Poor afternoon in the South West for the Terriers
Huddersfield Town suffered a disappointing afternoon at Bristol City, with the game practically out of sight after conceding four goals in the opening 45 minutes.
City scored after a dominant opening 10 minutes and, just when it looked like Karlan Grant’s 11th of the season had given the Terriers hope at 2-1, another concession followed.
It is only a second defeat in the last 11 games under Danny and Nicky Cowley’s positive reign as the management team, but they will have been troubled by the ease that City scored their goals in the bitterly cold conditions in the South West.
Town were dealt an early blow in the game, with in-form striker Fraizer Campbell hobbling off in the fourth minute after failing to run off an injury picked up when chasing a ball into the penalty area.
They had started the game with the same front three, but a changed team’ Hadergjonaj and Kongolo were in defence, with Jon Gorenc Stanković in holding midfield.
City dominated the early stages as the Terriers reshuffled, and soon opened the scoring when former Town man Jack Hunt squeezed a cross past Lewis O’Brien on the dead ball line, allowing skipper Josh Brownhill to fire a deflected effort past Grabara.
The hosts soon had the ball in the net again, but striker Famara Diedhiou’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Town finally got a foothold in the game on the quarter-hour, and ever-dangerous Grant was at the heart of the best moments. He mustered our first effort of the game, collecting a ball down the line from Terence Kongolo before taking a step infield and volleying towards goal from range, forcing goalkeeper Daniel Bentley to push the ball around the post.
Grant should have done better with a header five minutes later; he was picked out perfectly by the recalled Flo Hadergjonaj but placed his effort too close to the goalkeeper.
It was all-action at this point, with Grabara doing excellently to deny the dangerous Niclas Eliasson in the 22nd minute after he ghosted into space in the Town area. The Polish stopper got his angles right and was out to smother the shot excellently.
The Cowleys soon switched things around, moving Kongolo to left back, dropping Stanković to centre half and moving the energetic O’Brien into midfield.
Sadly, it was City who scored the next goal. A short corner was played to Eliasson, who skipped past Kachunga on the edge of the box and delivered a deflected touch that was almost impossible to defend, with the final touch at the back post possibly coming off a Town player.
Through that disappointment, Town earned a lifeline five minutes later. Cowley’s men kept the ball patiently in a move that must have spanned 20+ passes before Bacuna collected the ball and expertly picked out the run of Grant inside the area. Karlan span impressively to get inside centre back Ashley Williams before unleashing a deflected shot that beat Bentley to his left.
What happened next was crucial – and Town conceded the third inside a minute. It was another move down the left, with a one-two allowing Brownhill to escape Kongolo too easily. He pulled a great cross back to the penalty spot, where Eliasson headed past Grabara.
It was four by the interval. An Eliasson corner was cleared out of the area by Kachunga, but the Swede collected the ball and went past Kachunga before delivering another cross into the head of Williams, who made no mistake.
The goals continued to flow in the second half, with City netting a fifth four minutes in. Town lost possession and, in trying to cut out a through ball, Schindler inadvertently slowed it down for Andreas Weimann. The former Aston Villa man rounded the onrushing Grabara and did excellently to beat Hadergjonaj on the line from a narrow angle, firing a powerful shot home.
Town kept plugging away and scored a second in the 57th minute. Josh Koroma had come on for his second Sky Bet Championship appearance at the interval and had a hand in it, driving in from the left flank and poking the ball to Elias Kachunga. The German intelligently laid it off to Juninho Bacuna, who strode onto the ball before unleashing a piledriver past Bentley’s right side from 20 yards; his fifth of the campaign.
Unfortunately, Town couldn’t muster another genuine chance in the final half hour, despite having some good moments. In truth, the damage had already been done.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1)
Kamil Grabara; Lewis O’Brien, Terence Kongolo (Matty Daly, 76’), Christopher Schindler (c), Florent Hadergjonaj; Jon Gorenc Stanković, Jonathan Hogg; Karlan Grant, Juninho Bacuna, Elias Kachunga; Fraizer Campbell (Adama Diakhaby, 5’ (Josh Koroma, 46’))
Joel Coleman; Alex Pritchard, Steve Mounié, Kian Harratt
Lewis O’Brien (86’)