Single goal defeat for Town on the opening weekend
Huddersfield Town began the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Norwich City at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Having shared a well-fought battle with the Canaries in the opening league game of the season, substitute Adam Idah’s goal was the difference 10 minutes before time in West Yorkshire.
Carlos Corberán named a starting XI for the league opener that included a Town debut for new signing Pipa after the full-back signed from Espanyol earlier in the week.
Town’s Head Coach also gave a first Sky Bet Championship start to 19-year-old midfielder Ben Jackson off the back of his impressive showing on professional debut last weekend.
Adama Diakhaby was the third and final change from that competitive opener a week ago to the day, making his first start for the Terriers since returning from his loan at Nottingham Forest.
Despite the season’s kick-off coming a month later than normal, the surroundings were just as conventional to an opening day of a league season with glorious blue skies greeting the two teams as they emerged separately from the tunnel at the John Smith’s Stadium.
When referee Geoff Eltringham’s whistle got the game, and the campaign, underway, both sides attempted to kick their respective seasons into gear early on.
Because of that, the teams matched each other well in the opening exchanges, with opportunities present at both ends of the pitch.
The visitors attempted to deal the first blow, as Kenny McLean drove wide of the goal from range before Richard Stearman caused the Norwich defence problems by trying to flick a Josh Koroma shot home, but he couldn’t quite connect with it, as it evaded the goal.
After a lively start from both sides, the battle continued, edging into the middle of the pitch as the teams attempted to craft a way through from deep.
The Canaries nearly did that just after the half-hour mark when Onel Hernández drove through the Town defence before unleashing a shot straight at Ben Hamer.
At the other end, it was Alex Pritchard who had Town’s best chance as the first 45 minutes of the league season ticked towards a close.
After some good awareness from Jackson to win a free-kick on the edge of the Norwich penalty area, Town’s no.10 fired the set-piece over from a central area.
Following the interval, the chances continued to be shared at both ends as the deadlock remained intact.
The Terriers went close first, as Josh Koroma showed some nice footwork before cutting inside from the left and curling a fierce effort just wide of the far post.
Moments later for the Canaries, Christoph Zimmermann rose highest to meet Xavi Quintillà’s corner from the right but couldn’t keep his header down.
Koroma, who was leading the line for Town for the league opener, was continuing to kick on from an impressive performance to start the season against Rochdale last weekend, this time providing an incisive through-ball for Alex Pritchard who couldn’t quite connect with his effort in a way that would trouble Tim Krul in the Norwich goal.
Town’s no.19 was providing impetus for the Terriers going forward, whilst a big block from Stearman at the other end helped to keep it tight at the back.
The defender produced a sliding block to deny the Norwich attacker from tapping in the rebound to Hernández’s shot that Hamer had parried away from the goal.
The deadlock remained on that occasion, but the visitors were the ones to get the opener with just over ten minutes left to play.
Teemu Pukki pounced on a misplaced back-pass from Stearman and intelligently squared for substitute Adam Idah who finished from close range to give the Canaries a late lead.
The visitors held firm in the closing stages however to see the encounter out and take all three points from the John Smith’s Stadium on opening weekend.
Next up for Town is a first away trip of the season with Brentford the opponents at the new Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday 19 September 2020; 3pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3)
Ben Hamer; Harry Toffolo, Richard Stearman (Fraizer Campbell, 81’), Christopher Schindler (c), Pipa; Jonathan Hogg, Ben Jackson (Isaac Mbenza, 57’), Alex Pritchard; Adama Diakhaby (Jaden Brown, 71’), Josh Koroma, Juninho Bacuna
Joel Pereira; Romoney Crichlow, Aaron Rowe, Rarmani Edmonds-Green
NORWICH CITY (4-2-3-1)
Tim Krul; Xavi Quintillà, Ben Godfrey, Christoph Zimmerman, Max Aarons; Oliver Skipp, Kenny McLean; Onel Hernández (Przemysław Płacheta, 76’), Todd Cantwell (Lukas Rupp, 89’), Kieran Dowell (Adam Idah, 75’); Teemu Pukki
Michael McGovern; Alex Tettey, Ben Gibson