Despite a second half push to complete a remarkable comeback, Huddersfield Town were beaten 3-2 by Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Three goals in the first 31 minutes from Bobby Decordova-Reid, Tom Cairney and Aleksandar Mitrović saw the hosts race out into a 3-0 lead.
But Town quickly responded through Emile Smith Rowe and Steve Mounié to go into half-time at 3-2. Karlan Grant had the best of the chances after the break but Fulham held on to claim all three Sky Bet Championship points in the Capital.
Town Manager Danny Cowley made two changes to the side that beat Hull City in midweek. Steve Mounié’s stoppage time winner at the KCOM Stadium earned him a place in the side whilst Joel Coleman replaced the injured Kamil Grabara.
With Coleman stepping up to the starting XI, 19-year-old Academy goalkeeper Jacob Chapman was named among Town’s substitutes at Craven Cottage.
On a blustery afternoon in South West London it was the hosts who got into gear quicker and subsequently opened the scoring on the 10-minute mark.
Fulham forward Bobby Decordova-Reid drove inside from the left flank, beating two Town defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the far bottom corner to open the scoring.
The Cottagers’ fast start continued as they extended their advantage to two just five minutes later. Cyrus Christie found the run of captain Tom Cairney, who took the ball in his stride before firing past Joel Coleman on the volley.
The Terriers were struggling to get a hold of the game, and just after the half-hour mark, the hosts capitalised to extend the lead.
Joe Bryan drove Fulham forward from the left side, before finding Aleksandar Mitrović in the box who flicked home the third goal of the afternoon.
Town pulled one back almost instantly, however. Juninho Bacuna’s lofted free-kick was cleared straight to Christopher Schindler who found Emile Smith Rowe in space, with the on-loan Arsenal midfielder able to keep his composure to score his first goal for the Club.
He then turned provider moments after, following some determined work from Juninho Bacuna, who laid the ball off to the attacking midfielder. Smith Rowe found Steve Mounié at the back post, who bundled the ball home on the line to get Town back into the game.
An entertaining half of football was brought to an end in SW6 by referee Gavin Ward not long after, but the second half quickly picked up where the first left off.
A powerful driving run from Smith Rowe needed Kevin McDonald to bring him down on the edge of the penalty area, before Karlan Grant stepped up to force Rodak into tipping his central effort over.
Town, in their fiery coral third kit, continued to press for what had previously looked like an unlikely equaliser half-an-hour into game.
It took a superb reactionary save from Rodak to deny Grant getting that on 50 minutes. Town’s no.16 powered a volley towards the goal, with the Fulham ‘keeper diving to his right to preserve the home side’s lead.
Grant was continuing to grow into the game himself from the left side. After a good piece of link-up play with Smith Rowe, the forward tried his luck at the near post only for Rodak to be there for the third time in quick succession.
Smith Rowe was certainly enjoying his return to London and continued to cause problems for the Fulham defence. This time, he found himself on the right side of the box and worked the space to get an effort off that was again denied by Rodak.
The chances continued to come for Danny Cowley’s side after some good ball retention in midfield. Smith Rowe found himself on the byline and pulled it back for Grant who saw his shot charged down by the Fulham ‘keeper.
The hosts were having chances of their own, however, as they looked to put the game away. Mitrović brought the ball down and played in substitute Aboubakar Kamara but the forward couldn’t keep his shot on target.
With the score still at 3-2, Town put Rekeil Pyke on for his club debut in search of an equaliser and went close on 89 minutes. A scramble inside the six-yard area saw the ball fall to substitute Fraizer Campbell who set himself before firing goal-bound, only for his effort to be deflected behind for a corner.
Six minutes of added time followed and despite all of their efforts, Danny Cowley’s side couldn’t get the all-important third and equalising goal, meaning a narrow defeat in the Capital.
Next up for Town is the visit of Queens Park Rangers to the John Smith’s Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday 8 February 2020; 3pm kick-off.
Marek Rodak; Joe Bryan, Denis Odoi, Michael Hector, Cyrus Christie, Tom Cairney (c) (Stefan Johansen, 75’), Kevin McDonald (Harry Arter, 63’), Josh Onomah, Bobby Decordova-Reid, Aleksandar Mitrović, Ivan Cavaleiro (Aboubakar Kamara, 57’)
Marcus Bettinelli, Neeskens Kebano, Luca de la Torre, Steven Sessegnon
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1)
Joel Coleman; Harry Toffolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Richard Stearman, Juninho Bacuna, Lewis O’Brien, Trevoh Chalobah (Andy King, 82’), Karlan Grant, Emile Smith Rowe (Rekeil Pyke, 88’), Elias Kachunga, Steve Mounié (Fraizer Campbell, 75’)
Jacob Chapman, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Jaden Brown, Demeaco Duhaney