Huddersfield Town 1 Brentford 1: Hearty Terriers secure valuable point

JUST like last season, Huddersfield Town dug deep to chisel out a very creditable point against a promotion-chasing Brentford side at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Lewis O'Brien celebrates after putting Huddersfield Town in front against Brentford. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Lewis O'Brien celebrates after putting Huddersfield Town in front against Brentford. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

It was not pretty, but it was ultra-committed and for a side in the relegation picture, a five-match unbeaten sequence is something not to be sniffed at.

It was tense at times, more especially in the second half as Brentford became increasingly frantic in their quest to grab a winner and made several changes.

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Town survived and claimed what could well be a valuable point in the final reckoning. It was a point that they would probably have taken beforehand, hand on heart.

A opener from the excellent Lewis O'Brien on seven minutes crowned a very presentable opening. Brentford got back to their old selves eventually and levelled through a first goal of the season early in the second half from Mads Bech Sorensen.

The hosts withstood significant late pressure, but this was a draw which their collective efforts merited.

Just like in the recent home game with Cardiff City, it was a performance of heart and togetherness, which all sides require at the bottom, first and foremost, in any successful scrap.

It was Town’s first game in 17 days, but the early rust came from Brentford, who struggled to work the hosts out in the opening salvos and paid a considerable price.

Operating in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Alex Vallejo and Jonathan Hogg holding the centre ground and O’Brien and Daune Holmes operating on the left and right of midfield with Fraizer Campbell in the ‘number ten’ role, Town got it right in terms of their press from the off.

Brentford, who had made three changes, were off message by contrast and conceded a comical opener in which keeper David Raya and the recalled Mads Roerslev were culpable.

Raya raced out following Naby Sarr’s routine punt forward only for Roerslev to attempt to take control only to slip for a split-second.

He then compounded the moment by playing an ill-advised pass infield to put Christian Norsgaard in trouble with Vallejo dispossessing the midfielder.

O’Brien was on things in a flash and with Raya badly positioned, the midfielder steered the ball home low into the net from 25 yards out.

It was the perfect settler for Town and their commitment, discipline and togetherness shone through in the opening quarter of the game ahead of Brentford starting to get their act together after being spooked early on.

Their first semblance of threat saw Ryan Schofield called into action to make a key block with his legs to keep out an angled low shot from Vitaly Janelt.

Soon after, Town suffered a let-off when Sarr failed to take control of a high ball which hit his arm with a clear movement from the Huddersfield defender, but despite the linesman being in a decent position, no penalty was awarded.

Brentford pushed ahead of the break with Bryan Mbeumo a whisker away from heading home at the far post following Ivan Toney’s flick on and the promotion-chasing Londoners continued to dictate on the restart.

They were soon rewarded after Town switched off from a quick throw-in.

Sergi Canos’ centre found Pontus Jansson and after his goalbound header was brilliantly cleared off the line by Sarr, the ball was recycled by Janelt, with Sorensen following up to turn the ball home.

Quiet by his high stands, Toney soon announced himself by firing a venomous low shot against the post and it had the makings of a long half for Town.

Brentford pressed, while at the other end, Town failed tom make the most of some promising free-kick situations.

The visitors were then fortunate to survive a big shout for a penalty after O’Brien went down in the box after appearing to be caught by Samam Ghoddos before their best moment of the half arrived when Demeaco Duhaney cut inside and saw his low shot well parried by Raya.

It was Brentford who posted most of the threat with Fosu denied by Schofield and a Mathias Jensen free-kick evaded everybody when it just needed a touch from a Bees player in front of goal.

A bit hairy at times for sure, but Town - who went to five at the back in the last half-hour - got their point. A concession of three goals in five matches is also complimentary, for a relegation candidate on an afternoon when the hosts moved ten points clear of the drop zone.

Huddersfield Town: Schofield; Duhaney, Keogh, Sarr, Pipa (Rowe 58); Vallejo (Bacuna 23), Hogg; Holmes (Stearman 58), Campbell (Ward 81), O’Brien; Sanogo. Substitutes unused: Pereira, Mbenza, Thomas, Edmonds-Green, High.

Brentford: Raya; Roerslev, Jansson, Pinnock, Sorensen; Norgaard, Janelt (Jensen 62); Ghoddos (Marcondes 72), Mbeumo (Forss 81), Toney, Canos (Fosu 72). Substitutes unused: Daniels, Goode, Reid, Zamburek, Bidstrup.

Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).