By Ed Henderson
The Golden Boys left West Yorkshire with their heads in their hands as they fell to a late 91st minute Huddersfield Town winner from Tom Ince.
It had been a fine defensive display up to that point from Javi Gracia’s side, but in true sucker-punch style, an unmarked Ince popped up at the death to ensure Town took the points.
The opening half an hour saw wave after wave of attack from Huddersfield, which Gracia’s men did superbly to defend.
Steve Mounié put his effort wide from a cross on ten minutes, in what was a sign of things to come. Moments later Adrian Mariappa, playing at left-back, denied Collin Quaner with a last-ditch tackle as he looked destined to put the ball into the bottom corner.
Central defenders Craig Cathcart – making a welcome return to the starting eleven – and Sebastian Prödl won header after header as the hosts peppered the box with crosses from either flank.
It took a good thirty minutes for the Hornets to show that they were not going to gift David Wagner’s side the points. Abdoulaye Doucouré flicked the ball to Troy Deeney who saw a well-executed shot deflect wide of the post off the foot of a defender.
Three minutes later, the Hornets felt as though they should have been awarded a penalty kick. But to their frustration, Craig Pawson saw otherwise, cautioning Pereyra for simulation as he took a tumble.
It took twenty minutes of the second-half for any notable action, bar a substitution apiece for both sides which saw Richarlison and Ince introduced to what was proving to be a high intensity affair.
Gracia’s side showed defensive qualities they’ve lacked of late, fashioning their own chance through Will Hughes, before Doucouré made a sublime tackle to deny Mounié who looked destined to slam the ball into the bottom corner.
The game continued to ebb and flow, with most of the play in the middle of the park. Alex Pritchard too was cautioned for simulation in the box as he went over a Prödl tackle.
It should have been a well-earned point for the Golden Boys, but instead it was none. In the final minutes substitute Ince was on hand to fire a loose-ball into the bottom corner, and send the home fans into delirium.
HORNETS | Karnezis (GK); Mariappa, Prödl, Cathcart, Janmaat; Doucouré, Capoue; Femenía (Richarlison, 58), Hughes (Sinclair, 90), Pereyra; Deeney (C) (Gray, 82).
Subs not used | Gomes (GK), Britos, Kabasele, Okaka.
Yellows | Janmaat (20), Pereyra (33)
TERRIERS | Lössl (GK); Hadergjonaj, Zanka, Schindler, Kongolo; Mooy, Hogg (C); Quaner (Ince, 60), Pritchard, Van la Parra (Billing, 77); Mounie (Depoitre, 71).
Subs not used | Coleman (GK), Smith, Malone, Löwe.
Goals | Ince (90)
Yellows | Zanka (45), Pritchard (73)