TOWN 1 LEEDS 2
Huddersfield Town suffer a defeat against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United because of a late Billy Sharp winner.
With emotions running high, the fixture was always going to get off to a frantic start and it was the visitors who struck first just moments after the kick-off.
This was despite Town having a chance after just 19 seconds when Jacob Butterfield almost caught out Marco Silvestri with a long-range effort.
It was Sam Byram who opened the scoring, although it may have come off Tonw’s Jack Robinson. A chipped ball beat both Hudson and Lynch and found a way through to Byram in behind the Town defence; the 21-year old only had to lift the ball over Joe Murphy to give his side the lead despite Robinson’s attentions.
Town fought back, but had to call upon Harry Bunn much earlier than expected as Nahki Wells limped off with an injury after just nine minutes.
As Town applied more pressure, a collection of corners followed as James Vaughan saw his strike blocked by Leeds’ captain, Liam Cooper.
However, the Leeds defence could not hold out for long, as Jacob Butterfield’s deep corner gave the Terriers the equaliser; Bunn managed to find a yard of space at the back post and guided his header past Marco Silvestri, drawing level on 25 minutes.
The referee was then called into action as the occasion turned into a typical derby day clash.
With a number of bookings coming in the later stages of the first-half – the first of which was given to Charlie Taylor for a cynical foul on Sean Scannell – the tie seemed destined to turn into an almighty battle.
Jacob Butterfield then levelled things up in the referee’s book, following a foul on goal-scorer Sam Byram.
Though, it was an altercation between Joel Lynch and Rodolph Austin that resulted in a booking for the pair, which really set the tone for the afternoon.
The second-half started with Leeds appealing for an early penalty after Sam Byram went down in the Huddersfield area. However, these appeals fell on deaf ears as Chris Foy awarded a corner.
Mirco Antenucci was introduced seconds before the hour mark as Alex Mowatt made his way to the bench.
Both sides then seemed to toy with the idea of firing that killer blow, however producing an end product seemed to be a difficult task for both outfits.
As the two advanced into opposition territory, clinical deliveries seemed to be at a premium – however Butterfield then laid the ball on a plate for his teammates.
A familiar jinxing run from the midfielder left the Leeds defence wide open, yet his ball across the face of goal totally evaded both sets of players.
Town came close shortly after as Harry Bunn had an almost identical opportunity to his goal with a header at the back post. Nevertheless, Leeds’ defenders somehow managed to turn the ball away from danger.
Another second-half change for Leeds followed Bunn’s chance, as Neil Redfearn replaced Lewis Cook with striker Billy Sharp.
The introduction of Sharp would prove significant only moments later as the clock ran ever closer to the 90-minute mark.
Although Antenucci’s first chance sailed high over Joe Murphy’s crossbar, the Italian frontman made no mistake with his chance to turn provider.
A pin-point cross to the far post for Billy Sharp gave Leeds a late goal and all three points.
Chris Powell was again forced to make a change in the dying embers of the game, as Tommy Smith had to be stretchered off the pitch following a clash in the scramble of Sharp’s late strike. Smith was subsequently airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance from the John Smith’s Stadium pitch after the final whistle.
Joe Lolley was brought on for Smith as Town tried everything to clinch a late equaliser.
Still, despite the best efforts of the Terriers, it was United who left the John Smith’s Stadium with the bragging rights and more importantly all three points.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Joe Murphy; Joel Lynch (Murray Wallace, 88’), Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith (Joe Lolley, 90’); Jack Robinson, Jacob Butterfield, David Edgar, Conor Coady, Sean Scannell; Nahki Wells (Harry Bunn, 9’), James Vaughan
Lloyd Allinson, Paul Dixon, Oscar Gobern, Radoslaw Majewski