Town miss chance to go top
Town suffered its first defeat at home and missed out on the chance to go top of the Championship after losing out 3-2 in a thrilling match against Watford this afternoon.
Oliver Norwood’s free-kick to open the scoring for Town was the main highlight of the first half as both teams failed to make any real inroads.
The visitors equalised mid-way through the second 45 when the dangerous Fernando Forestieri saw his shot deflect in off Peter Clarke. The Hornets then took the lead inside the final ten minutes when Fitz Hall scored at the back post before Alan Lee headed his first of the season, and Town’s equaliser just a minute later. But that wasn’t the end of the action as Forestieri had the last laugh drawing the foul in the box for Troy Deeney to blast home from the spot.
Jermaine Beckford was thrust into the action less than 24 hours after signing for the Terriers, replacing the injured James Vaughan in attack as Town looked to make it four consecutive wins.
Meanwhile, Simon Grayson named the same side that recorded a 3-1 victory away at Blackpool on Monday night.
Prior to kick off both teams and fans observed a minute’s silence in memory of fallen Yorkshire regiment soldiers Sergeant Gareth Thursby and Private Thomas Wroe, the latter was an avid Huddersfield Town fan.
The former Leeds striker was in the thick of things early on forcing a corner off Fitz Hall after an excellent pass from Jack Hunt. The 28 year-old forced the second corner of the game two minutes later, which resulted in Keith Southern heading straight at Manuel Almunia from point blank range.
Watford, playing a 3-5-2 formation, created their first chance of the game in the tenth minute when Troy Deeney wrestled the ball from Anthony Gerrard before seeing his eventual shot blocked by the former Cardiff man. Italian, Marcos Cassetti headed over the resulting corner.
The Italian international, playing in a right wing role for Gianfranco Zola, was getting forward well and had a shy on goal in the 20th minute after cutting inside Paul Dixon and driving a left-footed shot wide of the diving Alex Smithies’ goal.
The visitors followed that effort up with another two minutes later when Fernando Forestieri broke the offside trap and curled just wide after skipping inside the recovering Peter Clarke.
Watford were by now the better team but all their good work was undone in the 24th minute when Oliver Norwood struck the opener from a 30 yard free-kick. New signing Beckford drew the foul from Almen Adbi providing Norwood the opportunity to test the former Arsenal stopper, Almunia. The midfielder drove the ball hard and although Almunia did get a hand to it he may feel he could have done better than to just push the shot into the corner of his net.
A moment of miss-communication between Peter Clarke and Alex Smithies almost gifted Watford an equaliser when Deeney pounced on the defender’s poor chest back, but thankfully Alex did enough to thwart the attacker. Town’s captain then redeemed himself by dispossessing Forestieri and clearing the danger.
Town had looked second best for much of the half but almost doubled their advantage four minutes from the half-time whistle when Novak collected Hunt’s chip over the top before forcing Almunia into a fine save, low down to his right.
HALF-TIME – HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 WATFORD 0
Watford came out of the blocks well at the start of the second 45 and midfielder Keith Southern had to be defensively at his best to deny the Hornets at the back post.
Town looked at sixes and sevens at the back during the opening exchanges of the second half and were let off the hook in the 50th minute when more indecision allowed Forestieri a shot, but he sliced wide with his left.
The away team continued to look dangerous on the break with Southern receiving the first caution on the game on the hour mark when he brought down Forestieri 25 yards out. The diminutive striker picked himself and took honour over the free-kick, but could only manage a tame effort which never looked like testing Smithies.
Town finally began to look like an attacking force again as the hour mark passed with Norwood seeing an effort deflected clear before Beckford collected Novak’s pass before firing straight at Almunia.
Watford’s deserved equaliser came with a touch of fortune in the 69th minute when Forestieri, who had caused Town problems all day, struck from the edge of the area and found the bottom corner following a deflection off Clarke. The goal was everything that the Hornets’ play had deserved, but Smithies was left with no chance because of the clip off of Town’s captain.
Jermaine Beckford received a stand ovation from the Terriers’ faithful in the 79th minute when he was replaced by Alan Lee. Also, Scott Arfield was introduced as Simon Grayson looked to liven things up in the centre of the park.
Things were certainly livened up as the game ticked past the 80 minute mark when the game swung one way to the other, and then back again. Firstly, the visitors took the lead when Fitz Hall prodded in at the back stick, but on virtually Town’s next attack Alan Lee headed in from Novak’s cross to level matters. Then, within a minute of the Terriers equalising, Forestieri took a tumble in the box under Ward’s challenge and Deeney stepped up to make it 3-2 to the Hornets from the spot.
FULL-TIME – HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2-3 WATFORD
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Peter Clarke (c), Anthony Gerrard, Jack Hunt; Danny Ward, Oliver Norwood (Scott Arfield 79), Keith Southern, Adam Clayton (Sean Scannell 72); Jermaine Beckford (Alan Lee 79), Lee Novak
Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Murray Wallace, Jimmy Spencer
Bookings Town: Keith Southern 60
Bookings Watford: Marcos Cassetti 32