A late Karlan Grant penalty was only a consolation as Huddersfield Town were beaten 3-1 by Nottingham Forest in the Sky Bet Championship.
Lewis Grabban’s quickfire double either side of half-time, along with Ryan Yates’ strike, ensured that Grant’s late penalty wouldn’t have much impact for Town who finished the game with 10 men following an 89th minute red card for Juninho Bacuna at the City Ground.
Ahead of the 2.15pm kick-off, Danny Cowley made three changes to the Town side that returned to action against Wigan Athletic last weekend, two of which came in midfield.
Andy King and Alex Pritchard were named in the starting XI, whilst Demeaco Duhaney made his third career start for Town at right-back.
With eight days since that Wigan defeat, the longest period between two games for the remainder of the season, the Terriers will have been looking to use the full week of preparation to get off to a positive start in the Midlands.
That they did, the highlight being some neat footwork on the edge of the Forest area from Karlan Grant, but it was the hosts who registered the first real chance of the game when Joe Lolley picked out Sammy Ameobi at the back post who saw his shot come back off the base of the post.
Despite the early scare, Town continued to play with positivity in the opening exchanges. Chris Willock showed patience to trick his way into a crowded Forest penalty area, creating an opening just inside it for Alex Pritchard who saw his curling effort blocked.
The attacking midfielder continued to threaten the Forest goal on his return to the starting XI, forcing Brice Samba to divert his goal-bound free-kick behind for a corner, moments after that blocked strike.
Town’s momentum wasn’t halted by the game’s first drinks break on 22 minutes, with chances continuing to come for the Terriers.
A well worked free-kick presented an opportunity on the right side of the box for Grant who saw his ball across the box cleared behind. From the resulting corner, Richard Stearman threw himself at the ball but saw his effort diverted away from danger by a defender.
For all of Town’s perseverance, it was the hosts that made the breakthrough just before half-time. Joe Worrall’s ball to the back post found Lewis Grabban who volleyed past Jonas Lössl to put Forest 1-0 up on 43 minutes.
Less than a minute after the interval, Grabban doubled both his and his side’s tally for the afternoon. The forward got in behind the Town defence and slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-0 with the first attack of the half.
Town were unlucky not to get back into the game shortly after when Pritchard’s corner from the left was met by Forest’s Ameobi at the near post who glanced the in-swinging ball on to the crossbar.
With a second goal coming so early in the half, the game continued to open up as it ticked towards the hour mark, with chances at both ends.
First, Ameobi attempted to make it a three-goal lead for Forest but he powered wide from the edge of the box before Lewis O’Brien’s long-range effort was deflected wide of the goal.
On the hour mark, Danny Cowley made his first changes of the game introducing Trevoh Chalobah and Emile Smith Rowe as the sun began to reappear following a brief heavy downpour at the City Ground.
The latter nearly made an instant impact, racing forward with the ball before finding Grant in the left channel of the box who saw his driven effort stopped by Samba in the Forest goal.
Like Smith Rowe, Juninho Bacuna attempted to put his mark on the game, moments after coming on, on 74 minutes.
With one of his first touches, the midfielder whipped a free-kick over the wall and forced Samba into a strong left-handed save to keep it out of the goal on the stretch.
At the other end, Lössl had to ensure that Town stayed competitive in the game, producing a good save to deny substitute João Carvalho one-on-one.
But the hosts did get their third of the afternoon from the resulting corner. Ryan Yates connected with the ball from the left to prod home the goal that would all but put an end to the contest in the Midlands on 85 minutes.
Town were then reduced to 10 men in the closing stages, after Bacuna was sent off for a late tackle after the referee’s whistle.
Lössl kept out Alex Mighten, who had just come on, as the hosts went in search of a fourth with six minutes of stoppage time approaching, but the game’s final goal came at the other end and was a consolation for Town.
After Fraizer Campbell was brought down in the area by Joe Worrall, Karlan Grant stepped up to score his 17th goal of the season with what would turn out to be one of the final kicks of the game on a disappointing afternoon for the Terriers on the road.
Next up for Town is another game in the Midlands and a trip to St. Andrew’s to face Birmingham City in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday 1 July 2020; 6pm kick-off.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST (4-2-3-1)
Brice Samba; Yuri Ribeiro, Joe Worrall, Tobias Figueiredo, Matty Cash, Tiago Silva (João Carvalho, 73’), Ben Watson (John Bostock, 90’), Sammy Ameobi (Nuno da Costa, 73’), Brennan Johnson (Ryan Yates, 46’), Joe Lolley (Alex Mighten, 90’), Lewis Grabban
Jordan Smith, Carl Jenkinson, Michael Dawson, Tyler Walker
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-2-3-1)
Jonas Lössl; Harry Toffolo, Christopher Schindler (c), Richard Stearman (Jon Gorenc Stanković, 70’), Demeaco Duhaney (Juninho Bacuna, 74’), Andy King, Jonathan Hogg (Trevoh Chalobah, 60’), Lewis O’Brien, Alex Pritchard (Emile Smith Rowe, 60’), Chris Willock (Fraizer Campbell, 70’), Karlan Grant
Joel Coleman, Elias Kachunga, Collin Quaner, Matty Daly