Huddersfield Town recorded a first home victory of the calendar year following a 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Two goals in four second-half minutes from Elias Kachunga and Steve Mounié was enough for the Terriers who claimed all three Sky Bet Championship points and a second successive home clean sheet, following a confident performance on home soil.
Town goalkeeper Jonas Lössl was named in the starting XI on his return to West Yorkshire following his deadline day loan move from Everton.
Danny Simpson and Jonathan Hogg also came into the side from last weekend’s defeat at Fulham; replacing Trevoh Chalobah, and Karlan Grant who was ruled out with a knock.
There was a poignant atmosphere at the John Smith’s Stadium prior to the game, with a minute’s silence to mark the recent passing of Town Academy graduate Jordan Sinnott. The ground was also on its feet for an applause on the 25th minute of the match.
The game’s first chance went the way of the visitors and to Jordan Hugill. The QPR forward latched onto Eberechi Eze’s floated ball over the defensive line but could only direct his shot into the side netting.
Town had started the game in a lively manner, pressing the visitors high from the off. The early tempo nearly had its reward on 16 minutes after the ball broke to Harry Toffolo, but his flashed effort sailed over the bar.
Emile Smith Rowe was named the Quest EFL Player of the Weekend having bagged his first goal and assist for the Club in the defeat at Fulham last time out and he looked in the mood again off the back of that, against this week’s West London opposition.
His driving run from midfield caused problems for the visitors’ defence, as he skipped past multiple challenges, only for a well-timed last-ditch tackle.
Chances were continuing to be carved out at both ends. Jonas Lössl did well to tip over Luke Amos’ swirling effort, before Grant Hall hit the post from the resulting corner. Down the other end, Steve Mounié connected with Juninho Bacuna’s cross from the left but his effort was stopped by QPR ‘keeper Liam Kelly.
For all the chances in the closing stages of the half, the deadlock remained at the break. The second half then picked up where the first had left off, with Town attempting to seize the momentum early.
Mounié’s aerial ability was on display once again, as he knocked the ball into the path of Richard Stearman who saw his effort on the half-volley gathered by Kelly.
Town’s persistence continued and this time it was the aerial presence of Elias Kachunga that was on hand to give the Terriers a 57th minute lead.
The winger headed home Toffolo’s cross and Huddersfield Town’s 6,000th league goal after good work from the full-back down the left side of the penalty area.
Having scored the opener, he turned provider, winning a penalty after being brought down in the box. Mounié stepped up and placed the past Kelly to double Town’s advantage with his sixth goal in nine games.
Kachunga couldn’t keep himself out of the action and nearly had Town’s third whilst he was at it. A corner from the right found an unmarked Bacuna who found the winger, but he couldn’t work enough room to squeeze it past Kelly diving at his feet.
Danny Cowley’s side were playing with more and more confidence as the minutes ticked by. Substitute Andy King embraced that confidence immediately and nearly got himself on the scoresheet, only for an outstretched stop from Kelly, to tip his effort round the post.
Moments later, King swept Kachunga’s pass just wide of the target before Toffolo bombed down the left once again but miscued his attempt as the game moved into the four minutes of added time.
The Terriers looked comfortable in seeing the game out to record a first home win of the calendar year and back-to-back clean sheets at the John Smith’s Stadium
Next up for Town is a second of two successive home Sky Bet Championship games at the John Smith’s Stadium, with Cardiff City the visitors to West Yorkshire on Wednesday 12 February 2020; 7.45pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1)
Jonas Lössl; Harry Toffolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Richard Stearman, Danny Simpson; Lewis O’Brien, Jonathan Hogg; Juninho Bacuna (Andy King, 74’), Emile Smith Rowe, Elias Kachunga (Chris Willock, 89’); Steve Mounié (Fraizer Campbell, 71’)
Joel Coleman, Trevoh Chalobah, Rekeil Pyke, Jon Gorenc Stanković
QUEENS PARK RANGERS (4-2-3-1)
Liam Kelly; Lee Wallace, Conor Masterson, Grant Hall (c), Todd Kane, Dominic Ball, Luke Amos (Jack Clarke, 67’), Ilias Chair (Marc Pugh, 67’), Eberechi Eze, Bright Osayi-Samuel (Aramide Oteh, 87), Jordan Hugill
Joe Lumley, Ryan Manning, Àngel Rangel, Yoann Barbet
21,083 (702 away fans)