A first point under new Manager Darren Moore
- Coventry City 1-1 Huddersfield Town
- Late goal from Michał Helik secures a dramatic point
- Improved second half display from the Terriers
A dramatic last-minute equaliser from centre back Michał Helik secured a deserved point for Town at Coventry City in Darren Moore’s first game as Manager of the Terriers.
Town fell behind to a slightly unlucky goal in the first half - albeit on the back of being second best in the opening 45 - only to rally in the second and press Coventry back. However, the momentum of the opening 25 minutes looked like it may have dissipated before the centre back came up with a dramatic stoppage time equaliser to secure a valuable point.
Our black kit made its competitive debut for Moore’s opening game in charge of the team, with the team featuring four changes. Kasumu and Ruffles missed out through injury, but skipper Jonathan Hogg made a welcome return as Moore stuck with the 3-5-2 formation that has served us well during this recent good spell of form.
Town were on the back foot in the opening stages as Coventry built nicely and won a series of early corners, but our three centre backs – Helik, Pearson, and Nakayama – stood strong, making important headed clearances and several sliding blocks.
The best Town chance of the half came on the back of defending such a corner in the 14th minute, with Delano Burgzorg winning a loose ball and Ben Wiles bursting forward over halfway. He drove at the home defence before sliding a pass right to Josh Koroma, but the last defender did well to get across and execute a sliding block as the Town man tried to shoot inside the area.
When Coventry did break the deadlock in the 27th minute, there was an element of bad luck to go with an error. Ben Jackson’s attempted pass back to Matty Pearson was slightly misplaced, allowing striker Ellis Simms to steal in. He cut inside from the left and unleashed a piledriver from the edge of the box that Lee Nicholls did amazingly with to tip onto his bar, only for the ball to bounce down and hit Yasin Ayari before dribbling over the line. The midfielder looked surprised he wasn’t penalised for either being offside or handball, but replays showed he was probably OK on both counts.
Town managed to stay in the game despite being below par, giving Moore and his coaches the chance to regroup the side and change a few details. That worked, as Town immediately managed to get a foot on the ball, press Coventry better as they tried to build out from the back and force the play to take place in the opponent’s half.
For 25 minutes, Town had the better of the play and created a few chances of note. Wiles and Burgzorg soon combined down our left, only for the midfielder to dummy a pass back to the edge of the box from the Dutchman with no teammate behind him.
The excellent Jack Rudoni fired over from outside the box soon after but did test goalkeeper Ben Wilson in the 56th minute after a good move. Nakayama found left wing-back Jaheim Headley with a header, and he cut inside Coventry winger Sakamoto before squaring the ball across the edge of the penalty area for Rudoni to stride onto, but he placed his first-time effort too close to the ‘keeper.
Town kept coming, and Wilson had to push away a solid strike from Burgzorg just three minutes later after the Mainz loanee showed quick feet to work room for a snapshot.
A corner just after the hour mark caused chaos in the Coventry area, but they managed to see out the situation by blocking a shot from Koroma and scrambling Pearson’s follow-up header clear.
Sorba Thomas soon entered the fray and forced Wilson to push his free kick away, diving to his left side, after Josh Eccles had tripped Ben Jackson.
With time running out, Moore finally made more changes, bringing on strikers Kian Harratt and Kyle Hudlin and switching to a back four.
Town kept probing, with Rudoni booked for apparent simulation when he was convinced he was due an 85th minute penalty, but then had to be thankful to Lee Nicholls for keeping out Coventry’s only chance of note with three minutes of normal time left. A ball pulled back from out left side was swept goalwards, but Nicholls made a great initial save before substitute Hadji Wright fired the rebound over from very close range.
That proved to be a huge moment when Helik equalised in added time. A knock-down was directed to Rudoni, who pushed the ball down the right to find the run of Thomas; his cut back was towards Harratt and he managed, via a deflection, to divert the ball to the back post, where Helik showed good feet to divert the ball into the top corner with his left foot!
The Pole’s second of the season sparked great celebrations between the Town players in the corner, and they regrouped to see out a late Coventry corner before the referee blew his whistle.
Town’s team vs Coventry City (3-5-2)
Lee Nicholls; Matty Pearson, Michał Helik, Yuta Nakayama; Ben Jackson, Ben Wiles (Kyle Hudlin, 84’), Jonathan Hogg (c), Jack Rudoni, Jaheim Headley (Sorba Thomas, 64’); Delano Burgzorg, Josh Koroma (Kian Harratt, 78’)
Chris Maxwell; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Brahima Diarra, Tom Edwards, Pat Jones, Tom Lees
Josh Koroma (66’), Michał Helik (79’), Jack Rudoni (85’)
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