Terriers take a point from Southampton at home thanks to Ben Jackson equaliser
- Huddersfield Town 1-1 Southampton
- Southampton take lead in first half stoppage time
- Ben Jackson rescues point late in second half
It was a late show in either half for both sides as Southampton took the lead before half-time, with Ben Jackson hitting back for the Terriers with time running out in the second.
Town got proceedings under way through Josh Koroma, with Southampton gaining possession back after a minute or so and launching their first attack of the game through Sulemana, who’s cross eventually landed with Smallbone who volleyed wide.
Typical of a Russell Martin side, Saints looked to dominate the ball in the opening exchanges, but Town’s reading of the game was excellent at the back, helping to launch multiple counters. On two occasions, both Josh Koroma and Jonathan Hogg were fouled as they progressed over halfway, giving Sorba Thomas the chance to deliver dead balls into the box - the away side defended each opportunity well, however, clearing the first and catching Town offside on the second.
Getting into the final third as quickly as possible, Town almost opened up Josh Koroma in his favourite position just outside the box on his right boot, but Southampton retreated brilliantly to get a toe on the ball before he could shoot.
Keeping their visitors at bay until minute 15, Southampton’s next chance came through their captain Armstrong, who’s first time volley after sprinting into the box at an angle went straight into the arms of Chris Maxwell who was ready and waiting at his near post.
One of Town’s many quick breaks forward almost resulted in the first goal of the game around 16 minutes in, with Sorba Thomas flying down the left before playing Jaheim Headley in who had underlapped him from left-back. Taking the ball first time, Headley struck across goal with his second touch, firing all the way across the face of goal with Bazuna rooted to the spot.
With just 20 minutes gone, the Terriers were forced to go to the bench, with Kian Harratt unable to continue having gone down off the ball clutching his hamstring. Replaced by Yuta Nakayama - who hadn’t started after being away in Japan on international duty - Town reshuffled, with Yuta slotting in at the back and Josh Koroma moving into centre forward.
Concentrating their attacks down the left almost exclusively through Sulemana, Armstrong and Bree, the away side saw their success limited by brilliant team work from Pearson, Thomas and Jackson, who combined brilliantly in their own defensive third to pick their men up and counter when and where possible.
The half came to life in the final 10 minutes, with Town sparking it on the break. Going down the left through Koroma and Thomas, they found Nakayama overlapping who looked for Headley in the middle with a cross, but Bazuna was out quickly to claim. Moments later, Town broke again from an opposition corner this time, with Sorba Thomas clipping an inch perfect ball over the top of the defence.
Latching onto it after beating the defence for pace, Josh Koroma was unable to find the space to shoot, laying the ball off for Hogg who saw the pass knocked loose and intercepted, with David Kasumu then earning the first booking of the game for a foul out wide as Southampton looked to get forward.
The away side replied with two opporintiues of their own in what became an open first half. With nothing ahead of him, Stuart Armstrong struck from distance first time after receiving a sideways pass, whipping it across Maxwell and against the inside of the upright, right at the base of the post. Bouncing back into play, Town cleared, but Southampton regained possession soon after.
Inspired by his teammate, Will Smallbone had his own effort from range, with Maxwell punching it clear of his postage stamp from a corner. Defending that set play, Town set off at full pace on the attack, with Koroma passing halfway in the blink of an eye. Trying to play Headley through, Jaheim took control of the ball and rounded the goalkeeper, but the whistle blew before he could tap into an open goal with the flag raised for offside.
Kicking the ball into touch following the whistle, Headley found himself joining Kasumu in the referee’s book.
As the game looked destined to head into half-time goalless, Southampton broke and fed captain Adam Armstrong in the centre of the box, who took one deft touch with the outside of his boot, redirecting the ball past Maxwell into the far corner with the referee calling time shortly after.
Neither side made a change during the break, and the second half started with a brilliant pace as Town looked to get back on terms. Putting pressure on in attack, Town almost equalised thanks to a wonderful low ball across from Thomas, but neither Koroma or Jackson could get the final touch as the ball continued out for a corner.
Continuing to commit men forward, Town worked another chance for Koroma on the edge of the box but his shot couldn’t go through cleanly, deflected behind for another corner, with Southampton defending well and clearing.
Having to wait over 15 minutes to get their own first look at goal of the half, Southampton substitute Edozie had a go from the left after cutting in, having replaced Sulemana a short time earlier. Striking well, Chris Maxwell got down wonderfully to his left on his first league start for Town to make the stop, with Nakayama diving in to deny Fraser the follow up seconds later.
With 65 minutes gone, Town were forced into a second change, with Jaheim Headley suffering a leg injury. Replaced by the returning Delano Burgzorg, the forward got straight into the action, latching onto the through ball and working the defender down the right channel before being dispossessed as he tried to dribble past someone in the box.
Going close again, Josh Koroma found space on the right to cross, with his ball across bouncing once before reaching an unmarked Sorba Thomas coming in from the left. Connecting with a diving header, Thomas’ effort bounced just wide of the upright, with the winger left with his head in his hands on the ground.
Town suffered a third booking on 70 minutes under harsh circumstances, with Tom Lees adjudged to have used a high boot against a defender. Sliding for a bouncing ball, the attack was stooping to head, with Lees letting the referee know his thoughts on the decision as he was being placed in the book.
Darren Moore went to his bench ahead of the final 15 minutes, bringing on Brahima Diarra and Rarmani Edmonds-Green to replace Josh Koroma and David Kasumu, with Town still pushing for an equaliser.
Taking the ball with his back to goal just before the 80 minute mark, Burgzorg was bundled over, giving Thomas the chance to deliver from just outside the box. Drilling it into Michał Helik who peeled off the back of the pack to find space, the Polish defender couldn’t hit the target with his free header, turning his effort just wide.
With the Terriers on top, Southampton made a triple change with less than 10 minutes to go, looking to see the game out with fresh legs. Not doing the job intended, the Terriers got back level on 87’ through Ben Jackson, with his cross from the left too good for both his attackers and the goalkeeper, bouncing happily into the side netting to give Town a deserved equaliser.
Both sides then took turns to go forward in search of a winner, but it wasn't to be for either team, with a point apiece a fair reflection on the game that had played out.
TOWN’S TEAM (4-3-3)
Chris Maxwell; Matty Pearson, Michal Helik, Tom Lees, Jaheim Headley (Delano Burgzorg 65'); Ben Jackson, Jonathan Hogg (C), David Kasumu (Rarmani Edmonds-Green 74'); Sorba Thomas, Kian Harratt (Yuta Nakayama 21'), Josh Koroma (Brahima Diarra 74')
Jacob Chapman; Tom Edwards, Josh Austerfield
Ben Jackson 87'
David Kasumu 20', Jaheim Headley 41', Tom Lees 70', Ben Jackson 89'