Town suffer first defeat in five Sky Bet Championship games
- Huddersfield Town 1-3 Preston North End
- Town two down at the break
- Danny Ward nets first of the season
A poor first half performance ultimately undid the Terriers on the night, with Preston North End allowed to carry a two goal lead into the break as Town struggled to get going.
Preston North End started the game quicker than Town, with a few crosses into the box into the box in the opening minutes. Their captain, Browne, was on the end of two; the first - a scuffed effort wide on the volley inside two minutes - before he found the top corner just two minutes later, heading past Maxwell from a Holmes cross.
Trying to settle the game down, it took Town a few minutes before they got their own effort back on goal. Started by a fast throw forward to Thomas from Maxwell, he played a ball in behind the defence on the right for Delano Burgzorg to gather. Beating a couple for pace, Burgzorg struck fiercely at goal, but couldn’t beat Woodman who gathered at the second attempt.
Pressing from the front, Town almost had a second opportunity before the 15 minute mark, with Delano Burgzorg sprinting forward. A millisecond from dispossessing Whatmough to be clear through on goal, the defender just did enough to get rid of the ball before our number seven could get his foot to it.
Tacking up front almost gave Town a second chance to get back into the game. Another lovely ball in behind from Thomas was battled for by Koroma, who managed to dispossess a defender that had beaten him to it on the slide before standing back up and dribbling. Not using Burgzorg to his left, he carried the ball into the box to shoot but was tackled in the process, showing fight to regather the loose ball before losing it again, missing Delano with a back heel.
Koroma could’ve made amends moments later after a low cross from the right wing went right the way through the box. Given space by Austerfield stepping over it and drawing in defenders, our number 10 cut inside to shoot on his right but got too much of it, clearing the bar with ease.
Neither side was able to keep the ball for extended periods in midfield, leading to multiple rushed and scrappy attacks at both ends of the field. One such effort came from Holmes who saw a shot from distance blocked by Burgzorg, propelling the ball high into the air toward goal. Punched clear by Maxwell right under his crossbar, the goalkeeper was fouled in the process of getting to the ball.
Doubling their lead before the 40 minute mark, a ball from the left wing by Miller for Keane to run onto in the box was struck first time, with the forward beating Maxwell across his goal into the opposite bottom corner, firing under the goalkeeper’s legs as he rushed off his line to block.
Heading straight back up the other end, Town quickly got to the edge of the Preston box. Flicking the ball around the corner, Thomas looked to play Burgzorg in with the forward spinning well past his man before hitting the deck, aided by two hands on his back from Lindsay - despite appealing, the penalty was waved away by the referee.
Josh Austerfield had the last meaningful involvement of the half during two minutes of added time, beating Potts wide on the left before being tripped, with the Preston man promptly booked. Sorba Thomas took the free-kick into the box, but it was headed away as the referee blew the whistle for half-time.
Town made three changes in the break before Preston resumed the game after the break, with Tom Lees, Josh Austerfield and Josh Koroma making way for Yuta Nakayama, Ben Wiles and Jaheim Headley.
Keeping the ball much better than the first half with Preston dropping deeper, the Terriers made their first chance of the half after a five minutes, with a cross from Thomas finding the head of Ward at the far post, who couldn’t direct his effort past Woodman.
Making no mistake a few moments later, Matty Pearson overlapped on the right wing for Thomas to play in, crossing brilliantly for Ward who rose the highest in the box. Nodding into the floor before bouncing it past Woodman, the effort sparked the game, the team and the crowd back to life after a first half to forget.
Not letting the momentum drop, Burgzorg was the next to go close as Town continued to push. Played through by Thomas, his effort was blocked behind for a corner by a combination of Lindsay and Woodman, with the subsequent set play headed clear.
Making another change around the hour mark, goalscorer Danny Ward made way for Brahima Diarra before Matty Pearson was forced off moments later after sprinting to make a challenge out wide, with Rarmani Edmonds-Green coming on to replace him.
Taking advantage of the changes, Preston extended their lead soon after through Whiteman, who struck well into the corner of Maxwell’s goal with the side of his foot from just outside of the box, curling the ball out of the reach of the Town goalkeeper, putting the game beyond Town.
Not downing tools, Town continued to make chances when possible, with Edmonds-Green close to creating something inside the box heading back a corner from Sorba Thomas, but the visiting defence managed to block and clear it as they looked to see the game out.
Brahima Diarra, who had been bright since coming on in his attempts to get forward, fired high and wide in the final moments, but that would ultimately be the last chance of the night for either side as the game fizzled out after four minutes of added time.
TOWN’S TEAM (3-5-2)
Chris Maxwell; Matty Pearson (Rarmani Edmonds-Green 65'), Michał Helik, Tom Lees (Yuta Nakayama 46'); Sorba Thomas, David Kasumu, Jonathan Hogg, Josh Austerfield (Ben Wiles 46'), Josh Koroma (Jaheim Headley 46'); Delano Burgzorg, Danny Ward (Brahima Diarra 61')
Lee Nicholls; Tom Edwards, Loick Ayina, Tom Iorpenda