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Match Reports


3 October 2023

Match Reports


3 October 2023

Town undone on the road by two goals in each half

- Birmingham City 4-1 Huddersfield Town
- Michal Helik scored late consolation deep into second half
- First defeat as Town Manager for Darren Moore

Town fell to a first defeat in six games on Tuesday evening, with hosts Birmingham City putting four past us amid a late consolation goal from Michał Helik.

The Terriers were below the standards they had set themselves in the first two games under Darren Moore and gave themselves a mountain to climb by conceding early goals at St. Andrew’s.

Town boss Moore made two changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Ipswich Town at the weekend, with the injured Jonathan Hogg replaced by Tom Lees – his first start of the season following injury – and Ben Jackson replacing Josh Koroma. That saw Yuta Nakayama move into holding midfield – a position he has played for Japan – and Sorba Thomas join Delano Burgzorg up front.

Sadly, the men in acid lime fell behind inside three minutes in unusual circumstances. A shot from range from attacker Siriki Dembele seemed to deceive Lee Nicholls in the air, with the goalkeeper unable to get enough on the ball with his attempted save to keep it out.

The Town players gathered themselves and went close to an equaliser barely three minutes later when Burgzorg collected a pass to the left of goal, span and sent a deflected shot goalwards that John Ruddy had to athletically turn over his crossbar.

Dembele was a constant thorn in our side all half and had two more shots in the opening 45 from a similar position, sending both efforts from the right side of Nicholls’ goal – the area Koroma likes to try his luck from regularly – just wide of target.

However, it was his Japanese teammate Koji Myoshi who made it two midway through the half. Right back Cody Drameh collected the ball just outside the box and sent a bouncing cross-come-shot towards the back post, where Myoshi was the most alert to turn the ball home from close range.

Although not hitting their fluent best in the half, Town did have attempts in reply. The next came in the 27th minute when Thomas passed across the face of the box to Ben Wiles, who tested Ruddy again with a powerful low shot that needed saving.

Burgzorg fired wide from 25 yards at one end whilst former Town man Juninho Bacuna had two shots at the other end: the first a flick straight at Nicholls and the second blocked expertly by Lees.

The lively Burgzorg then setup Jack Rudoni for a late chance after advancing infield from by the right corner flag, but Jack’s first-time effort went well wide.

Moore tried to inject new energy into the side during the interval by bringing on three substitutes as Josh Ruffels, Ben Wiles and Delano Burgzorg made way for Jaheim Headley, Brahima Diarra and Josh Koroma. While the changes were tactical in nature, Ben Wiles had looked to be nursing a knock to his leg throughout the first half.

Showing a slight response after the break and changes, Town’s first chance fell to Michal Helik, to headed back across toward goal with a looping header following a deep corner, but Ruddy was well positioned and able to leap highest to pluck it out of the air with relative ease.

However, it wasn’t long before Siriki Dembele was causing further issues for the Terriers, with Matty Pearson booked for a foul on the attacker moments before he let off another dangerous strike from just at the edge of the box, with Tom Lees throwing himself at the ball to get in a telling block.

Forcing the issue in possession and therefore unable to take control of the ball as they might otherwise, Birmingham were able to capitalise on a challenge by Juninho Bacuna on the wing who dispossessed Jaheim Headley, working the ball quickly into Miyoshi who was able to draw in his final man before sliding in Dembele in space. Taking the effort first time with his right boot, the forward’s first time finish was too strong for Nicholls and the game was effectively put beyond Town.

An excellent Sorba Thomas cross on the half volley gave Jack Rudoni the chance to nod Town back in with a slight chance of getting something upon the restart, but he tamely headed wide.

Sub Tom Edwards then volleyed over on the turn when well positioned after another excellent delivery into the box from Thomas, this time from a wide free kick.

Edwards was involved in a physical, irate battle with Bacuna as soon as he came on, but the pair soon worked in tandem to report an alleged incident of racist abuse from a home area. We will continue to offer every support we can to Birmingham City in trying to identify the perpetrator, as racism has absolutely no place in football or society.

Town did get on the score sheet in added time when Helik notched his third of the season. Thomas was again involved, working a short corner before firing the ball across the face of goal on his left to let our central defender tap home.

However, the final goal of the night went Birmingham’s way when substitute James took aim and beat Nicholls with a powerful, accurate low drive from 25 yards out.

Town’s team (3-5-2)
Lee Nicholls; Matty Pearson, Michał Helik (c), Tom Lees (Kian Harratt, 71’); Ben Jackson (Tom Edwards, 61’), Jack Rudoni, Yuta Nakayama, Ben Wiles (Brahima Diarra, 46’), Josh Ruffels (Jaheim Headley, 46’); Sorba Thomas, Delano Burgzorg (Josh Koroma, 46’)

Unused substitutes
Chris Maxwell; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Pat Jones, Kyle Hudlin

Town goal
Michal Helik (90+2’)

Town booking
Matty Pearson (55’)

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