Huddersfield Town fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Luton Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.
After Town had the best of the chances in the first 45, second half goals from Sonny Bradley and Elliot Lee were enough for the visitors to take all three Sky Bet Championship points from West Yorkshire.
Danny Cowley made two changes to the Town starting XI for the visit of the Hatters, with Lewis O’Brien and Fraizer Campbell both coming back into the side from the start.
There was also a welcome return to the squad for Juninho Bacuna who was named on the bench following a three-match suspension.
A pleasant early Friday evening in West Yorkshire set the scene for a game with high importance in shaping the picture around the bottom end of the Sky Bet Championship table.
It was Town who started the brighter of the sides in the sunshine and were rewarded with the game’s first opportunity after some good work from Frazier Campbell.
The returning forward showed why Danny Cowley had placed an emphasis on having his ‘number nines’ back fit in recent weeks, winning the ball back high up the pitch before setting in Emile Smith Rowe who saw his effort blocked.
From the resulting corner, Jon Gorenc Stanković found himself in space and met the corner from the right, but his header was gathered by Luton ‘keeper Simon Sluga.
The Town defender had been important in defending his own box during Tuesday’s goalless draw with Reading but was continuing to cause a nuisance of himself in Luton’s area in the opening 20 minutes.
Having got forward for another corner from the right, the defender got his head on the ball but couldn’t get a clean contact with Sluga again there to put an end to the threat.
After the drinks break, the Terriers continued to keep Sluga on his toes. This time, Lewis O’Brien dug out a shot from deep that found the ‘keeper’s arms.
In a half that produced little chances, it was set pieces that were again an outlet for Town in the final action of the half.
Stanković was prominent once more, knocking the ball in the direction of Captain Christopher Schindler but his centre-back partner couldn’t get a telling enough connection with referee Geoff Eltringham’s whistle going soon after to signal the interval.
After the break, it was the visitors who got on to the front foot first and found the breakthrough on 48 minutes.
Hatters Captain Sonny Bradley rose highest to meet a corner from the left and head the visitors into an early second half lead.
James Collins nearly doubled the advantage soon after, cutting in from the left, but his curling effort went narrowly wide of the far post.
Moments before the halfway mark in the second 45, the Terriers had their best opportunity of the game so far as they went in search of an equaliser.
After some clever footwork, Smith Rowe worked some space in a tight area just inside the box but dragged his snapshot just wide of the goal.
Despite that, it was the visitors who got the game’s next goal. After Collins’ initial effort had come back off the post, Elliot Lee fired the rebound past Jonas Lössl to make it 2-0 with just over 20 minutes left to play.
Pushing for a way back into the game late on, substitutes Steve Mounié and Alex Pritchard had Town’s best chances, but neither could find the target as the visitors held on for all three points at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Next up for Town is a short trip to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday in a Yorkshire derby in the Sky Bet Championship on Tuesday 14 July 2020; 7.45pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1)
Jonas Lössl; Harry Toffolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Jon Gorenc Stanković, Trevoh Chalobah; Lewis O’Brien (Juninho Bacuna, 64’), Jonathan Hogg (Andy King, 64’); Karlan Grant, Emile Smith Rowe, Chris Willock (Alex Pritchard, 75’); Fraizer Campbell (Steve Mounié, 55’)
Joel Coleman; Elias Kachunga, Richard Stearman, Jaden Brown, Demeaco Duhaney
LUTON TOWN (4-3-1-2)
Simon Sluga; Dan Potts, Sonny Bradley (c), Cameron Carter-Vickers, James Bree; Andrew Shinnie (Martin Cranie, 90+5’), Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Luke Berry; Elliot Lee (Kazenga LuaLua, 80’); James Collins (Danny Hylton, 80’), Harry Cornick (Callum McManaman, 68’)
James Shea; Ryan Tunnicliffe, George Moncur, Jacob Butterfield, Peter Kioso