Huddersfield Town 0 Nottingham Forest 1: Terriers lose play-off final at Stockley Park, not Wembley, as fine margins go against them
It was a cruel way for a brilliant season of progress by the Terriers to come to an end but ultimately fortune tends to look after those who help themselves and it must be said rejected penalties are not the same as goals wrongly chalked off. Huddersfield failed to trouble Brice Samba in 90 minutes of football, all five of their efforts missing the goal.
They will spend their summer wondering if it could have been different had they been given the chance from 12 yards though.
Twice in the final quarter of the game, Huddersfield players got into the penalty area and appeared to be fouled. Twice referee Jon Moss, in his farewell game, waved the appeals away, booking Harry Toffolo for a dive. Twice referee Paul Tierney looked at the video evidence and reached a different conclusion to many people watching.
It was the only Championship game this season to use the video assistant referee system, which Football League chairman Rick Parry said in the week could be introduced from next season. The second tier is frankly better off without him, despite Huddersfield coach Carlos Corberan being a fan.
Toffolo's dramatic tumble to the turf seemed to work against him when Lewis O'Brien released Duane Holmes after 73 minutes and he pulled the ball back to the wing-back but closer inspection showed Jack Colback had clipped his ankle. After much deliberation, Tierney backed his colleague.
Ten minutes later Sheffield United loanee Max Lowe kicked through the back of O'Brien's standing leg. Tierney gave it a cursory glance and no more.
It was harsh on a Huddersfield team who had been utterly outplayed in the first half, which ended with a Levi Colwill own goal, only to make a real fight of it in the second.
Just like in the opening period at Luton Town in the semi-final, Huddersfield sat back and allowed their opponents to have too much of the ball, allowing them two thirds of possession.
Just as it looked like they might it through to half-time at 0-0, they conceded.
After an even first 10 minutes or so when Sorba Thomas, in his first start since Easter, had a couple of promising runs cut brutally short, Forest eventually got on top and should have scored from the first decent effort of the game, Ryan Yates flicking his header from a James Garner free-kick marginally wide having been played marginally offside.
The Terriers were looking nervy. Naby Sarr, surprisingly selected in a back three, put in a good tackle and a few decent passes out wide but there were too many shaky moments too - a foul on Philip Zinckernagel and some sloppy passes. Lee Nicholls came from a corner and watched it sail over his head, but out of possession too.
Huddersfield sunk from a 3-4-3 that looked designed to turn Forest's wing-backs into full-backs into a 5-4-1. It meant when they did attack, it tended to be one-man forays.
Even with such a thick blue-and-white blanket in front of the goalkeeper, Forest were making the odd chance, Yates failing to keep his shot down, Scott McKenna hitting a weak one straight at Sarr.
It started to look as if an avenue was opening up, Thomas twice and Ward once running past Joe Worrall but the end products were a cross beyond the centre-forward, a cross-shot Brice Samba dealt well, then a Garner slide tackle to stop Ward delivering.
The 38th-minute corner, Town's first, was rolled back to Ward, whose shot deflected for their second.
So it was ironic Forest waited until then to take the lead, Garner whipping in a wonderful curling ball from deep that Jack Colback ducked out of the way of and with Yates running across him, Colwill put in, puncturing the half-time mood.
Town changed things around in the second half, swapping their wingers over, then taking Sarr and the ineffective Danel Sinani off so that Jon Russell and Holmes could reinforce the midfield.
Thomas put a cross in from the right that Djed Spence could only touch behind and Jonathan Hogg was rightly livid with himself when he headed their first and last decent opportunity of the game off target in the 56th minute.
For all that they cranked up the pressure, though, chances were sparse. Pipa a wild shot in the 87th minute and when O'Brien dragged his shot wide in the fourth added minute, Russell was just unable to stretch to it.
The margins could barely have been tighter.
Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Lees, Sarr (Russell 57), Colwill; Pipa, Hogg, O'Brien, Toffolo; Sinani (Holmes 67), Ward (Rhodes 67), Thomas.
Substitutes: Pearson, Anjorin, Blackman, Turton.
Nottingham Forest: Samba (Hovrath 90); Worrall, Cook, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback; Zinckernagel (Lowe 74); Johnson, Davis (Surridge 66).
Substitutes: Figueiredo, Mighten, Cafue, Lolley.
Referee: J Moss (Leeds).