Home joy at last for Huddersfield Town as Hull City lick their wounds

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SATURDAY night fever was all the rage again in Huddersfield – and there was no doubting how deep Christopher Schindler’s love was for the Terriers.

The Town captain, who has suffered more than most during the club’s oppressive 2019 – a year which has bordered on the downright cruel – finally let his hair down at the final whistle.

On target: Huddersfield's Juninho Bacuna congratulated on his goal against Hull City. Picture: Graham Crowther

On target: Huddersfield's Juninho Bacuna congratulated on his goal against Hull City. Picture: Graham Crowther

His imitation of the post-match celebrations which were a regular feature and emblematic of the club’s golden times under David Wagner represented a cathartic moment for all those connected with Huddersfield Town.

Certainly, a memorable one for chairman Phil Hodgkinson. Bedecked in a blue and white scarf in the Revell Ward stand, his pride and relief at seeing his side win on home soil for the first time under his watch will have been palpable.

By contrast, this was a tough occasion for those of a Hull City persuasion, without question.

But few outside of East Yorkshire could have denied Huddersfield their day and night at long last as they won on a Saturday for the first time in 539 days – and they did it in consummate style.

When Danny and Nicky (Cowley) came in, you could feel they could do it with the way they talk to you and the detail in which they work on things. They are doing a tremendous job and I think we can progress under them and get better and better.

Christopher Schindler

Instead of another restless Saturday night poring over a deflating result, Schindler revealed that he was off to Paris for a mini-break.

The French capital may be the city of love, but there was plenty of ooh la la in Huddersfield.

Schindler, who played his part in Town recording back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since August, 2017, said: “It is a great relief and I am so happy that we could give the supporters something to cheer and a good weekend – and a good feeling for the two weeks without a game.

“Our run without a win on a Saturday has been crazy. It kind of became a habit.

“When Danny and Nicky (Cowley) came in, you could feel they could do it with the way they talk to you and the detail in which they work on things. They are doing a tremendous job and I think we can progress under them and get better and better.

“The impact they have had on us as a team and how you feel on the pitch is already very positive. There is something changing.”

The key change on the day unquestionably arrived when Juninho Bacuna entered the fray midway through the second half of a game which was still tantalisingly poised, despite the hosts making the more pressing case.

It was a timely call from Danny Cowley and reaffirmed the belief that he is starting to win friends and influence people among a fanbase craving inspiration and a figure to rally around again.

Grant McCann’s own substitutions had nowhere near the same effect, quite the opposite. It was that sort of day for Hull.

A day when their performance was largely docile and got what it deserved, which was nothing, which the candid Tigers chief openly – and refreshingly – admitted afterwards.

Too many Hull players lost their battles with the shackles firmly kept on talismanic duo of Jarrod Bowen and Kamil Grosicki. Without their impact, the Tigers demonstrably had no Plan B.

Town had the game-changer in Bacuna, who soon teed up Karlan Grant, whose turn and instinctive strike to break the deadlock further name-checked a player with the potential to make a strong impact at Championship level.

Bacuna’s blistering and similarly clinical drive to effectively nail the issue six minutes later following a tidy cut-back from Adama Diakhaby – one of several in home jerseys to excel – reinforced the shrewdness of his introduction.

The Terriers nation, understandably, were having a ball with seeing out a game in comfort being a precious commodity. Something they had not experienced for a good while.

Fittingly, the player who was at the epicentre of the hosts’ renaissance day, the unquenchable Lewis O’Brien, set up Town’s third – a milestone strike for Elias Kachunga, who blasted home at the far post to crown his 100th appearance for the club with a goal.

A player who is unstinting in his work-ethic and has the talent and attitude to match. Small wonder that Cowley instantly smiled when talk turned to the performance of O’Brien after the match.

When the discussion switched to the likes of Jaden Brown, whose fine late tackle to get in the way of a Tom Eaves’s drive and ensure that Town were afforded the fillip of a second successive clean sheet, Cowley’s eyes also lit up.

A display of purpose and pace from Diakhaby, who provided enough evidence to suggest that he can trouble second-tier rivals, also left him suitably impressed.

A long and winding road to go maybe, but a start for Cowley.

The smiles had been a while to come around again for Huddersfield, but for Hull, there was introspection.

After this loss, the fortnight-long international break may just drag a little bit.

Tigers captain Eric Lichaj said: “It is not good enough from the whole squad. It just was not our day, we were not the same team that we were against Sheffield (Wednesday).

“We need to look at what the problems are over the next week or two and change them and make sure we come out in the next two weeks after the international break ready to react, especially from this performance.

“With the squad that we have, everyone knows that we could be doing better than what we are right now.

“We should be because we have dropped some points and we know that and we need to just get better and this was a little backwards step.

“We need to take two forward after this international break.”