Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Match Reports


9 May 2018

Match Reports


9 May 2018

Sponsored by

Nerves were jangled, nails are no longer; but not one person associated with Huddersfield Town will care in the slightest, as in the end Premier League survival was achieved in the most dramatic of circumstances.

The Terriers withstood relentless Chelsea pressure throughout large quantities of the encounter, and it would take yet another enormous defensive effort to grind out that much-needed point. Laurent Depoitre sent the away fans crazy mid-way through the second-half, only for Marcos Alonso to equalise in the most fortuitous style. Jonas Lössl made a truly outstanding save late on to deny Christensen's looping header from dropping in at the far-post which went great lengths to confirming Town's status as a Premier League on the night without having to seal the deal on the final day against Arsenal.

In the search to replicate Sunday's battling performance against Manchester City, Town's starting XI witnessed 3 alterations, as Philip Billing, Rajiv van La Parra and Laurent Depoitre were called upon from the off in west London. Florent Hadergjonaj, Alex Pritchard and Steve Mounié dropped to the bench, on which there was a spot for the returning Tom Ince, who missed Sunday's stalemate through injury. In terms of milestones, Jonathan Hogg's selection meant that the midfielder would start his 150th Huddersfield Town appearance.

Wednesday evening's visit to the Bridge was the first League visit for over 46 years- and the 'Flash' kit wearing Terriers were backed by over 2,000 fans in perfect footballing conditions- the majority travelling to the game via the official coaches for just £1 courtesy of Town's Main Club sponsor, OPE Sports.

Antonio Conte's men still had an important issue of their own to settle; the prospect of Champions League football next term. In the usual 3-4-3 set-up, play shifted from left to right with purpose. Early chances certainly set the hearts racing, as firstly Alvaro Morata's header lacked efficient power to trouble Jonas Lössl, with Marcos Alonso trying his luck from the other flank which duly forced Town's Danish shot stopper to react smartly down low.

Chelsea were on a high after defeating European finalists Liverpool in the match played after Town's Manchester outing on Sunday, and the Blues had an edge to their play; Willian the next man to fire goalwards, but the Brazilian couldn't find the corner.
Willian looked to turn provider just minutes later. Laurent Depoitre's attempted clearance from a corner fell straight back to the winger, who in turn wickedly delivered the ball across the face of goal. Antonio Rudiger lurked at the far post, but the German defender wasn't able to stretch far enough to prod home.

In truth, the Fulham Road Club had flew out of the traps, seeking an early advantage. The linesman's flag on the far-side came to Town's rescue, as Rudiger once again lingered around the far-post aiming to bundle home. Although the former Stuttgart man somehow placed wide from a yard out, offside had been given due to a clever Town defensive line.

Despite the Blues' pressure, the Terrier work rate was continuing to be of an exceptional standard. Every second ball was challenged, the midfield duo of Kante and Fabregas were hunted at every opportunity, and the desire to chase and work the field position was giving the tremendous away following lots to get their teeth into.

Adding to that, the defensive effort in the first 25 minutes had shown major similarities of that from Sunday. And as the confidence grew, Laurent Depoitre raced away one-on-one with Christensen. The Belgian aimed to find chief support Philip Billing overlapping to the right, and as Lolo played the pass, Marcos Alonso timely recovered to cut it out and therefore bring to a halt a very promising opening.

Back came Chelsea. A tactic that Conte's outfit employed throughout the first-half was hitting the striker- in this case Morata- with an early cross from deep; Jonas Lössl was more than equal to the Spaniard's tame headers on multiple occasions as time ticked by.

Arguably the best chance of the encounter was fluffed by Morata. Rajiv van La Parra was muscled out of possession just yards inside the Town half, and slick interplay between Willian and Kante eventually set the former Real Madrid man on his way to goal.
With only Lössl to beat, having used a neat swivel to turn away from several Red shirted defenders, Morata took the ball round to the by-line but ultimately failed to squeeze in from a muchly narrowed angle- a huge let-off if ever there was one, with an offside not even being brought into question.

