Holmes scores again, but winning run ends
- Huddersfield Town 1-2 Luton Town
- Duane Holmes scores second goal in as many games
- Terriers take lead, but defeated
Town were defeated in the first fixture of 2023, with visitors Luton coming from behind to grab a late victory in an even contest.
Duane Holmes scored his second goal in as many fixtures to give Mark Fotheringham’s unchanged side a first-half lead, but goals at the end of each half gave the promotion-chasing Hatters a rare win in HD1.
Facing a strong wind, Fotheringham’s side started the game fairly well and looked to have created a good opportunity inside the first five minutes through a set piece when centre back Tom Lockyer fouled Rhodes. Rudoni’s ball into the box was nodded down by Helik into the path of Lees, but the assistant’s flag went up as he forced goalkeeper Ethan Horvath into a low save.
Luton grew into it and forced Lee Nicholls into an excellent save five minutes’ later. Striker Elijah Adebayo got behind Boyle thanks to an excellent pass from danger man Carlton Morris, but our custodian got his angles right and deflected the forward’s eventual shot over his crossbar.
The visitors always carried a threat and it took a block from Helik – in an uncomfortable region – to stop Morris getting a shot on target soon after.
However, it was Holmes who opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Kaine Kesler-Hayden deserved a lot of credit in the build-up, keeping Kasumu’s overhit cross in play by the corner flag under heavy pressure from Bell. Rudoni then took over, cutting inside and trying a low shot that fell into Duane’s path in the area; he took one touch to steady himself before firing low across countryman Horvath and into the far corner!
That was Rudoni’s fourth assist this season, but his first at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Town were dealt a blow in the 37th minute when skipper Hogg was forced off with an apparent calf injury, and another setback followed when Luton equalised in the 43rd minute. A good move down our left set winger Alfie Doughty into space, and his cross was flicked by the heel of Allan Campbell into the path of Bell. His powerful, right footed effort was adjudged to have crossed the line by technology, despite an excellent effort to clear from Helik.
The second half was a very even affair overall, with very few chances.
Nicholls showed really good hands early on to gather in a powerful Doughty free kick that bounced right in front of him, before a pacey free kick from Sorba Thomas was expertly headed out of the danger zone by Adebayo at the other end.
Luton threw on two strikers to try and create more as the half progressed, whilst Town introduced Danny Ward and Etienne Camara as they enjoyed decent territory. Neither side created a chance in the next 25 minutes until Kesler-Hayden tested the opposition goalkeeper with a low left footed shot with 10 minutes left.
Sadly, Luton’s only genuine chance of the second half led to the vital third goal of the game, with Fotheringham left frustrated at the way his side defended it. The ball was worked down Town’s left and no player managed to block the eventual cross from James Bree, with the ball rolling behind Boyle to the feet of substitute Reece Burke. The defender’s first touch set the ball perfectly and he rolled it beyond Nicholls’ reach with his second.
Town tried to respond late on, with Camara’s excellent forward pass finding the inside run of Josh Ruffels. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper easily claimed his tame right-footed effort.
Town’s team (5-4-1)
Lee Nicholls; Kaine Kesler-Hayden, Tom Lees, Michał Helik, Will Boyle, Josh Ruffels; Jack Rudoni, David Kasumu (Etienne Camara, 64’), Jonathan Hogg (c) (Sorba Thomas, 38’), Duane Holmes (Brahima Diarra, 73’); Jordan Rhodes (Danny Ward, 64’)
Nicholas Bilokapic; Tyreece Simpson, Loick Ayina
Will Boyle (34’)