Chris reviews the goalless draw at Brighton
Chris Powell thought tonight’s draw at Brighton & Hove Albion was a fair reflection of the evening's game.
Brighton dominated possession for large swathes of the game and had more shots over the course of the 90 minutes, but Town arguably had the better chances of the evening – with two falling to top scorer Nahki Wells in the final 10 minutes.
“We went attacking with two strikers, but in the first-half we never really got to grips with them and we had to sort ourselves out. We still had attacks through Ishmael (Miller), but it wasn’t really us,” Chris told htafc.com.
“I thought in the second-half, we got our shape right. Teixeira floats between the lines and I thought we nullified him a bit better in the second period, as well as generally ‘locking on’ a bit more in the midfield area.
“We asked the strikers to help out with that. With the balance in our side, we asked Nahki and Ishmael to drop deeper and they did that to good effect. Nahki did well in the transition, nicking a few balls to get us attacking on the front foot.
“We limited them; technically Alex Smithies didn’t have a save to make! We also had the chances, which I told them would come at half-time once we sorted things out.
“Obviously we hit the post and hit another straight at (David Stockdale). We looked like the team in the ascendancy, but Brighton still kept plugging away. I felt we looked stronger as the game went on and there were chances for us. There was no need for me to make changes as the players were doing exactly what I asked, especially in the second period.
“On the balance of play, maybe a point apiece was right – although we could have possibly nicked it. We came with a game-plan today; at times it worked and at others it didn’t. Sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth. We did have spells, but maybe the extra day’s rest Brighton had helped them.”
After keeping a second successive clean sheet for only the second time this season, Chris was full of praise for his defenders:
“Joel Lynch and Mark Hudson have both been very good for us in the last four games. Tommy Smith dealt with Carayol and LuaLua tonight too; he’s really grown into the role. Defensively we looked ok, with some really good interceptions, brave blocks and last ditch headers from the defenders and midfielders. They all put in a top effort this evening; I couldn’t ask for any more, apart from a winner!”
The point at the AMEX mathematically guarantees Huddersfield Town’s place in the Championship for the 2015/16 campaign; something Chris passed comment on:
“Every football manager worries about results, because that’s what we’re judged on – just like strikers are judged on goals. We need wins and points and I wanted us to win tonight, which is why we went with two strikers.
“I want this Club to top what it has done in previous seasons. We got 53 points last year and I feel we can beat that, but I’d love us to beat the 58 from 2012/13 by getting past 60. That’s something to achieve.
“We want to finish unbeaten after two draws and two wins, which brought us eight crucial points in our season. We still have nine to play for and we’ll do our best to get them. It’s good, because it keeps the season going; there’s no ‘switching off’ in terms of mentality. I think you could see they haven’t from their efforts tonight.”
Development Squad players Philip Billing and Joe Wilkinson were the 19th and 20th players with the Town squad at the AMEX on the evening.
Chris continued: “Obviously we lost James Vaughan with injury and we had one or two others carrying knocks, so I didn’t want to be caught short such a long way from home. I made sure we had two of the lads from the Under-21 game on Monday.
“Philip Billing has got time on his side. He scored an absolute wonder-goal on Monday and he can do that quite regularly, so it was nice to get those boys involved to see how we prepare. They are young men and hopefully they’ll have good careers in the game.”
With three games left and Town’s Championship status confirmed, Chris was asked if the youngsters from Frankie Bunn’s Development Squad will get time in First Team games:
He explained: “I want us to finish as high as we can and keep the momentum we have at the moment. I want us to win every game.
“It’s important that when you do start a young player, it is in the right environment and setting for them so they can express themselves under little pressure. We have two home games coming up that are important to us and then the final day at Blackpool, so we’ll have to see what happens. I’ll do my best to include one or two of them if I can.”
On James Vaughan, who missed the game with a jarred knee, Powell noted:
“It was too quick a turnaround for him to be involved tonight after he got a knock. We’ll see if it settles down so he can hopefully be involved on Saturday.”
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