Huddersfield Town made it six games unbeaten in the Sky Bet Championship following a 2-1 derby day win over Barnsley at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Goals either side of half-time from skipper Christopher Schindler and Karlan Grant had given the Terriers a two-goal advantage before Jacob Brown pulled one back late on for the visitors, but Town held on to secure all three points on a chilly afternoon in West Yorkshire.
Danny Cowley made three changes to the side that started in the midweek draw with Middlesbrough; the first came in goal as Kamil Grabara returned to replace Ryan Schofield.
Juninho Bacuna was rewarded for his recent impact performances off the bench with a first start under the Cowleys. Forward Fraizer Campbell also returned from the start at the expense of Adama Diakhaby.
With the fixture being Town’s Remembrance Game, the John Smith’s Stadium was united to the sound of The Last Post being echoed around the John Smith’s Stadium prior to the first meeting between the two sides since February 2017.
It was the visitors who got off to the stronger start, with Dimitri Cavaré registering the first attempt on goal for the travelling Tykes, which was charged down by a good sliding block from Jaden Brown.
Town had pressed the visitors well in the early exchanges but had to wait 17 minutes for a first opening. In what had been a physical encounter so far, Fraizer Campbell was judged to have been brought down just outside the box by referee James Linington but Karlan Grant’s effort from the resulting free-kick was blocked by the wall.
The South Yorkshire side continued to edge the first 20 minutes however, and nearly found the breakthrough after Cauley Woodrow flicked Cameron McGeehan’s volley goal-bound, with the effort rolling just wide of the far post.
It was a let off for the Terriers, but Danny Cowley’s side instantly attempted to get on to the front foot and had a penalty shout turned down after Fraizer Campbell went down under a challenge inside the box.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Town were on the front foot both in the game and on the scoreboard after Christopher Schindler put Town 1-0 up.
Karlan Grant did excellently to get to the by-line on the right side of the box before firing an inviting low ball across the face of goal that Town’s skipper was on hand to tap into an open net at the back post.
Straight from the resulting kick-off, the Tykes worked a neat move and probably should have been instantly level, but Cameron McGeehan couldn’t keep his effort down, firing over Kamil Grabara’s crossbar.
Following the flurry of chances, the encounter settled and continued to follow the makings of a traditional derby game, with physical challenges all over the pitch as the two sides attempted to assert their dominance on the fixture.
Town continued to do that well, keeping opportunities for the visitors to a minimum in the closing stages of the half, to go into the break with the lead at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Following the restart, it was Town who took the game straight to the visitors in the hope of stretching the lead early in the half. Lewis O’Brien was calculated in delaying his strike, putting the defender off balance before his goal-bound shot was eventually blocked.
The Terriers were denied a second on that occasion but got their goal after another good move on 53 minutes. Lewis O’Brien found Karlan Grant just inside the box, who set himself before curling past Brad Collins in the Barnsley net for his eighth goal of the season.
Town had their tails up having doubled the lead and went close to a third on the break soon after. Lewis O’Brien beat the offside trap perfectly and drove forward before cutting the ball back to Karlan Grant who saw his first-time effort parried to Elias Kachunga who fired over.
Kache said that Town needed to fight and give everything to combat a resilient Barnsley side during the week, and they were showing consistent evidence of that as the game went on.
This time, Jonathan Hogg won the ball high up the pitch, sliding in Karlan Grant who picked out Kachunga on the edge of the area, but Town’s number 9 couldn’t keep his low shot on target, dragging wide of the goal.
For all of Town’s efforts to put an end to the encounter, it was Barnsley who got the game’s third goal. Following a scramble inside the area, Jacob Brown worked some space before firing past Kamil Grabara to get the visitors back into the game with just over 10 minutes left to play.
Conceding at one end didn’t deter Danny Cowley’s side from pushing for that all-important third goal as Adama Diakhaby blazed over on the volley.
Barnsley ‘keeper Brad Collins had continued to play a ‘sweeper’ role for the visitors all afternoon and found himself high up the pitch when his miscued clearance fell straight into the path of Lewis O’Brien who couldn’t capitalise on the open goal from long range, slicing his attempt wide of the goal.
Danny Cowley talked about the performances of the Terriers’ young players in recent weeks and one of them, Lewis O’Brien had impressed again in this one and showed his strength to win a throw in on the halfway line that ultimately saw out the last of the added on six minutes.
The whistle was blown soon after with the Terriers holding on for the three points and the derby day spoils at the John Smith’s Stadium to stretch the unbeaten run to six matches.
Next up for Town is a trip to Griffin Park to face Brentford in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday 2 November 2019; 3pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3)
Kamil Grabara; Jaden Brown, Christopher Schindler (c), Tommy Elphick, Danny Simpson; Lewis O’Brien, Jonathan Hogg, Juninho Bacuna (Trevoh Chalobah, 67’); Karlan Grant, Fraizer Campbell (Adama Diakhaby, 68’), Elias Kachunga
Ryan Schofield, Alex Pritchard, Steve Mounié, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Florent Hadergjonaj
Brad Collins; Toby Sibbick, Mads Andersen, Bambo Diaby; Kenny Dougall Alex Mowatt (c), Cameron McGeehan (Mallik Wilks, 57’), Jacob Brown, Dimitri Cavaré (Luke Thomas, 75’); Conor Chaplin, Cauley Woodrow
Jack Walton, Ben Williams, Mike Bähre, Clarke Oduor, Elliot Simoes