Huddersfield Town 0 Bristol City 0: Terriers claim a clean sheet but more conviction - and luck - needed

ON a night of slim pickings in a season of slim pickings, you have to take what you can get, so Huddersfield Town should take comfort from a clean sheet against Bristol City which lifted them off the bottom of the Championship.

But it could have been more and probably needed to be.

After consecutive 4-0 defeats, a shut-out was exactly what the Terriers needed from their game in hand.

Yet in a desperate game they looked painfully short of confidence and luck – not a good combination for a team hoping to stay up.

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OUTNUMBERED: Huddersfield Town's Brahima Diarra is crowded outOUTNUMBERED: Huddersfield Town's Brahima Diarra is crowded out
OUTNUMBERED: Huddersfield Town's Brahima Diarra is crowded out

This was a match between two sides lacking conviction in front of goal that ended with what-might-have-beens for the hosts especially.

They could well have had a first-penalty and in time added on at the end Martyn Waghorn's shot was headed off the line by Andreas Weimann before Max O'Leary saved with his feet from Jack Rudoni.

Neil Warnock does not have a team going through the motions but nor does he have a group of players who look as if they believe they should be, never mind will be, in next season's second tier.

After Saturday's demoralising thrashing by Coventry City and on a bitterly cold night, the stadium was subdued bar the cluster of south stand fans incessantly chanting "Neil Warnock's barmy army" to the beat of the drum for the first half-hour.

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KEY MOMENT: Jay Dasilva's tackle on Brahima Diarra goes unpunishedKEY MOMENT: Jay Dasilva's tackle on Brahima Diarra goes unpunished
KEY MOMENT: Jay Dasilva's tackle on Brahima Diarra goes unpunished

The Terriers manager had told his players to show they cared but they did it more by kicking visiting players than the ball, committing 10 first-half fouls and having only 34 per cent of possession in the game.

Not that it would mattered had they just found the net.

If only Rudoni was as good at finishing attacking runs as he is making them.

With Huddersfield playing a 4-2-3-1 against City's midfield diamond, there was scope for Joseph Hungbo and Ben Jackson to get in behind the full-backs but after a chastening weekend, they were more likely to drop into a 4-4-1-1 as their team dropped into a md block.

Signs of a lack of confidence were everywhere.

There were groans when Rudoni passed up the chance to take a quick throw and catch City before they could reorganise. When Joseph Hungbo picked up Tomas Vaclik's punch and made a strong run inside Jay Dasilva he wasted it by failing to pick out Rudoni.

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Shortly afterwards Jackson picked up the ball with space down the left to dribble into but he ran it straight out of play. Matty Pearson and Jonathan Hogg hit passes woefully out of play to more groans.

The Terriers did, however, have penalty appeals waved away.

O'Leary cleaned out Danny Ward in the sixth minute, only for Leigh Doughty to waved play on, the goalkeeper’s good intentions perhaps working in his favour.

The striker went down groggy after being jolted by a shoulder barge minutes later and came off at half-time.

In the 45th minute Rudoni did well to win the ball and play in Brahima Diarra. Dasilva came across him and fouled him when it looked as though he had just got into the area.

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"Are you Jon Moss in disguise?" asked the home fans in reference to last season's hapless Championship play-off final referee.

That said, Town did not help themselves, their only first-half shot blocked in its sixth minute because Rudoni waited too long for the ball to come down to him.

City had put their first chance over in the 26th minute, Sam Bell unable to keep George Tanner's cross down.

Recalled goalkeeper Vaclik had to be bright for Huddersfield, off his line quickly to deny Nakhi Wells and Mark Sykes.

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His next save from Sykes was less than convincing but he did brilliantly to keep out Cameron Pring from the corner that resulted.

It was a good job the Czech was playing, tipping over the header Hogg got on a deep cross in the 80th minute. Huddersfield broke from the corner but a good move ended with O'Leary denying Rudoni, who missed when the ball dropped to him at a corner a minute later.

The game was starting to look very 0-0.

The Robins had more of the chances without working Vaclik hard enough.

Sykes did well to go on a long run – albeit helped by the lack of challenges – but his shot at the end of it was weak and at the goalkeeper.

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Waghorn's half-time introduction for Ward at least gave the hosts more pressing up front but they were unable to use it.

When his harassment presented a chance to fellow substitute Josh Koroma in the 67th minute, the shot was dragged wide.

The game’s extra minutes, though, belonged to the hosts.

Waghorn thought he had hooked in at a corner and O'Leary thrust his right boot out to Rudoni's effort.

It was a definite step in the right direction, but strides are needed.

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Huddersfield Town: Vaclik; Pearson, Helik, Lees, Ruffels; Hogg, Rudoni; Hungbo (Koroma 46), Diarra, Jackson; Ward (Waghorn 46). Unused substitutes: Bilokapic, Edmonds-Green, Camara, Simpson, Kasumu.

Bristol City: O’Leary; Tanner, Vyner, Pring, Dasilva; James; Sykes (Weimann 77), Scott; King; Wells (Cornick 64), Bell (Mehmeti 64). Unused substitutes: Wilson, Haikin, Taylor-Clarke, Francois.

Referee: L Doughty (Lancashire)