Huddersfield Town mark anniversary of Manchester United scalp with unspectacular but much-needed win over QPR

Huddersfield Town’s meeting with Queens Park Rangers fell on the six-year anniversary of a rather famous Terriers win.

In 2017, goals from Aaron Mooy and Laurent Depoitre helped Huddersfield Town overcome Manchester United in the Premier League.

A lot has happened at the John Smith’s Stadium since, much of it testing for those who hold Huddersfield dear.

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Six years on from the Red Devils scalp, the 2-1 scoreline was familiar but there was considerably less glamour.

Huddersfield Town secured their first victory of the Darren Moore era. Image: Matt McNulty/Getty ImagesHuddersfield Town secured their first victory of the Darren Moore era. Image: Matt McNulty/Getty Images
Huddersfield Town secured their first victory of the Darren Moore era. Image: Matt McNulty/Getty Images

It was an unspectacular but much-needed win, the first of Darren Moore’s Terriers tenure.

Huddersfield had a two-goal lead within the opening 15 minutes, courtesy of Kian Harratt and Jack Rudoni.

Jake Clarke-Salter pulled one back for the R’s with half-time approaching but it was to be the last of the afternoon’s goals.

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QPR’s goal changed the complexity of the second-half, with Gareth Ainsworth’s suddenly in a game that had appeared to be getting away from them.

Speaking in his post-match press conference, Moore said: “We got off to a real blistering start, got two goals in front.

"It was almost like, from our perspective, that we almost hit the pause button on it, in terms of we stopped doing what we were doing, what got us into that position.

"I thought we allowed QPR to build some momentum and gradually work themselves back into the game.

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"The killer blow for us at half-time was them getting a goal from a set-play, which is soft from our point of view. It meant second-half, it was two teams at it.”

Fortunately for the nervous home supporters, the two early goals proved to be enough for three points.

The first of the goals was scored by a young forward who has flirted with the first-team without managing to properly establish himself in it.

Talk of ‘20-goal strikers’ is rife in football but Huddersfield have not been blessed with prolific frontmen in recent years.

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Harratt is just 21 but fans will be hoping his composure in front of the imposing Asmir Begovic is a sign of things to come.

Moore said: "I’m really pleased for him because we had a real good chat and he’s somebody that said, in his build-up, his dad and grandad come and watch him home and away. He was really pleased and I just said ‘well, they’ll be there today’.

"We just felt that if we could get him in an area where he’d have the opportunity to score, he’s got that in him. I thought he took his goal very, very well.

"His control to steady himself and slot it in the corner was excellent really. I’m so, so pleased for him that he’s got his just rewards after an afternoon of hard work.

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"We took him off after about 75 minutes, after he was starting to tire a bit. But [I’m] really, really pleased for him in his performance this afternoon.”

There was also promise from Harratt’s strike partner Delano Burgzorg, a player capable of both frustrating and delighting in equal measure.

Moore said: “We’ve done some great work not just with Kian, with the strikers in the week in terms of the ability to finish, work angles and things like that.

"He’s had a solid week in training, I had no hesitation in starting him and Del today as a front two really. He’s come up with the goal that justifies his afternoon’s work.”

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QPR probed to no avail in the second-half, finding Huddersfield’s physical back three difficult to penetrate.

Huddersfield’s occasional ventures forward did little to instil fear in the R’s backline but the damage had already been done.

There was palpable tension in the latter stages, understandable considering Town have not regularly led in games this season.

The manner in which Huddersfield fell flat will be of concern to Moore, but his delight at picking up his first win made joy the primary post-match emotion.

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He said: “We looked at the international break as an opportunity to work with the team. It’s always nice when you’ve worked with the team over those 10 or 12 days, which it allows you to do.

"To come off the back of that and get the three points was really, really pleasing. The main thing was the three points today and to get it in front of our home fans, at the John Smith’s, was always a positive outcome.

"I’m really, really pleased for them and I commend them on the determined performance they gave today. It was a team performance.”

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls, Pearson, Helik, Lees (Nakayama 82); Thomas, Rudoni, Hogg, Wiles, Koroma (Headley 67); Burgzorg (Hudlin 82), Harratt (Diarra 75).

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Unused substitutes: Maxwell, Jackson, Edwards, Edmonds-Green, Austerfield.

Queens Park Rangers: Begovic, Kakay (Cannon 70), Dunne, Clarke-Salter; Adomah (Kolli 74), Dozzell, Colback (Dixon-Bonner 74), Field, Paal (Larkeche 75); Chair, Armstrong (Smyth 64).

Unused substitutes: Archer, Duke-McKenna, Willock, Kelman.

Referee: Gavin Ward (Surrey)