STARTING LINE-UP:
Jonas Lössl; Chris Löwe, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Tommy Smith (c); Philip Billing (Danny Williams, 61'), Aaron Mooy; Rajiv van La Parra (Kasey Palmer, 56'), Tom Ince, Elias Kachunga (Collin Quaner, 88'); Steve Mounié

UNUSED SUBS:
Joel Coleman, Scott Malone, Joe Lolley, Michael Hefele

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