TOWN 0 FULHAM 2
Huddersfield Town lost by two goals to a travelling Fulham side who had to withstand wave after wave of Town attacks after being reduced to ten men.
Chris Powell’s side with be disappointed to see his side spurn a number of chances, however Kit Symons will be more than happy with the three points after a clean sheet looked far from safe throughout.
The first-half started in frantic fashion as Fulham advanced in possession of the ball towards Alex Smithies’ goal - this resulted in a corner for the visitors within a matter of moments.
Alex Kacaniklic stepped up to take the set piece and with one swing of his left foot, the ball was in the back of the net. Having seemingly taken a deflection off a body at the front post, the visitors were celebrating after two minutes.
Town then dusted themselves off and began about their business; applying more pressure as the first half progressed.
Fulham’s young ‘keeper Marcus Bettinelli kept the Terriers out, however his saves were rather unorthodox.
A low strike from Jacob Butterfield forced the stopper to make a routine save, though after parrying the ball back into a dangerous area, Town’s strikers could not pounce on the loose ball.
With the Cottagers pumping the ball long up to their tall striker Matt Smith, it was down to Chris Powell’s side to keep the ball on the floor and keep possession whilst moving further up the pitch.
Nahki Wells went down under the challenge of Michael Turner just outside Fulham’s penalty area, however the Bermudian striker’s appeals for a foul were waved away; as referee Richard Clark pointed to the corner flag.
The referee did pull one Fulham player up for foul play, after Tim Hoogland denied Miller a clear run towards goal. The tall midfielder received a yellow card on the stroke of half time – however this was the last action of the first 45-minutes.
Town then took to the pitch for the second half and immediately piled the pressure on Fulham.
Matt Smith received a yellow card for a late challenge on Joel Lynch close to Town’s area, and this would not be the only card shown during this hectic second period of play.
With the Terriers pushing for an equaliser, Fulham were then penned back which resulted in a number of Town corners in quick succession.
As a ball came in a flick-on fell to Ishmael Miller who turned and directed a shot towards goal. Shaun Hutchinson then handled this on the goal line, however the referee initially thought this was Cauley Woodrow.
After some confusion and a brief discussion with the fourth official, referee Richard Clark dismissed the guilty culprit and Nahki Wells stepped up to take his penalty.
With the pressure on both Bettinelli and Wells, it was the young ‘keeper who held his nerve, turning Wells’ spot kick away from danger.
Nikolay Bodurov was then called upon after Kit Symons was forced to make some alterations after being reduced to ten men. Sean Kavanagh was the man replaced; however the drama was far from over.
Town appealed for another penalty as Jack Grimmer’s arm seemingly touched the ball in his own area; Clark waved these appeals away and play resumed with Town still chasing a one goal deficit.
Soon after, Seko Fofana came on for Fulham’s goal scorer Alex Kacaniklic in the 67th minute, with Chris Powell yet to make a substitution.
The referee was then forced to make another pivotal decision, as Sean Scannell took a tumble in the Fulham area. Former Town loanee Jazz Richards’ challenge on the Town wide man was enough to merit another penalty after 70 minutes – which provided Wells with a chance to redeem himself.
This was not to be as the Bermudan striker’s second penalty struck the post to the delight of Marcus Bettinelli, who was booked for time wasting in the build up to the spot-kick.
The Huddersfield boss then made two changes, bringing Jonathan Hogg and Tommy Smith off for Joe Lolley and Radoslaw Majewski.
These alterations did give the Terriers some fresh legs, however Town were caught napping soon after as Fofana broke away. The substitute striker attempted to play in Matt Smith, but his ball was too far in front of the tall forward.
With ten minutes left to play including stoppage time, things were beginning to look desperate for Town as Jacob Butterfield tested Bettinelli on numerous occasions.
The tall ‘keeper managed to keep the majority of these efforts out, but the post was also there to help Fulham in the process.
A last throw of the dice from Powell saw Jake Charles make his senior debut for the Terriers in place of David Edgar; this change gave Town another attacking option as they pushed again for a crucial equaliser. Nevertheless, this was not to be.
Fulham’s final change saw Hugo Rodallega come off the bench to replace Woodrow. The fourth official’s board went up with six minutes showing, giving Town time to spare.
However, whilst pushing all but Alex Smithies forward, Seko Fofana latched onto a loose ball and drove towards the Town goalkeeper.
His first effort beat Smithies but did not beat the foot of the post. Luckily this effort bounced straight back to the advancing striker, who stuck his second attempt into the bottom corner.
Fulham climb to 20th after this win, which means Town find themselves in 18th place in the table on 44 points.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), David Edgar (Jake Charles, 86); Tommy Smith (Joe Lolley, 74), Jacob Butterfield, Conor Coady, Jonathan Hogg (Radoslaw Majewski, 74), Sean Scannell; Ishmael Miller, Nahki Wells
Joe Murphy, Murray Wallace, Jake Carroll, Oscar Gobern