Disappointing night in the Midlands
Huddersfield Town fell to a deserved defeat at the hands of Stoke City, with a red card and three goals conceded.
The first goal of the night – another set piece concession just before the quarter-hour mark – seemed to deflate the Terriers and despite showing more at the start of the second period, a red card for Will Boyle led to two more goals conceded to give the scoreline a comprehensive look.
Town started the game off in decent fashion and although danger man Tyrese Campbell had the first shot of the game at the other end, they moved the ball nicely – and Josh Koroma was inches away from finding Martyn Waghorn with a low cross that was just cleared.
However, the flow of the half changed with the first goal in the 13th minute. It came from another corner, conceded when Matty Pearson had to tackle Campbell; Will Smallbone’s drilled delivery found Phil Jagielka at the back post, who had evaded marker Tom Lees to place his header in the only place it could go in – above Hogg’s head at the back post.
That concession clearly rocked Town’s confidence, as Stoke City took control. Tomáš Vaclík – fit after being subbed in the previous game at Wigan Athletic with a groin issue – had to make three saved before the half hour from Campbell, Ben Pearson and Jacob Brown.
The Terriers did recover right at the end of the half, despite the loss of Matty Pearson through injury, and tried their luck through some late set pieces of their own. The closest we came to a goal came a minute before the interval when birthday boy Scott High was fouled by Jagielka on the right, allowing Anthony Knockaert to swing a ball into the near post; that was met by the head of Lees, but his powerful effort cannoned off the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten before dropping harmlessly behind.
Town competed slightly better in the first minutes of the second half, with Koroma’s knockdown almost finding Rudoni in the area but for the final defender, but any momentum was killed off when Will Boyle received his second yellow card in the 65th minute for a challenge on Dwight Gayle.
Stoke made their man advantage count in the 73rd minute when Campbell’s hard low ball into the box found Jacob Brown; Headley blocked his first shot, but the rebound fell to the former Barnsley man, who comprehensively beat our goalkeeper to double the lead.
Town couldn’t muster a fightback, with a 25-yard Knockaert free kick the only work that the home goalkeeper had to do, and instead Stoke scored again in added time. Lees brought down Brown in the area after he had skinned Headley, allowing Lewis Baker to beat Vaclík from 12 yards.
Town’s team (4-3-3)
Tomáš Vaclík; Matty Pearson (Matthew Lowton, 30’), Tom Lees, Will Boyle, Jaheim Headley; Jack Rudoni, Jonathan Hogg (c) (David Kasumu, 68’), Scott High (Joseph Hungbo, 60’); Josh Koroma, Matty Waghorn (Pat Jones, 68’), Anthony Knockaert
Nicholas Bilokapic; Josh Ruffels, Etienne Camara
Matty Pearson (17’), Jonathan Hogg (42’), Jack Rudoni (47’), Will Boyle (51’)
Town red card
Will Boyle (64’ – second yellow)