That action would be the last major play of the period to great relief of the raucous travelling support and of course David Wagner. Successive Premier League fixtures firmly poised at the interval whilst facing yet another of the elite Clubs; another huge 45 in store to hold out for outright safety.

Antonio Rudiger refused to shy away from making his presence felt at set-piece scenarios. The centre-half rose highest to meet Willian's right-sided free-kick, which fortunately sailed way over the bar.

Rudiger may not have taken his chance; but Laurent Depoitre did quite the opposite at the other end to send those in the small corner of Stamford Bridge into scenes of sheer delight.

The Belgian barnstormed his way through to latch onto Aaron Mooy's lofted through ball, and after a strong coming together with Chelsea 'keeper Willy Caballero, the ball fell kindly for Town's number 20 to coolly slot home into an empty net to hand his side a lead of priceless proportions- a first goal of 2018 for Lolo, with his last arriving in a pre-Christmas 1-1 draw at Southampton.

Town's lead would go on to be short-lived; albeit via a huge slice of fortune. Zanka's attempted clearance struck Marcos Alonso clean in the face, and the resulting rebound cannoned into the back of the net despite the best outstretched efforts of Jonas Lössl. Game well and truly on, and it was indeed a nail-biter as Chelsea's dominance began to unfold.

The Blues changed shape, and really began to thoroughly test out that defensive rearguard. Terence Kongolo heroically flung himself in between the arriving cavalry of Morata and Giroud to clear and ensure that neither front-man could tuck home from close range.

Terence's defensive companion Christopher Schindler followed suit to dive in-front of a powerful Eden Hazard effort, allowing substitute Florent Hadergjonaj to clear his lines once more.

Town would still always have a sniff of a chance on the break, as Chelsea pushed forward. Philip Billing rifled wide, ahead of Laurent Depoitre being pulled up for a questionable foul on Rudiger as the goal-scorer was adjudged to have unfairly beaten his marker whilst in the opposition penalty area.

Every single Huddersfield Town supporter would have been on the edge of their seats, and the minutes would have seemed like a lifetime no doubt. Willian flashed a pacey cross to the front-post, as Oliver Giroud made a quick dash.
The Frenchman, signed from Arsenal in January, missed by a whisker under pressure from Zanka.

If the heart rates hadn't been racing at that particular moment, then the hearts would have been beating out of the chest thanks to an almighty goal-mouth scramble.

Neither side could make a clean contact, and as Andreas Christensen eventually managed to force goal-wards, it took an astonishing Jonas Lössl hand to claw onto the post and deny his compatriot from giving the Blues the lead.

As the duration neared, the men in Red and Black were giving every ounce that they had in the tank. Six added on minutes didn't help the nerves, but Town's steely credentials just presided to see out the clash with that elusive point.

The anxiousness was finally put to rest, as Town held on to draw one apiece, sparking wild celebrations on full-time and most of all; ensuring that PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL WILL GRACE THE JOHN SMITH'S STADIUM NEXT SEASON.

TOWN (5-3-2): Jonas Lössl; Chris Löwe (Florent Hadergjonaj, 62'), Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Tommy Smith (c) (Scott Malone, 85'); Aaron Mooy, Jonathan Hogg, Philip Billing; Rajiv van La Parra (Alex Pritchard, 53'), Laurent Depoitre

UNUSED SUBS: Joel Coleman, Scott Malone, Collin Quaner, Tom Ince, Steve Mounié

CHELSEA (3-4-3): Willy Caballero; Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen,Cesar Azpilicueta; Marcos Alonso, NGolo Kante, Cesc Fabregas, Davide Zappacosta (Olivier Giroud, 55'); Pedro (Eden Hazard, 59'), Alvaro Morata, Willian

UNUSED SUBS: Eduardo, Gary Cahill, Victor Moses, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Ross Barkley,

REFEREE: Lee Mason


Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account