Huddersfield Town 2 Hull City 2: Automatic promotion hopes ‘remote’, concedes Bruce

Huddersfield v Hull.
Huddersfield v Hull.
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HONOURS ended even in a pulsating all-Yorkshire clash thanks to a dramatic last gasp equaliser by Adama Diomande.

The Norwegian striker headed in City’s second equaliser of the afternoon in the 93rd minute.

It was heartbreak for Town, who thought their long wait for a victory against one of the promotion chasing pack had finally ended when Harry Maguire put through his own goal in the last minute of normal time.

The hosts had gone ahead through Jamie Paterson only to be pegged back by Abel Hernandez with 13 minutes remaining.

That set up a frantic finale that kept the 12,883 crowd gripped to the very last kick and both teams could feel hard done by at the end to be denied the win.

Hull’s defending was woeful but they attacked with purpose throughout, while Town more than matched the visitors in their quest to end that 15-game wait for a prized scalp in the Championship.

Thanks to Diomande, however, Town’s record against the top eight stands at 13 defeats and three draws.

The big news for City ahead of kick-off was Bruce’s decision to revert to the 3-5-2 formation that had helped the East Riding club to promotion three years ago.

With Ahmed Elmohamady and Andrew Robertson charged with getting forward as often as possible.

In terms of bringing width to the Hull attack, it worked well with both getting in promising positions. The flipside, however, is the space that was left behind, as happened on just two minutes when Joe Lolley was released by Emyr Huws with Robertson upfield.

Only an awful first touch from the former Kidderminster Harriers man allowed the Tigers off the hook.

Three minutes later, Elmohamady’s pace on the right exposed Huddersfield but Abel Hernandez could only head straight into the hands of Jed Steer.

The Egyptian proved a dangerous threat in the first half and he set up Tom Huddlestone on 16 minutes but Tommy Smith blocked the shot.

Town also had chances in an open first half, Jamie Paterson reacting quickest to a Mark Hudson knockdown only to then overhit his own cross with Nahki Wells free in the middle.

Joe Lolley also shot wide from distance before Wells also missed the target following excellent work from Emyr Huws.

The breakthrough came five minutes before the break. Again, Elmohamady was caught upfield and James Husband exposed this to pick out Paterson, who was allowed sufficient space to pick his spot in Allan McGregor’s net.

Hull should have equalised in first half stoppage time but Alex Bruce inexplicably shot over after being presented with a great chance by Snodgrass.

McGregor twice saved the Tigers in the early stages of the second half. First, he touched a Wells shot beyond the post after Rajiv van La Parra had opened up the visitors.

Then, just moments later, Huws was left totally unmarked by the Hull defence but his header from four yards was tipped over by McGregor.

City raced up the other end and Tom Huddlestone rattled the crossbar with a shot that took a deflection off Lolley but, in truth, the visitors seemed to have lost their way.

Then, though, came the equaliser with 13 minutes remaining. Sone Aluko did brilliantly on the right flank to keep the ball alive before crossing for Hernandez to fire in.

Mark Hudson had to dive in and bravely head clear under pressure from Hernandez as the uruguayan tried to meet a Robertson cross.

Huddersfield had been sitting far too deep at that stage but they broke brilliantly in the 90th minute to open up the visitors.

Harry Bunn was involved several times in a sweeping move down the left and he drilled in a cross that Harry Maguire put into his own net.

Six minutes of stoppage time were the signalled and Hull took three of those to reply when Diomande headed in at the far post.

Steve Bruce accepts Hull’s hopes of automatic promotion look “remote”.

“If I was a betting man, you’d say yes (automatic promotion is gone),” boss Bruce said.

“However, if we have to go through the play-offs, we have to cement our position in the play-offs first.

“There’s six games to go and we can still get 18 points, which would take us to 88 points.

“I have to say it looks a bit remote at the minute because just at the wrong time we’ve stumbled.

“Hopefully the goal from Abel will kick-charge him in, but we’ve shot ourselves in the foot by missing big opportunities that have come our way.

“Look, we’ve had one win in eight - probably at the wrong time.

“It hasn’t happened for us and today was typical of what it has been for the last six weeks. We’ve created enough chances and unfortunately made mistakes.

“We’ve made mistakes for their goal, in particular the first one and then we give them an own goal, which is tough to take.”

Huddersfield counterpart David Wagner found Diomande’s late leveller difficult to stomach, but could have few complaints with his side’s performance.

The draw ended a run of back-to-back defeats and the Terriers head coach was pleased by his team’s output.

“I am long enough in this business to know it is only over when the final whistle comes,” Wagner said.

“I think we were in a good way (at the end) but this is a very strong side.

“We were a little bit unlucky that there was a touch and we were not unable to avoid the header, but mistakes happen. It is part of the game.

“The timing was not the best today, but I am satisfied with the performance, with the reaction after the last game on Tuesday (when Huddersfield lost 3-0 at Middlesbrough) where we criticised ourselves.

“We asked ourselves to show the right reaction against another very strong side and this is what we did today.”

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