HOW Huddersfield Town have struck Welsh gold with a boy from Llanelli called Emyr Huws.
The loanee midfielder, given name checks by the likes of Patrick Vieira, Michael Owen and Chris Coleman during the early days of his career as a precocious talent at Manchester City, further endeared himself to Huddersfield fans last night.
He baled out Town with his 85th-minute long-range shot, which flew in off the underside of the bar following a deflection off Jack Hobbs.
His fourth goal in three matches cancelled out Ryan Mendes’s 23rd-minute opener.
Despite having a largely quiet match, the 21-year-old – top-scorer for Town by two goals despite only joining on a season-long loan from Wigan late last month – produced one telling moment.
That, as much as anything, is illustrative of his importance already to Hudderfield, with the biggest testament to him being that the void left following the big-money transfer of Jacob Butterfield is not proving the cavernous one many supporters feared.
Town’s bid for three consecutive Championship wins for just the third time since returning to the second-tier for the 2012-13 campaign – it last occurred in December 2013 – has to wait.
But accruing seven points from a possible nine constitutes the right type of disappointment, many would venture.
Without a win in six Championship matches following a 2-0 loss at Cardiff City on September 12 which left them second-from-bottom with just a meagre three points, Town are making substantive progress.
If any dispirited Town supporter travelling back from the Principality just under a fortnight ago had been offered that seven-point haul from the club’s next three games, they would have taken it without a moments’ hesitation.
Manager Chris Powell had spoken before the game of Town being a match for anyone in the Championship if they could play to their potential, no doubt enthused by their sumptuous offering against Bolton last time out.
This was a display which lacked stardust, with Town’s game-changers subdued, but Huws saved a choice contribution for a timely juncture
The only time that Huddersfield, fielding an unchanged line-up for the third game running, looked threatening was in a bright opening.
Loanee Mustapha Carayol, finally firing after fully recovering from a serious long-term knee injury sustained at parent club Middlesbrough, looked particularly lively. It was fellow loanee Elliott Ward, one of three home players starting against their former club, who had Town’s best chance, glancing a header wide after being left unmarked following Sean Scannell’s corner.
Harry Bunn, supporting Ishmael Miller, also saw a low shot fielded by Dorus De Vries.
But Forest stunned the hosts by grabbing a goal wholly against the run of play.
Daniel Pinillos found space on the left and his centre was nodded back into the 18-yard box by Eric Lichaj where the Mendes arrived right on cue to fire the ball high past Jed Steer.
The development rattled Town who proceeded to lose their way somewhat up to the break.
The goal gave Forest, who were proficient and organised without displaying much polish, something to hang onto, with their only other dangerous moment seeing a long-range effort from Jamie Ward held by Steer.
Half-time allowed Town to regroup and an early chance for Bunn, deflected wide off Kelvin Wilson, hinted at a stirring riposte. But it proved illusionary with play becoming scrappy, which suited Forest, unbeaten in three previous games on the road.
Quality and cohesion from Town were in short supply with the Forest rearguard, with Michael Mancienne policing the area just in front of the back four, providing sturdy protection for De Vries.
Nahki Wells entered the fray midway through the second period in an atempt to breathe new life into fading Town, but to limited effect.
Ex-Forest defender Joel Lynch headed over following a corner and, at the other end, Chris O’Grady tested Steer and it was all rather token and tame from the hosts and a world away from the second-half tempo against Bolton.
Forest almost wrapped it up 12 minutes from time with substitute Chris Burke hitting a post after being sent clear with O’Grady’s follow-up somehow blocked on the line by Martin Cranie.
It proved pivotal and with time running out and hope seemingly ebbing away, Huws secured a valuable point for Town in the nick of time.
Huddersfield Town: Steer; Cranie, Ward, Lynch, Davidson; Whitehead; Scannell (Lolley 79), Huws, Carayol (Wells 67); Bunn, Miller. Substitutes unused: Allinson, Smith, Hogg, Dempsey, Bojaj.
Nottingham Forest: De Vries; Lichaj, Hobbs, Wilson, Pinillos; Macienne; Lansbury, Vaughan, Mendes (Walker 83); Ward (Burke 76), O’Grady. Substitutes unused: Evtimov, Ebecilio, Oliveira, Williams, Blackstock.
Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire).