REPORT: TOWN 2-2 HULL CITYA late injury time goal from visitors Hull City denied Huddersfield Town all three points in an action-packed Yorkshire derby at the John Smith’s Stadium.
It looked like David Wagner’s side would beat one of the Sky Bet Championship’s top six teams for the first time during his tenure when Harry Bunn’s cross forced Harry Maguire to put past his own ‘keeper on the stroke of the 90th minute, but a late header from sub Adama Diomande ensured a share of the spoils.
In an attempt to change the team’s record against the division’s better sides, Wagner changed his game-plan, with Town sitting deeper than usual in an attempt to close down the attacking space available to the Tigers.
It ensured that, for the first time under Wagner, the Terriers conceded the majority of the possession to the away side, but the chances still came as Town broke effectively – largely through excellent home debutant Rajiv van La Parra.
Hull offered Town spaces down the flanks, with both wing backs in a 3-5-2 formation pushing high, and only a poor touch stopped Joe Lolley from exploiting one such gap inside the third minute.
On the flip side, the dangerous Ahmed Elmohamady showed his attacking potency on the Hull right by finding top scorer Abel Hernandez’s head with an early cross that the Uruguayan diverted straight at Jed Steer.
Both sides looked dangerous going forward, with Town offering as much threat as the promotion-chasing visitors.
Lolley dragged a shot wide from 20 yards after good work from van La Parra in the 21st minute before the impressive Emyr Huws held off the giant Mo Diame and fed Nahki Wells, who blasted wide on the angle.
Diame hit a snapshot high and wide from another Elmohamady cross as the half came to a close before Martin Cranie, restored to the line-up to make the 350th appearance of his career, twice cleared dangerous crosses from the other side from Robertson.
Then Town opened the scoring with five minutes of the half to go with a slick move. Huws found Husband in space on the left and he intelligently squared the ball to Jamie Paterson, who shuffled the ball onto his left foot before firing across goalkeeper McGregor and into the far corner. It was Jamie’s seventh goal for Town on his 200th career appearance.
Hull had a huge chance to equalise moments before the interval when a free kick played into the Town box was knocked back for former loanee Alex Bruce, but the centre back finished like a defender – firing high over the crossbar from barely six yards out.
Hull changed their shape for the second half, with an injury to skipper Michael Dawson leading to a change to a back four.
Former Leeds man Robert Snodgrass pulled a shot wide of the near post from out wide soon after, but then Town – and van La Parra – came to the fore.
First the recent capture drove inside and found Wells with a low pass into the area, with McGregor pushing the Bermudian’s first-time shot around the left-hand post.
The resulting corner was worked short to Paterson and he lifted a perfect cross onto the unmarked Huws’ head, but his unmarked effort from 10 yards out was too close to McGregor and allowed the custodian to tip the ball over.
Town still had to be alert at the other end and a slight deflection from Joe Lolley diverted Tom Huddlestone’s low drive onto the crossbar after the former England midfielder was offered too much space on the edge of the box.
Snodgrass sent a decently positioned free kick over the crossbar with 20 minutes left before van La Parra took the game to Hull once again, with the Dutchman driving inside Elmohamady and finding Wells again. This time, Huddlestone got back to make a vital tackle as Nahki looked to pull the trigger.
Bruce soon made a double change – and it almost immediately paid off. Sub Sone Aluko managed to squeeze a cross past Husband and Harry Bunn and it landed, via a deflection, at the feet of Hernandez, who gleefully smashed past Steer to make it 1-1.
Aluko curled over from a decent position inside the area as Hull chased the win that would have kept faint automatic promotion hopes alive, but instead it was Town who scored on the counter. Bunn – on for the tiring van La Parra – drove down the Town left and hit a forceful cross into the area that centre back Harry Maguire mistakenly headed home.
There were six minutes added at the end of the game, but it only took Hull three to net a second equaliser. Bruce had thrown his son Alex forward to add numbers inside the penalty area and a cross from the left hit Dean Whitehead and landed on the head of sub Diomande, who headed past Steer despite the goalkeeper’s best efforts.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; James Husband, Martin Cranie (Joel Lynch, 81), Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Emyr Huws, Dean Whitehead; Rajiv van La Parra (Harry Bunn, 72), Jamie Paterson, Joe Lolley (Sean Scannell, 66); Nahki Wells
Lloyd Allinson, Jason Davidson, Karim Matmour, Philip Billing
Dean Whitehead (12); Rajiv van La Parra (68); Emyr Huws (89)