Huddersfield Town’s first Sky Bet Championship game of 2020 ended in a 5-2 defeat to Stoke City at the John Smith’s Stadium.
After Sam Vokes early opener, Town enacted a quickfire turnaround early in the second half courtesy of Steve Mounié and a Danny Batth own goal to go 2-1 up.
But a double from Tyrese Campbell and a goal each for Nick Powell and substitute Lee Gregory ensured that the Terriers would finish the New Year’s Day encounter empty handed.
Town had recorded back-to-back victories at the John Smith’s Stadium to close out 2019 and were boosted by the return of Jonathan Hogg to the starting XI for the visit of Stoke.
It was the only change to Danny Cowley’s starting XI from the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers just three days earlier, with skipper Christopher Schindler making his 150th start for the Club in all competitions.
Following a busy festive schedule, the first game of the new decade took some time to kick into life. When it did, the first chance went to the visitors and was one that put them into a 1-0 lead on 15 minutes.
A mistake at the back allowed Nick Powell to pick up the ball on the left wing and cross low for Sam Vokes who was on hand to divert the ball into the net.
Vokes had an opportunity to double his tally in quick succession just moments later, but his goal-bound header was tipped clear of danger by Kamil Grabara.
Town Manager Danny Cowley said prior to the game that the Terriers were anticipating a tough game and that looked to be accurate as it was proving difficult to break Stoke down in the opening half-an-hour.
It was also proving to be a tough game physically between both sides, with a succession of yellow cards handed out midway through the opening 45. Jonathan Hogg went into the book first, ruling him out of Town’s next two Sky Bet Championship games, before Stoke’s Liam Lindsay followed suit soon after.
The battle continued into the closing stages of the half, with Stoke having the better of the chances. Tyrese Campbell saw his effort come back off the crossbar before James McClean fired the rebound over, as Town went in just the one goal behind.
Half-time looked to come at the right time for Town who looked rejuvenated following the interval. The Terriers registered the first attempt of the half when Karlan Grant forced a save out of Jack Butland after his run was picked out by Juninho Bacuna’s incisive through-ball.
Grant then turned provider less than a minute later, with his corner from the left finding the head of Steve Mounié who leapt highest before powering home a header to draw Town level.
The goal was the Benin’s international third in his last three games at the John Smith’s Stadium.
The turnaround was then complete less than three minutes later courtesy of a Danny Batth own goal. The Stoke defender couldn’t prevent turning Juninho Bacuna’s free-kick from out wide into his own goal, giving Town the lead on 51 minutes.
The game was continuing to spring into life after the break and with it came a third goal in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
This time, it was at the other end as the visitors got back on level terms through Nick Powell. Following a counter-attack, the midfielder was on hand to finish Tyrese Campbell’s cut-back from close range.
On 66 minutes, Stoke restored their advantage. Tyrese Campbell saw Kamil Grabara out of his goal after the Town ‘keeper punched clear a free-kick, before lobbing him from around 20 yards out to make it 3-2.
The goals continued to flow as the encounter reached the 70-minute mark. Campbell got his second in a matter of minutes, finding the net from the edge of the area with a low driven shot to double Stoke’s lead.
But Town weren’t giving up there. Karlan Grant’s whipped free-kick forced Butland into a save on his side of the goal, before Steve Mounié’s header across the six-yard box caused problems for the Stoke defence but was cleared.
It was the visitors who got the game’s next and final goal however, to make it 5-2 as the clock hit the 90th minute mark.
Substitute Lee Gregory drove down the left side of the box before firing into the far bottom corner, with the referee blowing the full-time whistle on Town’s opening encounter of 2020 shortly after.
Next up for Town is a trip to St. Mary’s Stadium for an Emirates FA Cup Third Round Tie away to Premier League side Southampton on Saturday 4 January 2019; 3.01pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2)
Kamil Grabara; Jaden Brown, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Christopher Schindler (c), Danny Simpson (Florent Hadergjonaj, 74’); Lewis O’Brien, Jonathan Hogg (Fraizer Campbell, 71’), Trevoh Chalobah, Juninho Bacuna; Karlan Grant, Steve Mounié
Joel Coleman; Josh Koroma, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Demeaco Duhaney, Matty Daly
STOKE CITY (4-3-3)
Jack Butland; Bruno Martins Indi, Liam Lindsay, Danny Batth, Tommy Smith; Sam Clucas, Nick Powell (Lee Gregory, 85’), Joe Allen; James McClean, Sam Vokes, Tyrese Campbell
Adam Davies; Stephen Ward, Tom Ince, Jordan Cousins, Nathan Collins, Ryan Woods
21,933 (1,680 away)