Defeat in the Carabao Cup for the Terriers
Huddersfield Town were beaten 1-0 by Rochdale in the first round of the Carabao Cup at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Eoghan O’Connell’s header shortly after the break was enough for the visitors to condemn Town to defeat in this season’s competitive opener.
There was a mix of both youth and experience in the starting XI named by Carlos Corberán for his first competitive game in charge.
The Spaniard handed Town debuts to Academy graduates Romoney Crichlow and Ben Jackson who both impressed in pre-season, whilst 19-year-old Aaron Rowe made his first home start at senior level.
Crichlow lined up alongside Club Captain Christopher Schindler at the back, as both the skipper and Jonathan Hogg returned having not featured in either of Town’s two pre-season games.
Town’s final goal of that pre-season campaign was a stunner from Josh Koroma exactly a week earlier, and the forward looked to have an eye for goal again early on.
After some neat work in a tight area inside the penalty area, Town’s no.19 saw an effort at a first goal of the season denied by Rochdale ‘keeper Gavin Bazunu before the Dale’s man between the sticks was equal to another goal-bound Koroma strike from the right, moments later.
Koroma was the spark in a bright start from Town but it was the net at the other end that rippled first as Matty Done found the net following confusion in the Terriers defence, but the deadlock remained intact as the goal was chalked off for offside.
In the minutes after that scare, the Terriers looked to play with intent in search of that opening goal. Carlos Corberán’s side nearly got it just before the half-hour mark, as Harry Toffolo got the run on his marker and connected with Juninho Bacuna’s corner from the right but couldn’t quite keep his powerful effort down.
Town’s biggest threats were continuing to come down the right side as the game neared added on time at the end of the first half.
This time, Ben Jackson got into that channel, whipping a good ball across the face of the goal in the direction of Bacuna who miscued his effort over the bar.
Having gone into the break goalless, the visitors made the most of their first opportunity of the second half to go ahead.
Done’s in-swinging free-kick from the right found the head of Eoghan O’Connell who nodded past Ben Hamer in the Town goal to give the Dale the lead on 51 minutes.
Like in the first half, it was Koroma who continued to provide Town’s biggest threat on the Rochdale goal.
In search of an equaliser, the forward tried his luck from a central area, but his curling effort just went wide of the post.
With the minutes continuing to tick down, the visitors sat deep and stifled Town’s attacking output as the Terriers went in search of the equaliser.
The Terriers did have opportunities late on, however. As the game entered stoppage time, Isaac Mbenza stung the palms of Bazunu with a powerful drive, before Toffolo’s header was cleared off the line from the resulting corner.
That was the closest Town came with referee Ben Toner blowing the full-time whistle shortly after, confirming Town’s exit from the Carabao Cup in Round One.
Next up for Town is the Sky Bet Championship opener against Norwich City at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday 12 September 2020; 3pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3)
Ben Hamer; Harry Toffolo, Romoney Crichlow, Christopher Schindler (c) (Adama Diakhaby, 60’), Aaron Rowe; Jonathan Hogg (Isaac Mbenza, 68’), Alex Pritchard, Ben Jackson; Juninho Bacuna, Danny Ward (Josh Austerfield, 79’), Josh Koroma
Joel Pereira; Richard Stearman, Jaden Brown, Mustapha Olagunju
Gavin Bazunu; Jimmy Keohane, Eoghan O’Connell, Paul McShane, Ryan McLaughlin; Aaron Morley, Oliver Rathbone (Kwadwo Baah, 73’), Jimmy Ryan (Ethan Brierley, 90+3’); Stephen Dooley, Alex Newby, Matty Done (Fabio Tavares, 84’)
Jay Lynch; James McNulty, Lewis Bradley, Joe Dunne