Huddersfield Town 1 West Brom 4: Worrying second-half capitulation increases relegation fears for Terriers

ANDRE BREITENREITER was positively furious with his side’s first-half performance at Cardiff City in midweek.

Seeing Huddersfield Town plumb the depths in an inexplicable and ragged defensive display in the second half four days on would have further darkened his mood.

Leading 1-0 at the break thanks to Delano Burgzorg’s seventh goal of the campaign, Town were set fair for a survival boost, only to capitulate alarmingly on the resumption.

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It saw West Brom, awful in the first period, enjoy a feast. They scored four goals in 22 minutes as Carlos Corberan was left to savour his first return to these parts, albeit belatedly.

Huddersfield Town's Delano Burgzorg reacts to a missed opportunity during the Sky Bet Championship match versus West Brom. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.Huddersfield Town's Delano Burgzorg reacts to a missed opportunity during the Sky Bet Championship match versus West Brom. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.
Huddersfield Town's Delano Burgzorg reacts to a missed opportunity during the Sky Bet Championship match versus West Brom. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

After keeping out Albion’s gun players up to half time, the reverse applied in the second period.

Mikey Johnston, an electric loanee from Celtic, made hay with a brace, Kyle Bartley also found the net and did Okay Yokuslu, who netted with a scorching drive as Town succumbed to successive league defeats, and damaging ones at that, for the first time since New Year’s Day.

In dreich conditions on a wet and miserable Sunday, it was about which team fancied it the more and both Huddersfield and West Brom should have required no motivation given their respective, if contrasting, league positions.

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In the event, it was Town, who copped a flea in their ears after a poor midweek performance, who displayed the zeal, fight and intelligence in the first 45 minutes, pressing Albion well and not letting their flair players in the likes of Johnston and Grady Diangana settle in any way, shape or form.

West Brom were, quite simply, dreadful in the first half, although credit was due to Town for making life distinctly uncomfortable for their high-flying visitors. They possessed the intensity and the Baggies were laboured and passive by contrast.

Unfortunately, games don’t last for 45 minutes.

Little happened in a low-key start, with the first salvo fired by Town, with Sorba Thomas, playing central, shrugging off Yoksulu before surging forward and firing a shot just wide.

The breakthrough, when it arrived, was a tidy one and said everything about Town’s collective hunger.

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Matty Pearson forced a loose pass and Tom Lees showed distinctly more appetite to win a tackle against Jed Wallace. The ball found Burgzorg, who twisted and turned past Darnell Furlong before firing home an angled low drive.

The impression was that Albion surely could not get any worse if they tried in the second half. It was Town’s job to keep up the intensity and continue to bother their opponents.

What was said in the visiting dressing room had the effect of reviving them, for sure.

There was a marked upturn in Albion’s efforts and it yielded a leveller by the 51st minute.

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A warning arrived when Furlong’s header was fielded by Nicholls following Johnston’s inswinger.

Soon after, the Celtic loanee was hailing his fifth goal of the campaign when he turned in a low cross from Andreas Weimann, played in by a Furlong pass which dissected Town down their right, with Wallace playing a clever dummy along the way.

Town appealed in vain for an offside flag, but replays showed that Pearson had played Weimann onside.

Straightaway, the Terriers missed a huge opportunity to retake the lead in a big opportunity in the context of the game.

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Yokuslu’s backpass was short and Burgzorg was in on goal, only to lack conviction with Alex Palmer blocking his effort.

The moment was magnified when Albion went in front on the hour.

A corner wasn’t cleared and a fierce drive from Wallace, much more involved on the restart, was blocked and amid the commotion, Kyle Bartley bundled the ball home from close in.

Town began increasingly ragged and the visitors increased their advantage with a screaming strike from 25 yards from Yokuslu, which whistled into the net.

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Nicholls kept out a strike from Johnston, starting to have a ball after an inhibited first period. But Johnston soon had his moment, firing home after teasing Pearson before substitute Danny Ward just failed to turn in Burgzorg’s cross-shot at the other end.

Palmer denied Rudoni and Ward, but the game was long gone for Town.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Pearson, Helik (Balker 76), Lees; Spencer, Kasumu (Ward 65), Hogg (Matos 76), Rudoni, Headley (Koroma 65); Thomas, Burgzorg. Unused substitutes: Maxwell, Diarra, Wiles, Jackson, Iorpenda.

West Brom: Palmer; Furlong (Pieters 80), Bartley (Ajayi 75), Kipre, Reach; Yokuslu, Mowatt; Wallace (Thomas-Asante 75), Diangana, Johnston (Swift 75); Weimann (Fellows 57). Unused substitutes: Griffiths, Chalobah, M’Vila, Pipa.

Referee: D Webb (Co.Durham).

Attendance: 19,383 (1,346 West Brom fans).