United clinch last-gasp 2-1 win to take the derby spoils...
HUDDERSFIELD 1 (Bunn 26), UNITED 2 (Byram 7, Sharp 90).
Huddersfield: Murphy, Edgar, Hudson, Lynch (Wallace 87), Robinson, Butterfield, Scannell, Coady, Smith (Lolley 90), Vaughan, Wells (Bunn 9). Subs. Allinson, Dixon, Gobern, Majewski.
United: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, C Taylor, Austin, Murphy, Mowatt (Antenucci 59), Cook (Sharp 86), Byram, Morison. Subs. S Taylor, Berardi, Bianchi, Sloth, Montenegro.
Referee: C Foy
Booked: Butterfield, Lynch (Huddersfield), Taylor, Austin, Sharp (United)
For the Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield, United head coach Neil Redfearn made just the one change from the win over Bournemouth as new signing Sol Bamba came into defence to make his debut in place of the suspended Giuseppe Bellusci.
The game started in a typically high-octane fashion, with Sean Scannell lashing wide from distance inside the opening minute as the hosts had the afternoon’s first sight of goal. But United looked to respond and, shortly after Sam Byram’s path to goal was blocked, Luke Murphy forced a fine, two-handed save from goalkeeper Joe Murphy to keep out his rasping 25-yard drive.
And Murphy was at the heart of things again on the seventh minute as Redfearn’s side took an early lead. The in-form midfielder cut apart the Huddersfield defence with a pin-point pass to pick out the onrushing Byram, who lofted the ball delicately over Murphy’s head to spark rapturous scenes among the travelling fans.
Tommy Smith and David Edgar both threatened with speculative efforts from distance as the first half approached the midway point, but Marco Silvestri was yet to be tested between the sticks. Jacob Butterfield saw his volley deflected wide after the ball fell kindly to him inside the area and the hosts found themselves level from the resulting corner on 26 minutes, substitute Harry Bunn heading home at the back post.
The Terriers were buoyed and Silvestri was soon called into action to clutch onto James Vaughan’s diving header before Butterfield smashed well over the bar. Huddersfield then came within inches of going ahead on the stroke of half-time as Scannell twisted his way into the area before firing just wide of Silvestri’s far post.
The half-time whistle came at a welcome time for United as Huddersfield looked to be getting on the front foot, but Scannell’s chance proved to be the final piece of goalmouth action inside a fiery opening 45 minutes.
Both sides returned from the break unchanged and Town looked to pick up from where they left off. Liam Cooper was forced to stand firm to guide Scannell’s low cross behind before Joel Lynch towered a header over the bar from the resulting corner.
United were being forced to withstand some serious pressure from the hosts but managed to clear their lines from the goalmouth scramble which ensued after another dangerous-looking corner. Some respite was to come for Redfearn’s men, though, as Alex Mowatt sent a rasping strike flying over Murphy’s bar.
That happened to be the young midfielder’s final contribution of the afternoon as he made way for Mirco Antenucci in an attack-minded change on the hour mark. The game remained firmly on edge and a sense of tension began to mount at the John Smith’s despite few clear-cut chances at either end.
That was until Butterfield drilled across the face of Silvestri’s goal on 75 minutes after working his way towards the byline before Steve Morison was in the right place at the right time to nod clear a goalbound header as Huddersfield continued to ask questions of the United defence.
But two glaring openings were to come in quick succession at the opposite end as United issued a late reminder of their capabilities going forward. First, Antenucci blazed over from inside the box after being teed up perfectly by Byram before Morison lashed a half-volley inches wide after latching onto a long ball over the top.
And there was still to be late drama as substitute Billy Sharp, on for the injured Lewis Cook, stooped at the back post to bravely head United back into the lead in the final minute. Some fine play down the right from Byram freed up Antenucci to cross for Sharp and the striker added his third of the season right in front of the delirious visiting army.
Four minutes were added on at the end of the 90 but there was an eight minute wait before the restart as Smith received treatment before being stretchered off following a collision in the build up to Sharp’s goal.
It looked set to be a nervy finale, but United held on to secure back-to-back Championship wins for only the second time this season and make it three wins on the bounce over their local rivals in the most dramatic fashion.