Huddersfield Town suffered defeat on the short trip down to South Yorkshire following a 2-1 loss to Barnsley at Oakwell.
Goals either side of half-time from Barnsley’s Alex Mowatt and Conor Chaplin had put the hosts two-up before Lewis O’Brien’s thunderous second half strike restored Town’s hopes.
Despite a late push for an equaliser, the hosts held on to claim the Derby Day spoils and all three Sky Bet Championship points.
It was a return to league action for Danny Cowley’s Terriers with three changes made to the starting XI that faced Southampton in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend; Kamil Grabara, Karlan Grant and Elias Kachunga all returning to the side.
The latter was making his 100th start for the Club in all competitions whilst new signings Emile Smith Rowe and Richard Stearman weren’t in the squad having only completed their moves on Friday afternoon.
Town had been victorious in the reverse fixture earlier season at the John Smith’s Stadium. Karlan Grant scored the winner that day and got himself into the action early on, seeing his deflected strike gathered by hosts’ ‘keeper Samuel Radlinger.
Barnsley made sure the game was well-contested early on however, forcing Kamil Grabara back onto his line to punch a dangerous in-swinging corner away to safety.
That was the Reds’ first look at goal, and with their second, they found a 14th minute opener. Alex Mowatt was unmarked at the back post to tap in Jacob Brown’s low ball in from the right to make it 1-0.
The hosts continued to seize the initiative after going ahead and were playing well on the front foot. Luke Thomas curled an effort over, moments before Clarke Odour fired a free-kick wide of the target.
A moment of sloppiness from the Tykes did allow Town a chance to get back in it, midway through the first half. Fraizer Campbell recovered the ball well from the Barnsley defence and drove forward, only for a well-timed last-ditch tackle from Jordan Williams to put an end to the attack.
Town’s best opportunity for an equaliser in the remaining minutes of the first half came not long before the break, when Campbell dived forward to meet Juninho Bacuna’s whipped free-kick, but he couldn’t connect with it properly as Town went in narrowly behind at the break.
In search of a way back into the game after the interval, Florent Hadergjonaj and Steve Mounié were introduced as half-time substitutes as Danny Cowley’s side switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
The change brought about more of an intensity early in the half but no reward for the pushing Terriers in the opening minutes.
On 64 minutes, the hosts made the most of their defensive efforts to double the lead at the other end. Jacob Brown was again the provider on the right, pulling it back for Conor Chaplin who doubled the lead from close range.
The two-goal lead didn’t last long, however, as Town showed their fighting spirit and immediately hit back. The ball fell to Lewis O’Brien around 25 yards out who powered a thunderous half-volley past the ‘keeper and into the top corner.
The 4,000 Town fans were making themselves heard behind the goal and urging Danny Cowley’s side on to an equaliser. Radlinger made a good stop to his right to deny Mounié’s volley after some precise control inside the box, moments before Campbell fizzed an effort over after some more good pressing.
The Terriers were now well on top and somehow weren’t level on 72 minutes. Bacuna’s teasing free-kick found the run of Campbell who couldn’t keep his effort on target.
Substitute Steve Mounié had scored in both of Town’s last two Sky Bet Championship games and was looking for a third in three late on, but his volley from inside the area was flashed wide of the goal.
For all of Town’s late pressure inside the penalty area, the hosts held on to claim all three Sky Bet Championship points from the Yorkshire derby at Oakwell.
Next up for Town is the visit of Brentford to the John Smith’s Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday 18 January 2020; 3pm kick-off.
Samuel Radlinger; Clarke Odour, Mads Andersen, Bambo Diaby, Jordan Williams, Marcel Ritzmaier, Appo Halme, Luke Thomas (Patrick Schmidt, 87’), Alex Mowatt, Conor Chaplin (Elliot Simões, 90+1), Jacob Brown
Bradley Collins, Ben Williams, Mike-Steven Bähre, Mamadou Thiam
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1)
Kamil Grabara; Jaden Brown (Florent Hadergjonaj, 46’), Jon Gorenc Stanković, Christopher Schindler (c), Danny Simpson (Josh Koroma, 63’), Juninho Bacuna, Trevoh Chalobah, Karlan Grant (Steve Mounié, 46’), Lewis O’Brien, Elias Kachunga, Fraizer Campbell
Joel Coleman, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Demeaco Duhaney, Matty Daly
17,158 (4,436 away)