Huddersfield Town took all three points in the final game before Christmas following a 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Goals either side of half-time from Christopher Schindler and Steve Mounié put Town into a 2-0 lead in the Sky Bet Championship encounter and held on for the win in the closing stages following Joe Worrall’s goal for the visitors.
Off the back of an unbeaten week on the road, Town Manager Danny Cowley made one change to the starting XI as the Terriers returned to the John Smith’s Stadium, with Steve Mounié recovering from illness to lead the line.
Full-back Jaden Brown also returned to the squad for the first time since suffering an ankle injury early in November, whilst Jonathan Hogg made his 200th league appearance for the Club.
Town’s one returnee Steve Mounié was on the end of the game’s first opportunity. The Benin international connected with Juninho Bacuna’s free-kick at the back post but couldn’t divert his effort goal-bound on the stretch.
The visitors had their own chances to take the lead in the opening 20 minutes too. Sammy Ameobi and Matty Cash both flashed efforts wide from their respective sides of the penalty area.
But it was Town that looked the more threatening and found the opener through an unlikely source on 32 minutes.
Trevoh Chalobah’s strike from a corner was blocked into the path of captain Christopher Schindler who superbly volleyed past Brice Samba into the top corner to give the Terriers the lead just after the half-hour mark.
Forest then had the chance to level instantly through Sammy Ameobi, but the winger’s low strike was drilled just wide of the far post after some tricky footwork.
A well-timed sliding block from Florent Hadergjonaj then helped to preserve Town’s clean sheet in added time as the Terriers went into the break with a narrow first-half lead.
After the interval, the Terriers capitalised on their solid defensive work and another set piece to double the advantage.
Steve Mounié leapt highest at the back post to nod home Karlan Grant’s corner from the left on 49 minutes to give Danny Cowley’s side the perfect start to the half.
It nearly got even better soon after as Juninho Bacuna powered forward before unleashing a strike along the ground that was stopped by Samba in the Forest goal.
The chances kept on coming midway through the second half as Karlan Grant fired inches wide of the far post after cutting inside from the left side of the penalty area.
Grant was then in the thick of the action moments later, seeing his fierce shot saved by Samba after it was cut back to him by Bacuna, before he sliced his rebound just wide of the top corner.
Having had to soak up most of the pressure after the break, the visitors made the most of their first real chance of the half to get back into the game. Joe Worrall connected with a corner from the right and headed past Kamil Grabara at the near post with just over 15 minutes left to play.
Former Town man Joe Lolley then tried his luck in search of a Forest equaliser with a whipped strike that Grabara beat away at the near post.
Town’s goalkeeper was then the hero again inside six minutes of stoppage time, getting down low to deny the unmarked Matty Cash’s header from point blank range.
It turned out to be the visitors’ last meaningful push for an equaliser as Town saw out the remainder of the added time to head into Christmas with all three points.
Next up for Town is a Boxing Day trip to the Riverside Stadium to face Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship on Thursday 26 December 2019; 3pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2)
Kamil Grabara; Florent Hadergjonaj, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Christopher Schindler (c), Danny Simpson; Juninho Bacuna (Jaden Brown, 87’), Jonathan Hogg, Trevoh Chalobah, Elias Kachunga (Josh Koroma, 78’); Karlan Grant, Steve Mounié
Joel Coleman, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Demeaco Duhaney, Matty Daly, Scott High
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (4-2-3-1)
Brice Samba; Chema, Joe Worrall, Tobias Figueiredo, Matty Cash; Ben Watson (Ryan Yates, 85’), Samba Sow (Alfa Semedo, 68’); Sammy Ameobi (João Carvalho, 76’), Tiago Silva, Joe Lolley; Lewis Grabban
Arijanet Muric, Jack Robinson, Michael Dawson, Albert Adomah