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Match Reports

MATCH REPORT: TOWN 2-1 ROTHERHAM UNITED

23 August 2017

Second-half goals from Philip Billing (pen) and Joe Lolley saw Huddersfield Town book it's place in Thursday morning's Carabao Cup third-round draw after coming from behind to defeat fellow Yorkshire side, Rotherham United 2-1.

Head Coach David Wagner made wholesale changes from the team that started Sunday's Premier League victory against Newcastle United; 10 in total, which in turn saw Scott Malone, Laurent Depoitre and youngster Jordan Williams make their respective competitive debuts in-front of the John Smith's Stadium faithful.

The tie wouldn't begin on the best of terms, however, as Paul Warne's Millers grabbed the lead inside two minutes in the form of central defender Semi Ajayi. Anthony Forde's whipped delivery from the left wasn't dealt with effectively by Town's high defensive line, and the former Cardiff man muscled his way forward to nip in ahead of Joel Coleman to head home the opener.

Town responded positively; Kasey Palmer registered the first Terrier shot on target of the evening after firing straight into the palms of visiting 'keeper Richard O'Donnell following a neat one-two on the edge of the area.

Laurent Depoitre was granted his first start leading the line for the Blue and Whites, and the Belgian's delicate through ball was inches from reaching an advancing Collin Quaner until a crucial clearance from a Millers defender intervened.

Town probed further, this time with the energetic Joe Lolley swinging a deep cross to the far post which only saw Michael Hefele's header easily taken into the grasp of O'Donnell.

That man Depoitre continued to use his physical presence up top, this time seeing an effort deflected agonisingly wide after the combination of Joe Lolley and Scott Malone on the left flank had used quick passing and movement to open up a considerable amount of space for an attempt at goal.

Hefele would be again involved in a set-piece scenario, as the German forced the Rotherham defence to hastily hook away from danger following compatriot Collin Quaner's far post knock-down.

Nonetheless, the Millers proved to be a distinctly organised unit, with Town rarely creating clear-cut chances where it would play directly through the League One visitor.

Rotherham's summer signing from Fleetwood, striker David Ball, caught the home defence napping from a quick free-kick, but the linesman's flag on the far-side spared any HTAFC blushes which could've seen the away side's lead doubled.

Depoitre had persistently aimed to position himself in dangerous positions, and when a major opportunity arrived, the big man couldn't capitalise on goal-scorer Ajayi's loose back-pass to ultimately draw Town level.

In truth, Town could've gone in at the break all square. One of Sunday's many impressive performers Christopher Schindler, Skipper for the evening with Tommy Smith on the bench, glanced Joe Lolley's corner just millimetres wide of the far stick after gaining a yard or two on his marker.

The second period would begin in a frantic fashion as Joel Coleman had to be sharp off his line to meet an on-rushing David Ball who had latched onto another risky back-pass.

Kasey Palmer outlined the home side's intentions of ensuring it secured a third-round berth; the Chelsea loanee showed a quick burst of pace to drive at Ajayi, before a loose clearance found it's way back to the attacking midfielder, but he couldn't keep his driven effort on target.

Early pressure in the half eventually told, as referee Peter Bankes pointed to the spot after Laurent Depoitre had his shirt pulled when trying to reach a deep Kasey Palmer delivery from the left. Philip Billing, a substitute for Schindler at the interval, duly despatched the spot-kick to even the scores.

Joe Lolley would nudge Town ahead just moments later. Neat-build up between himself and the lively Kasey Palmer resulted in Joe using a comfortable amount of space to a deadly effect by coolly rolling home a second; a lead that the Club wouldn't relinquish, albeit thanks to some superb goal-keeping from Joel Coleman.

Coleman would be called into action just after the hour as pacey winger Jon Taylor excelled down the Rotherham left. The ex-Peterborough player squared a teasing ball across the face of goal which Millers substitute Kieffer Moore would slide onto. Remarkably, Town's shot stopper showed some exceptional reactions low down on the line to claw away what looked to be a definite equaliser.

Paul Warne had thrown on another striker in the shape of Jonson Clarke-Harris who would instantly work some space in the area but proved to be wasteful as a left-footed volley soared harmlessly over into the travelling support.

Danny Williams came to the rescue as Michael Hefele's short pass saw Clarke-Harris through for a glorious opportunity, but the American timed his sliding tackle to perfection, keeping Town's lead in-tact.

Rotherham thought it had an equaliser in the dying minutes after heading home from a free-kick, but the referee's whistle came as music to Town ears following a collision which saw fan favourite Hefele on the deck.

Town would see the game out with it's usual composure, but Clarke-Harris would miss a crucial chance towards the end. Joel Coleman parried Kieffer Moore's powerful effort straight into the path of the striker, but he crucially wouldn't sort out his feet to muster a threatening shot on target which blew any chance of a late equaliser for Paul Warne and his valiant Millers outfit.

TOWN'S LINE-UP:
Joel Coleman; Scott Malone, Christopher Schindler (c) (Philip Billing, 45'), Michael Hefele, Jordan Williams; Danny Williams, Dean Whitehead; Joe Lolley (Tom Ince, 81'), Kasey Palmer (Elias Kachunga, 74'), Collin Quaner; Laurent Depoitre

UNUSED SUBS:
Jonas Lössl, Tommy Smith, Steve Mounié, Mathias Zanka


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