As we drifted away from the Valley yesterday, the talk was largely of another two home points lost, although I thought Huddersfield did enough to warrant their point. Once again we failed to beat a side who had to play with only ten men for most of the match and once again we fell pray to a late equaliser which had a touch of misfortune about it in terms of the award of the penalty.
On reflection, Huddersfield looked a better side than they did last year when they visited with Jordan Rhodes in their ranks. If you accept that they were also missing four first-teamers, they did very well to take the game to us in the first half and to stand up to what we threw at them in the second. We could have been more adventurous after taking the lead, especially considering they were a man down but with three minutes left of normal time I was convinced we would see it out.
The penalty was a surprise to me but then again so were many of Lee Collins' other decisions on the day, starting with the sending off which was extremely harsh on Keith Southern. He clattered Michael Morrison alright but Morrison went in fully committed as well and it was only the angle of Southern's tackle that meant Morrison came off second-best. The ref may say both of Southern's feet were off the ground but he was clearly going for the ball and Morrison didn't appeal. The decision rightly angered the visiting fans but Collins then proceeded to make a number of iffy calls which all went went against Town.
Late on I was thinking that we were seeing more of our earlier season bad luck ironed out when Collins levelled things up with the penalty for Town. Solly appeared to believe it had been given for handball in the collision with Peter Clarke as he gesticulated to his head but the replay suggests it was the fact that Clarke was cleaned out in the challenge. Good too to see Manny Frimpong get a debut, one I particularly enjoyed. Frimpong has a low centre-of-gravity, turns quickly left or right and can spot and thread a pass, something we struggle to do. Bradley Wright-Phillips might be grateful for that when he gets his next start.
The first-half was pretty uneventful but the game livened up after the break and we scored a very polished goal on the hour after a sweeping five-man move from left to right was stroked home by Rob Hulse after Bradley Pritchard had been fed-in on the right side of the box to pick his cross.
As I have already said, we were more content to pass the ball back and forth across the midfield after that and use the defence for an out ball instead of going for the Huddersfield jugular. There was certainly a second goal in us but we encouraged Town to come out and go for it and they were spurred by a succession of late corners which eventually lead to the penalty. Even after that we managed to carve them open again but Rob Hulse could only head at Smithies in the centre of goal and despite there being plenty on the header, Smithies somehow managed to beat it out.
As long as we beat Peterborough on Tuesday evening, this result won't look so bad. Fail on Tuesday and the conclusion drawn will inevitably be that we are genuinely struggling at home.