Huddersfield Town 1 Barnsley FC 0. Town progress as it's the same old story for Reds

IT was a game which told us plenty of what we already knew.

Huddersfield Town are hard to beat, even if they often do not make it easy for themselves in the second half of games.

Barnsley, by contrast, are toothless and lack end product with debutant Jamal Blackman not troubled in the home goal this afternoon. They also don’t have much luck after seeing a late goal ruled out at the death for a second successive game.

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On this occasion, Michal Helik’s celebrations were caught short after heading home - due to a perceived push on Matty Pearson by Amine Bassi.

Duane Holmes celebrates scoring the only goal of the game for Huddersfield with team-mate Carel Eiting. Picture: Simon Hulme.

At the venue where Barnsley last sampled an away success last April - 18 games ago - there was a familiar feeling at the end for the 2,270 Reds supporters.

The moment of quality came from those in blue and white with Duane Holmes finishing off a good move with his fifth goal of the season in the first half as Huddersfield progressed into the fifth round for the first time since 2017-18.

In atrocious conditions with the unrelenting rain sweeping in well before kick-off, it looked to be a day for the good, honest and solid professionals who don’t mind rolling their sleeves up and fighting battles.

Quality was likely to be at a premium, but when it arrived, it came from Town, who made their mark on 19 minutes.

Sorba Thomas’s perceptive lofted pass was nodded on by Josh Koroma, whose cushioned header found the supporting Holmes, who drilled home clinically.

It proved the difference and Town - boasting an 11-match unbeaten sequence in all competitions ahead of the game - looked the more likely with Jon Russell looking a dominant force in midfield.

Barnsley, who made six changes from midweek with Bassi and Aiden Marsh handed full debuts and Aapo Halme making his first appearance since September 18, were tippy-tappy and lacked conviction, incision and quality - a regular refrain in a confidence-sapping season.

Their best moment arrived courtesy of a home player shortly after Town’s opener.

Liam Kitching’s cross on the left was sliced towards his own goal by Naby Sarr, with his clearance hitting the post and the Terriers handed a reprieve.

The first case came to Town, with Jordan Rhodes, on his 32nd birthday, firing into the side-netting at the near post after good work by Carel Eiting and Thomas.

After their breakthrough, Town tested Jack Walton just after the half-hour with Russell driving forward after an error from Romal Palmer to supply Koroma, who cut inside and saw his angled low shot parried.

Koroma almost caught the Reds cold on the counter before the break, cashing in on an error from Meltham-born Jordan Williams, returning to his boyhood club, only for Walton to rush out and save the day with a decent block.

The visitors made three changes in the second half, with Josh Benson, Carlton Morris and Michal Helik entering the fray.

The arrival of Benson and Morris did perk up Barnsley as Town endured a lull at the start of the second half, but the visitors still failed to trouble Jamal Blackman on his debut.

Liam Kitching put one header over from Benson’s centre and Morris curled a shot wide, but there was a discernible and obvious lack of potency.

Town finished strongly, with substitute Danel Sinani firing wide and fellow replacement Danny Ward rattling the post with a shot from Josh Ruffels’ cross before Thomas was denied by an excellent block from Walton before firing the rebound.

Helik then saw his header controversially ruled out. It never rains, but pours when you are doing it tough.

Russell also missed a great chance moments before the final whistle to seal a good game, but one was enough.

Huddersfield Town: Blackman; Pipa (Turton 30), Pearson, Sarr, Ruffles; Russell, Eiting (O’Brien 60), Holmes (Lees 83); Thomas, Rhodes (Ward 83), Koroma (Sinani 60). Substitutes unused: Nicholls, Toffolo, High, Campbell.

Barnsley: Walton; J Williams, Andersen, Halme (Helik 45), Kitching; Marsh (Benson 45), Gomes, Palmer (Cole 78), Styles; Bassi; Leya Iseka (Morris 45). Substitutes unused: Jinadu, Collins, Hondermarck, Vita, Thompson.

Referee: J Simpson (Lancs).

Attendance: 16,605 (2,270 Barnsley fans).