Huddersfield Town’s recent unbeaten run came to an end at seven games following a 3-1 defeat at high-flying Preston North End.
Juninho Bacuna pulled a goal back late on for the Terriers, but it wasn’t enough as Town suffered their first Sky Bet Championship defeat since September at Deepdale.
October’s Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month Danny Cowley made three changes to the starting XI that won 1-0 away at Brentford last week.
Terence Kongolo made a timely return from injury, replacing Jaden Brown who picked up a knock in last Saturday’s victory at Griffin Park. Trevoh Chalobah and Adama Diakhaby were also named in the XI in place of the suspended Jonathan Hogg, and Fraizer Campbell.
Following a rendition of The Last Post 24 hours before Remembrance Day, the game got under way with Town kicking towards the Alan Kelly Sand in the first half at Deepdale.
The hosts had come into the encounter with a strong run of form behind them, losing just once in the last 12 games.
They looked to improve on that early on when Paul Gallagher stepped up to a free-kick 25 yards out, with his initial effort striking the post before Jayden Stockley headed in the rebound to give Preston a fourth minute lead.
But Danny Cowley’s side were looking to stretch Town’s unbeaten record to eight matches. The Terriers set out to respond immediately through Lewis O’Brien, who saw his shot from the edge of the area blocked on the his 50th career league start.
Town were then forced into an early change. Tommy Elphick was forced off after picking up a knock under a heavy challenge, with Jon Gorenc Stanković replacing him with just over 20 minutes played in Lancashire.
The game’s next chance came on 34 minutes, and it was the hosts who took it to double their first half advantage. Alan Browne was on hand at the back post to divert Thomas Barkhuizen cross from the right past Kamil Grabara in the Town goal.
It was Barkhuizen who was right at the centre of the action at the start of the second half too. This time, his cross struck the hand of Terence Kongolo inside the box with Paul Gallagher stepping up to smash home a Preston third.
Town were on the back foot following the penalty but were able to break out after a good interception by Lewis O’Brien. He played in Karlan Grant who held off the pursuing defender but could only drag his left-footed strike wide of the target.
The hosts pushed in search of a fourth on the 70th minute mark, as Jayden Stockley headed goal-wards, but Jon Gorenc Stanković did just about enough to put him off and ensure that the score remained at 3-0.
It didn’t stay like that for long however as Juninho Bacuna handed Town a lifeline on 74 minutes. Bacca drove forward, having been moved to right-back, before slotting past Declan Rudd in the Preston goal from the edge of the box.
The goal appeared to have energised Town, as did the introduction of Alex Pritchard from the bench. The midfielder latched onto Terence Kongolo’s cross from the left, nodding it goal-bound only for a well-timed block by a Preston defender diverting it behind for a corner.
Pritch continued to spearhead Town’s attacking efforts, seeing a driven effort blocked before Juninho Bacuna hit the side-netting following a driving run from the resulting corner.
For all of Town’s efforts, it was the hosts who saw out the remainder of the game, including the five minutes of added time, to take all three points and halt Town’s unbeaten run at seven games.
Next up for the Terriers is the visit of Birmingham City to the John Smith’s Stadium for a Sky Bet Championship clash after the international break, on Saturday 23 November 2019; 3pm kick-off.
PRESTON NORTH END (4-2-3-1)
Declan Rudd; Joe Rafferty, Ben Davies, Patrick Bauer, Darnell Fisher; Paul Gallagher (c) (Brad Potts, 72’), Ryan Ledson, Sean Maguire, Alan Browne; Thomas Barkhuizen, Jayden Stockley (David Nugent, 76’)
Connor Ripley, Tom Bayliss, Jordan Storey, Josh Ginnelly, Billy Bodin
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3)
Kamil Grabara; Terence Kongolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Tommy Elphick (Jon Gorenc Stanković, 21’), Danny Simpson (Alex Pritchard, 65’); Lewis O’Brien, Trevoh Chalobah, Juninho Bacuna; Elias Kachunga, Karlan Grant, Adama Diakhaby (Steve Mounié, 60’)
Ryan Schofield, Josh Koroma, Florent Hadergjonaj, Kian Harratt
16,038 (3,213 Town)