Huddersfield Town suffered a first home defeat since September following a 2-0 loss to Leeds United at the John Smith’s Stadium
Second half goals from Ezgjan Alioski and Pablo Hernández were enough for the visitors to claim all three Sky Bet Championship points in the first West Yorkshire derby of the season.
Town Manager Danny Cowley made three changes to the starting XI that suffered defeat at Bristol City last weekend, with Demeaco Duhaney and Josh Koroma coming in for their first career Sky Bet Championship starts.
Duhaney was one of four players recalled from being out on loan this week, with Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Scott High and Ben Jackson the other three. They were all named on the bench whilst Steve Mounié was the third change, coming in for his first start of the campaign.
It was the Benin international Mounié who manufactured the first opportunity of the derby just two minutes in. Danny Cowley’s side started on the front foot and after Mounié was fouled, Karlan Grant’s 25-yard free-kick had to be blocked by the Leeds wall.
The John Smith’s Stadium hadn’t seen a West Yorkshire derby since February 2017 but was certainly making up for it with the noise inside the ground early on.
The Town fans nearly had something to shout even louder about in the opening 20 minutes, but two Mounié headers inside the box were stopped by Leeds ‘keeper Kiko Casilla.
Having come into the game off the back of an eight-match unbeaten run, the visitors were creating their own opportunities down the other end too. A smartly worked corner routine resulted Mateusz Klich’s first-time effort striking the post.
Steve Mounié was continuing to cause Leeds problems higher up the pitch and nearly engineered an opening for Town once again. He beat Casilla to a high ball, finding Karlan Grant who fired at goal, but his effort was glanced over the bar by a covering defender.
In his match day programme notes Danny Cowley insisted that determined to make sure Town never come up short in work ethic or fight on the pitch and his players were certainly working towards that in the closing stages of the first half.
Elias Kachunga battled well to win a free-kick inside the Leeds half but Karlan Grant’s ball just evaded Jon Gorenc Stanković at the back post, as the two sides went into the break deadlocked following an impressive half from the Terriers.
Town picked up where they left off after the interval as Josh Koroma continued to make an impact on his first Sky Bet Championship start, he neatly tricked his way past several Leeds defenders getting the crowd on their feet in the early minutes of the half.
For all of Town’s work to find the opener, it was the visitors who dealt the first blow at the John Smith’s Stadium. A corner from the right was cleared to Ezgjan Alioski on the edge of the box who volleyed past Kamil Grabara to open the scoring.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side looked to seize the momentum that the goal had brought in search of a quickfire second. Patrick Bamford headed off target moments before Pablo Hernández cut inside from the left and curled his effort just wide of the far post.
Bamford was again involved soon after, forcing Kamil Grabara into a good save to prevent his header stretching Leeds’ advantage before it was the turn of Kiko Casilla down the other end to deny a Elias Kachunga header after some good work on the left from Josh Koroma.
Another Alioski volley nearly doubled the visitors’ lead on 70 minutes, as it found Hélder Costa unmarked in the centre of the box, but the winger miscued his effort on the stretch.
In search of an equaliser, Danny Cowley brought on 17-year-old forward and Town Academy product Kian Harratt for his Huddersfield Town debut after 72 minutes.
But a swift counter-attack soon after brought a second goal of the afternoon for Leeds. Jack Harrison’s cross from the left found Pablo Hernández at the back post who finished to make it 2-0 with just over 10 minutes left to play.
As they had been doing all afternoon, Town continued to push for that elusive goal, with a view to getting back into the encounter. With time ticking away, Karlan Grant and substitute Matty Daly had efforts go agonisingly wide of the target.
Referee Gavin Ward blew the full-time whistle soon after with the visitors holding out to take all three points from the West Yorkshire derby at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Next up for Town is a trip to the Valley to face Charlton Athletic in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday 10 December 2019; 7.45pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1)
Kamil Grabara; Florent Hadergjonaj, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Christopher Schindler (c), Demeaco Duhaney; Jonathan Hogg, Juninho Bacuna; Josh Koroma (Kian Harratt, 72’), Karlan Grant, Elias Kachunga; Steve Mounié (Matty Daly, 82’)
Joel Coleman; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Scott High, Josh Austerfield, Ben Jackson
LEEDS UNITED (4-1-4-1)
Kiko Casilla; Ezgjan Alioski, Gaetano Berardi, Luke Ayling (c), Stuart Dallas; Ben White; Jack Harrison, Mateusz Klich (Oliver Casey, 84’), Pablo Hernández, Hélder Costa (Barry Douglas, 86’); Patrick Bamford (Eddie Nketiah, 76’)
Kamil Miazek, Bryce Hosannah, Robbie Gotts, Jack Clarke