Town end Scotland trip with entertaining stalemateLee Novak and Sean Scannell gave Town an early lead before Leigh Griffiths and Ivan Sproule hit back for Hibernian as the Terriers ended their week-long trip in Scotland with a draw.
Simon Grayson made three changes to the side that started against Kilmarnock last time out with Jack Hunt and Joel Lynch coming into the defence and Academy graduate, Chris Atkinson starting alongside Adam Clayton and Oscar Gobern in midfield.
Town began positively with young midfielder Atkinson impressing from the centre of the park. Also, Joel Lynch, who was making his first start of pre-season, showed the small contingent of following Town fans his strength with two robust, but fair tackles inside the opening five minutes.
The Terriers’ front three of Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak and Sean Scannell were linking up nicely during the opening stages of the game and in the sixth minute, after good work from the trio, Oscar Gobern latched onto a rebound, but dragged a shot wide from 20 yards.
Lee Novak then deservedly opened the scoring for Town, at the third time of asking. The former Gateshead man had gone close twice in a matter of minutes with efforts from outside the area; but in the 12th minute, after Atkinson had played in Rhodes, he was on hand to tap home from the Scotland international’s cut-back.
The Terriers’ slick passing game had been a particular highlight of the opening quarter of the clash – and in the 17th minute they linked a move from defence to attack allowing Sean Scannell to grab his first goal of pre-season. The move started with Clayton who worked hard to win the ball before laying it off for Paul Dixon, who in turn went long to the feet of Novak. The striker immediately spun on the ball before playing a ball in behind for Scannell who neatly cut inside his marker before curling home from the edge of the area.
The home side, whose League campaign started next weekend, hadn’t started the game well, but forced their way back into it in the 27th minute when Leigh Griffiths connected exquisitely with David Wotherspoon’s cross to leave Alex Smithies with no chance.
Hibs began to dominate proceedings after Griffiths’ goal, however, it was the Terriers with the next sight on goal when Tim Clancy’s poor clearance gifted a shooting chance for Novak, but he struck the bar from nine yards.
Simon Grayson made eight changes during the half-time interval with former Hibs man Nick Colgan receiving a generous applause after taking the place of Alex Smithies in goal.
The second half started tentatively with neither side keeping hold of possession well. On the hour mark, Hunt and Higginbotham linked up nicely before the latter spun and chipped for Alan Lee, who headed wide under pressure.
Moments later Murray Wallace, Danny Ward and Liam Ridehalgh were introduced to the fray and the latter was in the action straight away, unable to prevent the former Bristol City player Ivan Sproule cutting inside him and leveling matters with a superb left footed strike.
Alan Lee went close for Town with his head after good work from his strike partners Higginbotham and Ward, before he was replaced by the Terriers’ last substitute Jimmy Spencer with 15 minutes remaining.
Grayson’s men continued to work hard on and off the ball as the full time whistle loomed, but struggled to replicate the passing and movement of the first 45. With three minutes to go Liam Ridehalgh worked hard to earn corner which resulted in Antony Kay heading just over from eight yards.
FULL TIME – Hibernian 2 Huddersfield Town 2
Town’s team – first half (4-3-3):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Joel Lynch, Peter Clarke (c), Jack Hunt; Adam Clayton, Oscar Gobern, Chris Atkinson; Sean Scannell, Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak
Town’s team – second half (4-3-3):
Nick Colgan; Calum Woods, Joel Lynch (Murray Wallace, 61), Tom Clarke, Jack Hunt (Liam Ridehalgh, 61); Antony Kay, Oliver Norwood, Anton Robinson; Sean Scannell (Danny Ward 61), Alan Lee (Jimmy Spencer, 75), Kallum Higginbotham