HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 BRIGHTON 1
Town begin the Easter weekend with a point
Oliver Norwood’s sweetly struck free-kick earned the Terriers a point at home to Play-Off chasing Brighton.
The midfielder’s sixth minute effort gave Town the lead until the 83rd minute when Bruno sneaked in at the far post.
The Seagulls’ goal was their only real effort on target with the Terriers leading the way in terms of shots on goal. Nahki Wells stung the hands of Tomasz Kuszczak and Norwood forced the former Manchester United into a fine handed save as the Terriers aimed for a second.
Brighton’s equalised spoiled what would have been a good Friday for Mark Robins’ men.
Suspensions and injuries hindered Huddersfield Town’s preparations ahead of the first of two Championship games over the Easter weekend against Brighton.
Peter Clarke and Joel Lynch served suspensions following their red cards at Derby, whilst Tommy Smith and Danny Ward picked up injuries during the week.
Sean Scannell and Murray Wallace were drafted into the line-up, with Matt Crooks, Joe Lolley and Jake Carroll coming in to make up an inexperienced bench.
Nahki Wells had given Town the lead in two of the Terriers’ last three Sky Bet Championship and although he didn’t against Brighton, he had a big hand in the home side’s opener in the sixth minute.
The Bermudian earned a free-kick off Keith Andrews 20 yards from Tomasz Kuszczak’s goal and from it, Oliver Norwood stepped up to fire home his sixth goal of the season with a low drive.
The Terriers’ start was full of intensity and they could have doubled their advantage had Adam Hammill seen Norwood’s inside run into the box; instead he tried to round his marker and his claims for a penalty were waved away.
Brighton were slow out of the blocks and didn’t register their first effort on target until the 26th minute. It was a brilliant header from top scorer Leonardo Ulloa which found the back of Alex Smithies’ net, however the Seagulls’ celebrations were put on hold as referee Davies had adjudged the striker to have fouled Anthony Gerrard.
Ulloa had another good chance with his head later on in the half, but on that occasion missed the target completely from six yards. It wouldn’t have counted though; the striker had been flagged for offside, a theme that had run throughout the half.
In the 49th minute, Wells turned the ball over the bar with his back to goal as Town made a decent start to the second 45.
But it wasn’t until the hour mark that the game flicked into life.
Brighton stopper Kuszczak was forced into three saves within a minute as Mark Robins’ men upped the ante. The first was a fairly comfortable catch from Hammill’s effort, whilst the second was a good low save at the feet of Scannell. However, his third was the pick of the bunch.
Clayton had gone over Lewis Dunk’s trailing leg to earn the Terriers a free-kick in a similar position to the one that Norwood scored from. The midfielder was again over for it Town, forcing Kuszczak into a fine one handed save with a sizzling shot.
Substitute Craig Mackail-Smith headed into the side netting in the 69th minute, but in truth Smithies had been forced into very little throughout the half.
At the other end, Wells was doing his best to occupy two Brighton central defenders and did well ten minutes from time when he turned Dunk and stung the hands of Kuszczak with a fierce drive.
Town were undone though, and from what seemed a harmless ball across the box. Right-back Bruno squeezed past ball Paul Dixon and poked the ball via the far post past the advancing Smithies.
Town’s team (4-5-1):
Alex Smithies (c); Paul Dixon, Murray Wallace, Anthony Gerrard, Calum Woods; Adam Hammill, Jonathan Hogg, Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood, Sean Scannell (Oscar Gobern 90); Nahki Wells
Ian Bennett, Joe Lolley, Jake Carroll, Matt Crooks, Duane Holmes, Harry Bunn
Bookings Town: Gerrard 23, Hogg 37, Woods 47, Norwood 72
Bookings Brighton: Dunk 36, Greer 77, Stephens 81