Huddersfield Town 1 Peterborough United 1: Clark’s men are kept in Hunt for automatic promotion place

JACK HUNT slipped away across the bridge over the river virtually unnoticed but his profile is sure to rise soon among Huddersfield Town fans.

The Leeds-born 20-year-old has been at the club 11 years but on Saturday he finally got the chance to dedicate a goal to the family who have helped him all the way.

The full-back was expecting to replace cramp victim Gary Naysmith but when half-time substitute Joey Gudjonsson tweaked a hamstring, Hunt was given an attacking right-flank role.

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His 77th-minute introduction added momentum to Town’s second-half revival but when he burst past Grant Basey only to be brought down by James Wesoloski he thought his side’s chance of an equaliser had gone as Joe Lewis dived to his left to grab the resulting penalty from Gary Roberts.

However, Hunt gave it another go in the first minute of stoppage time, cutting inside and letting fly to score his first goal in 34 senior appearances, including 20 on loan at Chesterfield.

“It was a brilliant feeling especially with my mum, gran and uncle being in the crowd in the corner and that’s who I was saluting. They have done a lot for me as I’ve grown up, taking me to the academy and so forth so I dedicate that goal to them,” said Hunt.

His strike stretched Lee Clark side’s unbeaten run to 20 games even though it was not enough to prevent Southampton moving into the second automatic promotion spot on goal difference and with two games in hand.

“We are disappointed that we didn’t win but we didn’t play our best so one point is better than none,” added Hunt.

“I’ve played in that position a couple of times in the academy and for Chesterfield and a couple of times off the bench for the first team and obviously we look at players from the opposition and the manager said he (Basey) lacked pace and wasn’t the best defender so just have a go at him and that’s what I did.

“For the penalty, their player seemed to block me off and trip me up at the same time. We were disappointed at the miss but we can’t blame Gary because he has been brilliant for us all season.

“For the equaliser, I don’t know if my shot took a deflection on the way in but I know the goalkeeper touched it and it may have hit someone’s legs on the line as it was going in but I’m not too bothered about that as long as it goes down as my goal.”

The goal was of far greater value than the money he claimed from having Don’t Push It in the squad’s Grand National sweepstake but on what was ‘Ladies’ Day’ at the ground, Hunt and his colleagues knew they had not been at the races in the first half against Posh.

Visiting manager Darren Ferguson, forced to employ two emergency full-backs due to injuries, saw it as two points dropped and says his fourth-placed side must win all five remaining games to have a shout at second-place.

Town are not giving up the chase, either, Hunt stating: “Automatic promotion is still there with five games left. We have had a little blip but we are still unbeaten so, hopefully, Southampton will slip up. There will be more eyes on them now but we know we have to concentrate on ourselves. We are going into every game believing we can win and wanting to win.

“If we have to go into the play-offs we know that if we do play to our best then we can beat anyone. Peterborough were a hard side but we didn’t play to our best and still got a point.”

Posh, whose diamond midfield formation gave Town countless problems in the first half as the elusive George Boyd ran the game, had been forced to wait until the 41st minute to make the breakthrough, Grant McCann scoring from the spot after Lee Peltier brought down Craig Mackail-Smith.

That was all they had for their dominance – Town fluffing three great close-in chances through Benik Afobe, Jordan Rhodes and Scott Arfield – and Roberts knew he should have made them pay with his spot-kick.

Roberts, whose crosses after the interval failed to be capitalised on by the strikers, said: “I’m devastated to have missed a penalty because I practice them a lot. I caught the ball quite nicely but he guessed right and he went a bit early so I’ll give credit to the keeper.

“Jack was a breath of fresh air with his pace and his energy. He deserved the goal and all the plaudits. You look at the bench and the lads that weren’t even in the squad and it shows the strength we have.

“Peterborough were a very good side and we couldn’t get to grips with them in the first half. They deservedly went in ahead but we regrouped and I think you saw a good reaction from us.

“At the end, the gaffer said we showed great character but we didn’t want to lose our unbeaten run. There were some strong words said at the interval but we needed it because we hadn’t got to grips with them and so that’s where the manager earns his money.

“The gaffer got it spot on giving us a kick up the backside and getting us back out there early. It showed in the second half and we certainly haven’t given up hope of overtaking Southampton.”

Huddersfield Town: Bennett, Peltier, McCombe, P Clarke, Naysmith; Roberts, Arfield, Kilbane, Ward (Gudjonsson 46, Hunt 77); Rhodes (Novak 62), Afobe. Unused substitutes: Colgan, Morrison, Lee, Cadamarteri.

Peterborough United: Lewis, Lee, Bennett, Zakuani, Basey; McCann (Davis 77); Wesoloski, Rowe Mendez-Laing 83); Ball (Whelpdale 88), Mackail-Smith, Boyd. Unused substitutes: Langmead, Freckleton, Tomlin, Jones.

Referee: M Russell (Herts).