TOWN 2 BLACKBURN 2
Huddersfield Town played out a 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers in the final appearance of the season at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Goals from Blackburn strike duo Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes meant the Terriers had to fight back to stretch their impressive unbeaten league run to six games.
Town took the game to Blackburn right from the off, immediately pushing Gary Bowyer’s side further into their half.
However, with former Terrier Jordan Rhodes on the pitch, the Town fans knew only too well the threat that this frontman poses.
After Simon Eastwood denied Mark Hudson from a corner, Rovers began to settle on the ball and edge closer to Alex Smithies’ goal.
A loose pass from Oscar Gobern then gave Rhodes the ball – and the visitors pounced. The Blackburn captain evaded the challenges of Joel Lynch and Tommy Smith, however his effort did not beat Mark Hudson. It did, however, fall kindly for Rudy Gestede; who took his chances and slotted the ball low into the back of the net.
Despite Town’s bright start the game, the visitors then doubled their one goal lead. After debutant Joe Wilkinson – in for the injured Reece James – sent the ball behind for a Blackburn corner, a ball to the front post gave Rhodes a dream return to the John Smith’s Stadium.
Rhodes’ header beat Smithies in the Town goal and meant that the score was now 2-0 after 30 minutes.
Nevertheless, it did not take long for the Terriers to finally fight back. Ishmael Miller was brought down on the edge of the area by Tommy Spurr, with the angle of the free kick forcing ‘keeper Eastwood to setup for a ball into the box.
This was not the case as Jacob Butterfield fooled everybody, swinging a measured free kick into the top corner off the crossbar.
Butterfield’s goal was the last notable moment of the first period of play and gave Town a solid platform to build on in the second half.
The visitors got the second half started, but still it was Town who controlled much of the play.
Blackburn’s central defender, Darragh Lenihan, saw a yellow card for a foul on Ishmael Miller shortly after the restart. The striker collected the ball only to be hacked down on the turn.
Joe Wilkinson then made way for Joe Lolley as Chris Powell pushed for the equaliser. The 19-year old first year professional walked towards the bench having played his first hour of First Team football.
The change gave Town more attacking options, as Conor Coady filled in at right back in the stead of Wilkinson.
Another change then followed this, not long after the 70 minute mark. However, this time it was a like-for-like alteration; with James Vaughan replacing Ishmael Miller.
The visitors also changed their roster slightly, as Tom Cairney replaced Paul Taylor in the Blackburn midfield.
Both sides exchanged a series of passes throughout both midfield and defence, however it was Town who looked dangerous. Sean Scannell’s constant work up and down the right gave defender Adam Henley plenty to deal with.
Mark Hudson then saw a yellow card for a foul on goal-scorer Rhodes just inside the Town half – the battle had developed into a chess-like affair with both outdoing the other on a number of occasions.
Moments later Nahki Wells put the ball into the back of the Blackburn net to seemingly equalise, however the referee’s assistant denied the Terriers’ celebrations.
With the clock edging ever closer to the 90 minute mark, Town were throwing all they had at Rovers.
With numerous corners and chances coming thick and fast for the home side, it seemed only a matter of time before the second goal finally came.
This most certainly did, as Joe Lolley picked up a loose ball on the edge of the Blackburn area to then strike a half volley towards goal. This left ‘keeper Eastwood with no chance as the former Town Academy graduate saw the effort nestle in the bottom corner, despite being at full-stretch.
This measured strike was the youngster’s first goal at the John Smith’s Stadium and this would eventually earn his side a valued point.
Gary Bowyer, who replaced the midfielder with Josh King to give his side some offensive prowess, then took off Lee Williamson.
However this change made little difference as either side settled for a point come the final whistle.
The draw means Town are now six games unbeaten as they prepare for the final fixture in the Sky Bet Championship; an away trip to Blackpool.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Tommy Smith, Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Joe Wilkinson (Joe Lolley, 61); Oscar Gobern, Jacob Butterfield, Conor Coady, Sean Scannell; Nahki Wells, Ishmael Miller (James Vaughan, 77)
Joe Murphy, David Edgar, Jonathan Hogg, Murray Wallace, Harry Bunn