Huddersfield Town were left empty handed under the lights at the John Smith’s Stadium following a 2-1 defeat to Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship.
Karlan Grant did get Town level in the second-half with his third league goal in three games after Aleksandar Mitrović had put Fulham ahead, but it was Ivan Cavaleiro’s curling effort in the closing stages that was enough to secure the win for the visitors.
Huddersfield Town Head Coach Jan Siewert made one change to the side that started Town’s game at QPR just under a week ago, with Elias Kachunga replacing Adama Diakhaby for the Terriers.
Heavy rain in West Yorkshire had been prominent throughout the day prior to the Friday night kick-off between two sides that faced each other in the Premier League last season.
Town’s spirits weren’t dampened early on however, with only Steven Sessegnon’s block stopping home debutant Lewis O’Brien’s shot after the ball fell to him in space inside the penalty area.
Alex Pritchard had also found himself with a lot of room out on the left in the opening exchanges with his best chance coming with a 20-yard driven shot that found the side-netting of the Fulham goal.
The visitors came back with a chance of their own soon after. After good work on the right, Anthony Knockaert whipped a low cross in that found the feet of fellow loan signing Ivan Cavaleiro who curled his effort wide of the far post.
The Town fans were making their presence known inside the John Smith’s Stadium too. They were on their feet to applaud a superb ball-winning challenge from Terence Kongolo that set Alex Pritchard away and drew the foul from Fulham’s Steven Sessegnon, resulting in a yellow card for the defender.
After the early-game rain, the sun made a brief appearance as Ivan Cavaleiro manoeuvred his way into the Town box before seeing his effort comfortably gathered by Town ‘keeper by Kamil Grabara.
On the game’s official matchday programme stood Jonathan Hogg accompanied with the words ‘The General’ and the Town midfielder was certainly living up to that nickname on the pitch, calmly intercepting a developing Fulham attack to help keep the scores deadlocked on 22 minutes.
Scott Parker’s side continued to attempt to develop attacks from wide areas and nearly found the opener less than five minutes before the break, but Joe Bryan’s powerful effort was superbly parried to safety by Kamil Grabara.
That kept the scores level going into the break and it was Christopher Schindler who had to do the same less than two minutes after the interval. Town’s skipper put in a well-timed sliding challenge to block Aleksandar Mitrović’s attempt before the Serbian striker fired the rebound over.
Grabara was then in the thick of the action again just moments later, sticking out his right leg to keep out Anthony Knockaert’s low goal-bound effort.
The pressure continued to build and it eventually told as the visitors got their goal on 51 minutes. Juninho Bacuna’s miscued clearance from the right side of the penalty area flew across the box as Aleksandar Mitrović - poised at the back post - towered over the defender and headed the ball into the back of the net to put Fulham in the ascendancy.
That lead lasted less than six minutes however, as Karlan Grant nodded Town level to the delight of the Town fans inside the John Smith’s Stadium.
The forward connected with Florent Hadergjonaj’s cross from the right and despite Marcus Bettinelli’s best efforts in the Fulham goal, the ball was adjudged to have crossed the line meaning Grant made it three goals in successive league games.
Down the other end, Kamil Grabara displayed a strong left hand to keep out Steven Sessegnon’s shot that looked to be creeping inside the near post.
Aleksandar Mitrović’s presence at the back post was causing problems for Town however and with just 10 minutes to go, he took down a cross that would ultimately see the visitors restore their lead.
After gaining control of the ball, the forward found Tom Cairney who rolled it to Ivan Cavaleiro as the winger bent one into the far top corner to put Fulham 2-1 up.
Looking to hit back immediately for the second time in the game, Town made a double change with both Steve Mounié and Rajiv van La Parra entering the fray in place of Elias Kachunga and Alex Pritchard.
Five minutes of time was added on at the end of the 90 minutes as Town looked to salvage a point, but the visitors held firm to claim all three points in the Friday night encounter at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Next up for Town is a midweek trip to the Welsh Capital to face Cardiff City on Wednesday 21 August 2019 in the Sky Bet Championship; 7.45pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3)
Kamil Grabara; Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Tommy Elphick, Florent Hadergjonaj, Lewis O’Brien, Jonathan Hogg, Juninho Bacuna (Trevoh Chalobah, 54’); Alex Pritchard (Rajiv van La Parra, 84’), Karlan Grant, Elias Kachunga (Steve Mounié, 83’)
Ryan Schofield, Adama Diakhaby, Herbert Bockhorn, Collin Quaner
Marcus Bettinelli; Joe Bryan, Tim Ream, Alfie Mawson, Steven Sessegnon; Stefan Johansen (Bobby Decordova-Reid, 76’), Harry Arter, Tom Cairney (c); Ivan Cavaleiro (Harrison Reed, 84’), Aleksandar Mitrović, Anthony Knockaert (Maxime Le Marchand, 90+2’)
Marek Rodák, Kevin McDonald, Cyrus Christie, Aboubakar Kamara
20,775 (610 Fulham)