Huddersfield Town 2 - West Bromwich Albion 2
Another frustrating one that we should’ve won despite being 2-0 down.
I should reiterate I’m not a Bruce fan or apologist - I didn’t want him in the first place and would’ve preferred him to go over the summer.
BUT... what can he do here without a striker? This was another game where, despite a slow start in this instance, we totally battered them for most of the game and created enough chances to win comfortably.
In my own view, Grant is so bad that we’re playing with 10 men every time he starts and today was no different. It’s got to the point now where I’d give Robbo 3 games because he can’t be any worse.
The pattern of the game was typical of us this season.We had most of the ball, got into great situations and hardly worked their keeper whereas our opponents were crap but had physical and mobile strikers who made way more of their breaks and looked as likely or more likely to score.
Their opener was another great strike but we were napping and didn’t get out to put a block in quick enough. I’m not sure Button could’ve got across quicker but we are conceding lots from range, and seemingly conceding goals from most attempts on target which is a worry.
After their goal we seemed to dominate even more but finishing or the final ball was a problem... and Grant’s movement/awareness really didn’t help our attackers. I thought we’d created enough to take the lead though, let alone equalise.
In the run up to their second I thought Molumby was fouled with a nudge from behind - how many times are those given when an attacker touches a defender? But after that O’Shea made a right mess of dealing with it and Ajayi was left 3 on 1 and so retreated, possibly getting his angles a bit wrong and Button was beaten with a smash inside his near post.
Thankfully before half-time Grady, who had really started to demand the ball all over the place, showed fast feet and composure to put the ball across the 6 yard box and Wallace had the brains and desire to get into to right zone for a finish.
The second half was mostly relentless Albion pressure and we got the equaliser early. By now Swift and Wallace had joined the Grady show and were causing problems. It was nice to see Wallace blast the ball in first time after a clever flick from Swift - too many times otherwise we take a touch or strike weakly at the keeper.
After that we had more chances with Grady, Grant and Yokuslu missing the big ones. As these chances came and went we got a bit more desperate and impatient and Huddersfield held on. Bruce gambled by taking off Molumby (whose energy if not his quality had contributed to our territorial dominance) and dropping Swift back next to Yokuslu to get Robbo on.
It worked in that chances were created including what looked like a fairly certain penalty which got Bruce a booking for his complaints, but it left us vulnerable to counters and Huddersfield started winning more second balls and struck the post late on from one such scenario.
From 2-0 down a point is okay but we’ve dropped so many points already due to our lacking a couple of forwards… I hope the wait is worth it. Not defending the owners but for the considerable outlay on Zohore, Grant and Dike you’d expect a lot more than we’ve got.
Overall this is still miles better than last season and the horrendous Val-ball which at this stage had results to mask its serious shortcomings. We’re very close and with a half-decent striker might well have won every game.
A very weird one this. Terrible start to the first half, with long ball tactics that were never going to see the ball stick up top, given what's up there, then going 2-0 down to goals where we just switched off, only to finally start to play some football and pull a fine goal back. Second half then all Albion, in terms of posession anyway, but still a couple of scares before leaving with a point.
Bruce kept the same, and probably our best availble, starting league XI, but, for the first five minutes, all that seemed to be being asked of them was to launch it long, only to watch it not flicked on. When the ball finally fell to earth, Anjorin, Huddersfield's on-loan Chelsea player, accelerated past a rather ponderous Yokuslu but Ajayi was able to get across and block. The resulting swung in corner resulted in another one, and from that one, Huddersfield overloaded a short one which left their Chelsea loanee all the time he wanted to curl one into the far side netting.
Albion woke up slightly, and a well worked move, around 20 mins, allowed Wallace to find Yokuslu on the spot but his shot hit the keeper, and then after the home soide coughed up posession, Wallace fed Grant but the keeper blocked the attempt. Grant would be put in again, by Diangana, however, once the number nine had fallen to the floor, Huddersfield simply wanted it more on the break, first as Moulby was presured into knocking it back and out wide, and then, as O'Shea came across to shepherd it out for just a throw, Anjorin stole it off him, drove into towards the goal and finished neatly past Button.
Wasn't looking good at that point but within five minutes, we finally saw some nice one-two play down the left and Diangana ended up pulling one back for Wallace and he made no mistake from 10 yards out, and so got his first goal for the club.
He'd get his second on 56 minutes, after Swift skilfully chested down a bit on aimless lob on the edge of the box before cushioning a pass into the path of the right winger who vollyed home emphatically, with the Albion getting back on terms being no less than they deserved, at least for dominating the second half up to then, albeit not creating all that much.
On the hour mark, Swift would tee up Yokuslu but his shot from a fairly central location would leave the field halfway to the corner flag, and five minutes later, after Townsend had played in Grant, the keeper got his angles right, and Diagana would get to volley wide from the corner.
Not realy sure what the substitutions were supposed to do, with Robinson for Molumby, with ten to go, suggesting that Bruce was happy with the line-leader, and then TGH for Furlong with five to go, equally baffling, unless the Huddersfield sub's poor header from 6 yards out was somehow thought to be Furlong's fault?
There'd still be time for the home side to hit the post as they surged up the field and for Bruce to get booked aftwer complaining about a penatly that wasn't given for a challenge on Grant as he was running away from goal to try and collect a Robinson pass. Maybe if it had, he would have dispatched it as he does most penalties and so justified still being on the pitch. Then again, with Phillips going down sick before thee game, who else could could have come on and played up front. We really do need to bring a number nine in, possibly even two, before the window closes or else we are gong to struggle.
Given we'd gone 2-0 down, I was happy with the point, given that it highlighted the fact that we bossed the second half but didn't create enough. One negative though, would be Button's distribution, which was pretty rank all game, then again, is he being told to knock it long?
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