Huddersfield Town 0 Sunderland 2: Terriers pay the price for failing to take their chances and booing Alex Pritchard

In the blink of an eye, two football truisms came back to bite Huddersfield Town on Wednesday night.

For 55 minutes – or at least as many as the weather allowed proper football to be played in – the Terriers were the better team, belying a decimated squad to take the game to Sunderland, led by the impressive Jack Rudoni.

But if you fail to take your chances, football has a habit of coming back to bite you and if you boo opposition players, it is likely to motivate more of them than it cows.

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When Duane Holmes allowed Anthony Patterson to save perhaps the best chance of the night and a spinning Jordan Rhodes put the loose ball wide, Sunderland went down the other end and opened the scoring through Alex Pritchard.

INFLUENTIAL: Luke O'Nien tackles Jack Rudoni, Huddersfield Town's shining lightINFLUENTIAL: Luke O'Nien tackles Jack Rudoni, Huddersfield Town's shining light
INFLUENTIAL: Luke O'Nien tackles Jack Rudoni, Huddersfield Town's shining light

An expensive Premier League signing, the playmaker had a forgettable time in blue-and-white of Huddersfield but has looked a different player since moving to Wearside, and being booed relentlessly only made him better.

When former Middlesbrough player Patrick Roberts crossed, he opened up his body to direct the ball inside the far post, then pointedly celebrated at the home fans.

Huddersfield had more than half an hour to do something about it, but the goal seemed to burst their balloon. They had chances to equalise, but you never felt it was coming.

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There was a second goal, but to the Black Cats in the last knockings.

After the almighty rush of adrenaline they enjoyed en route to a Wembley play-off final last season, 2022-23 has been a hell of a comedown.

They end the week worse than they started it, back down to the bottom of the Championship and with another key injury after centre-back Yuta Nakayama was stretchered off when conditions were at their most treacherous. Late in the second half Ben Jackson was on a stretcher, too, caught by a nasty-looking tackle which put Abdoullah Ba's name in the referee's notebook.

Considering how makeshift they looked without Tom Lees, Matty Pearson, Ollie Turton and Jonathan Hogg, and with Danny Ward on the bench, Huddersfield started very well before the relentless rain made it almost impossible to play good football. With the first half about to finish, their injury list got worse still, Nakayama departing the day after being named in Japan's World Cup squad.

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Rudoni, playing in the middle of a midfield five, was at the heart of the good football they played, and the closest to getting reward for it.

He grazed the crossbar in the sixth minute with a shot on the turn after a free-kick was fired into him. A minute later he won a corner, feeding off a Rhodes lay-off, but Michal Helik's shot from it was blocked.

Eventually Sunderland had a spell but they too failed to make the most of it. A Luke O'Nien cross went all the way across to Dennis Cirkin in the 18th minute, but he shot into the turf and wide. Leon Dajaku's strike followed a similar path after he picked up the rebound when Lee Nicholls saved from Corry Evans.

But the rain was absolutely teeming down, so much so that just before the half-hour, the ball stuck in the corner quadrant with players from both sides expecting it go out. At one point an advertising tarpaulin blew onto the field.

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Town eventually came to terms with it, at least to a degree, Jackson coming inside and shooting at Patterson. Brodie Spencer, the 18-year-old full Northern Ireland international who was making his league debut at right-back, did well to make space for a cross at the end of the half, but when he played the ball in, Rudoni's shot was blocked.

Nakayama's substitution caused an almost complete defensive reshuffle, Spencer moving to left centre-back, Jackson to left-back and Josh Ruffels switching sides to right-back.

The more significant change was that the heavens were well and truly rained out, and the Terriers enjoyed the drier conditions.

Nakayama's replacement, Brahima Diarra, almost made an instant impact, just unable to stretch to Jackson's cross as he came in off the right wing.

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Rudoni was again the star attraction, shooting wide then having an effort blocked a minute later. Pritchard made a fool of himself, falling over swiping at the ball to the hilarity of the home fans. He would have the last laugh.

Huddersfield had chances after his goal, but Sunderland were far from submerged.

Holmes' free-kick at the keeper was weak after a cynical pull on Rudoni, who then made space for himself but curled a shot wide.

Diarra shot wide after exchanging passes with Holmes and bursting forward. Jackson shot wide at the near post.

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When Ruffels put a shot wide in stoppage time it just felt as inevitable as Nicholls coming up for a corner did futile.

Sunderland breaking in the seventh added minute and Amad Diallo putting a shot through the goalkeeper felt like little more than crossing the Ts. It was one of those nights for the Terriers.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Spencer, Helik, Nakayama (Diarra 46), Ruffels; Holmes, Camara, Rudoni, Kasumu (Mahoney 70), Jackson (Boyle 88); Rhodes (Ward 64). Unused substitutes: Mbete, Russell, Bilokapic.

Sunderland: Patterson; O'Nien, Wright, Batth, Cirkin; Embleton (Ba 64), Evans (Neil 64), Roberts (Matete 79); Pritchard (Bennette 90), Dajaku (Simms 64); Diallo. Unused substitutes: Bass, Hume.

Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).

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