Burnley 1 Huddersfield Town 2: Thomas-inspired Terriers progress after stunning second half

WHO says the magic of the Cup is dead?

Influential substitute Sorba Thomas - who set up both of Huddersfield Town's goals - in the thick of the celebrations after the Terriers' leveller at Burnley. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Influential substitute Sorba Thomas - who set up both of Huddersfield Town's goals - in the thick of the celebrations after the Terriers' leveller at Burnley. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

At the venue where their joyous crusade to FA Cup glory began a century ago - and their run to the last eight in 1972 - Huddersfield Town afforded themselves a special afternoon.

They did it the hard way after going behind to Jay Rodriguez’s 28th-minute opener - and then saw Ryan Schofield exit the fray and young Australian Nicholas Bilokapic handed a debut.

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But an inspired and dominant second half in which Huddersfield were all over the Clarets like a cheap suit, while some inspired substitutions also helped, saw the visitors gloriously progress.

One of the replacements in Sorba Thomas set up both goals, teeing up Josh Koroma to level on 74 minutes with his first goal in 18 games - and then the winner three minutes from time from ex-Blackburn academy player Matty Pearson.

The big defender, who also counts Accrington among his old clubs, headed in Thomas’s corner to the delight of the raucous travelling contingent. It was certainly a merited moment and win.

Town fans travelled to Lancashire in good numbers and anticipation with a pre-match deluge failing to dampen their spirits.

Carlos Corberan - back on the bench after recovering from Covid - made seven changes and it was a significant afternoon for a number of those in blue and white.

One of them in Jon Russell comfortably had the visitors' best first-half chance and went agonisingly close to marking his full debut with a goal.

It came moments before the break when a brilliantly whipped-in free-kick from Danel Sinani was headed against the post by the midfielder.

Unfortunately, Sinani's fine delivery was the one moment of offensive quality in isolation from Town, who enjoyed a fair bit of possession and got into some promising situations, only for their decision-making or final pass to let them down, with Koroma being the biggest culprit.

Koroma was one of just four players who had lined up from the off six days earlier in the league at nearby Blackburn.

While it was almost a milestone moment for Russell, another Town player back in the spotlight in Schofield's major contribution left him with a headache.

He came off second best after racing out to challenge Chris Wood and after some attention, he was unable to continue after looking decidedly groggy, with Sydney-born Bilokapic coming on for a debut he would not have expecting.

Earlier, Schofield's sole work saw him get down low to block a low shot from Rodriguez following Aaron Lennon's clever pass, but he could not prevent Rodriguez from putting the Clarets ahead.

It came after Town dozed off following Dale Stephens' direct pass with Naby Sarr and Tom Lees - who had come back on the pitch moments earlier following treatment - with the latter playing Rodriguez onside.

The striker - whose four goals this season all arrived in an EFL Cup tie against Rochdale - nipped in to beat Schofield and head home.

At the other end, Jordan Rhodes, in his first start since August 7, had nothing to feed off on an afternoon when saw Pipa make his first start of the campaign and Josh Ruffels start a Town game for the first time.

On the resumption, attacking their bank of supporters, Town took the hint. The following did not need much encouragement, but the visitors provided it in any case after upping the intensity and tempo in their work.

Pipa fired off target, while a half-volley from Ruffels flew over before Russell produced a lovely swivel before shooting wide.

Koroma then cut inside and hit a well-struck curler, but unfortunately it did not threaten Nick Pope’s goal.

Burnley looked poor and unconvincing at the other end. Yet Town’s lack of a clinical edge was assisting them.

Corberan had seen enough and threw Danny Ward and Thomas on with the latter soon producing a fantastic first-time cross on the right which was begging to be attacked, but unfortunately no Town player anticipated it in the middle and gambled.

No fear as Huddersfield finally struck gold with Koroma getting his cherished goal after Burnley were unhinged down their left by Duane Holmes and Thomas after Matt Lowton’s error.

A stunning reaction save from Pope than kept out Holmes’s header and Sarr headed over from the resulting corner as Burnley rocked.

The door was blasted open from Pearson, with Town - who survived a late scare wen Tarkowski headed over at point-blank range - richly deserving their win.

Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Bardsley; Brownhill, Stephens (Dodgson 81), Westwood, Lennon; Rodriguez, Wood (Cork 45). Substitutes unused: Hennessey, Long, B Thomas, McGlynn, Helm.

Huddersfield Town: Schofield (Bilokapic 40); Pearson, Lees, Sarr; Pipa (S Thomas 69), Hogg (O’Brien 57), Russell, Ruffels, Sinani (Holmes 59), Rhodes (Ward 70), Koroma. Substitutes unused: Toffolo, High, Turton, Campbell.

Referee: A Marriner (West Midlands)