Huddersfield leapfrogged Sheffield United after their came from behind to beat Brentford in a close encounter at the Galpharm Stadium. After a torrid opening half hour, Huddersfield soon turned the game around across nine minutes in each half albeit amid controversy.
The West Yorkshire club wasn’t the quickest out of the blocks as Brentford took the game to the Terriers who started the day in third place. With Charlton beating Sheffield United at The Valley, they knew a win would take them into the automatic promotion places.
However, it was Brentford who took a shock lead shortly after the 20-minute mark when a soft but mistimed tackle from the Town captain, Peter Clarke saw the visitors awarded a penalty. Jamie McCombe then voiced the crowd’s frustration in a slightly dubious decision, being booked for hammering the ball into the advertising hoardings.
Gary Alexander then sent Ian Bennett the wrong way to put the club who sat ninth into a shock lead. The London club did deserve to be in front and Alexander soon doubled his tally when he ghosted in behind both McCombe and Clarke to finish from close range with a volley.
Arguably the most galling aspect of the match despite two controversial Huddersfield goals later on for Brentford would be Marcus Bean’s glorious opportunity which would’ve sealed the match for the visitors. Bean raced through on goal just moments after Brentford’s third and only needed to beat Bennett but his effort was rather tame and we all know what happened next.
At this point in the game, Town were 2-0 down at home and with the half hour fast approaching, Clarke was plumping to bring on a substitute but Gary Roberts’ intimidating effort was pushed onto the crossbar, almost breaking the woodwork in the process. From the corner Town finally sought their way back into the match as Alan Lee headed home a controversial header from close range.
Lee connected with the looping 50/50 and Richard Lee, the Brentford goalkeeper, stood in the way between the striker and the goal. On the goalline, Lee put his elbow in Lee’s face, seemingly fouling the ‘keeper but as he wheeled away in celebration there was no signal of a linesman’s flag or a referee’s whistle.
Huddersfield were back in the game.
If Brentford manager Uwe Rosler wasn’t sick to his stomach, the equaliser coming in the second of a proposed three minutes of first half stoppage time. Rosler will be wondering why three minutes had been awarded without major incident in the match. However, Jamie McCombe’s glancing header from a low Danny Ward cross had looped over Richard Lee and nestled neatly in the bottom corner.
McCombe perhaps saved his teammates from a less extreme and a more diluted hairdryer treatment at half-time.
The half-time had been and gone and the home side now had the momentum to go on, looking favourites to take the lead. Gary Roberts cracked the woodwork for the second time soon after the break with his lofted effort but soon enough Huddersfield had taken the lead for the first time in the match.
The second half was far less inventive from both sides and not as action packed but the biggest point was Jordan Rhodes and his 26th league goal of the season with a superb run. The goal was created by Danny Ward’s deep long ball which allowed the young Scottish striker to run at the one remaining Brentford defender which stood in front of him and a one-on-one situation.
Rhodes’ sly shimmy around the aforementioned defender had him within a stroke of the ball of the winning goal. The Sky Sports commentary duly noted it mirrored the ability of a classic Thierry Henry goal as Rhodes nonchalantly placed the ball into the bottom right-hand goal.
It was all too easy for Rhodes who has been scouted by many top clubs including Liverpool and West Ham United. Whilst fans and the manager alike agree that the star striker is not for sale, if Rhodes is to stay at the Galpharm set-up then they would have to grant him Championship football via promotion, at the very least.
Anthony Pilkington soon left when he couldn’t be promised a higher level of football at the Galpharm and many names such as Jack Hunt and Danny Ward who have been integral players for Town this season may follow suit as well as Rhodes.
With the likes of Ward, Alan Lee and Gary Roberts being substituted, it was clear that Clark was ready to settle for a slender 3-2 win which was enough to put them in 2nd with a better points tally than last season. Their run of losing only 1 of 26 home games continues with the solid win over Brentford, making it their first win over the London club at home since 2005.
Huddersfield are almost definitely in the run for automatic promotion with the Sheffield club despite stuttering form of late, that is for sure.
Huddersfield 3-2 Brentford
Alexander pen 21’, 29’
Huddersfield: Bennett, Naysmith, Peter Clarke, McCombe, Hunt, Roberts (Cadamarteri 67), Gobern, Ward (Tom Clarke 83), Miller, Rhodes, Lee (Robinson 71)
Subs Not Used: Colgan, Parkin
Booked: McCombe, Cadamarteri
Brentford: Lee, Eger, Bennett, Bidwell, Legge, Bean (Weston 65), Saunders (Forrester 76), Douglas, McGinn (Donaldson 58), Diagouraga, Alexander
Subs Not Used: Moore, Dean
Booked: Bidwell, Legge