Huddersfield Town miss out on Liverpool tie as Nottingham Forest prevail

THE old favourites have been sung heartily by the Trent in recent times - from Nottingham Forest supporters' stirring adaptation of Paul McCartney and Wings' number one "Mull of Kintyre" to the Righteous Brothers' classic hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin."

Tom Lees heads Huddersfield Town in front against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Picture: PA
Tom Lees heads Huddersfield Town in front against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. Picture: PA

Huddersfield Town's similarly iconic "Smile Awhile" song has also been belted out with pride and gusto by Terriers followers in 2021-22. It has been hard for them to wipe the smile off their faces, given the club's glorious renaissance in a campaign to savour.

Mary Hopkin's 'Those Were the Days' ditty from the late Sixties is another song adapted by Town fans. It was a rewind to the early Seventies that Huddersfield were hoping to evoke on Monday night - you had to go back fifty years to 1972 for the last time that the club reached the quarter-finals of the Cup.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Unfortunately, there will be no Mersey beat later this month with Liverpool to visit the City Ground and not the John Smith’s Stadium for their last-eight tie.

For once, Huddersfield did not hit all the right notes and suffered a first defeat in 19 matches. They at least went out by the front door and fighting.

Forest now face Liverpool for the first time since 1999. They have seen plenty more of Huddersfield since and this might not yet be the final meeting between these two this season with both right in the thick of the Championship play-off battle. It would be an absorbing match-up.

Much like in the league game between these sides in Nottingham just after Christmas, there was little to split these well-matched, well-coached and strong teams. This time, Forest prevailed.

Once again, Carlos Corberan showed his penchant for rotation and trusting his squad. He made six changes, while his counterpart Steve Cooper - despite his side taking part in a physically demanding and intense game at Bramall Lane on Friday - resisted the urge and made just two.

It was a game of incident, controversy and mistakes at both ends - especially in the first half - but it showcased the very best traditions of cup football in the process in an engrossing tie.

It was also easy to see why these two sides are enjoying such a renaissance. Town posed cleverness and danger on the counter, while Forest displayed their prowess going forward as well.

Clearly with the taste for goalscoring after seeing their name in lights three days earlier, Tom Lees and Ryan Yates fancied a refill.

Lees, handed the freedom of Nottingham, buried a header to put Town ahead on 13 minutes, with Danel Sinani, who set up his first goal against Peterborough, being the supplier again from another corner on the right-hand side.

It took Lees’s tally to three goals in two matches and five for the season, equalling his best ever return in a season.

Unfortunately, for Huddersfield, Yates came to the party for a second time in successive games against a Yorkshire side.

After his last-gasp leveller at Bramall Lane, the midfielder - hailed as a ‘diamond’ by his manager - again showed his aerial ability by latching onto James Garner’s free-kick to plant a fine header past Jamal Blackman. Replays showed that Josh Ruffels played him onside.

Given the fact that Forest wrongly saw an early goal ruled out for offside against Sam Surridge, who turned in Brennan Johnson’s centre shortly before Lees struck, it was a spot of karma for the hosts.

That said, Surridge claimed his own pay-back to level on 29 minutes, steering home a precision finish after Naby Sarr’s last-ditch tackle to deny Yates following a piercing play by Forest.

Town’s fluidity on the break kept them interested, with Pipa hitting the post following a slick raid, with Thomas’s follow-up gathered by Ethan Horvath. It looked a big moment in the context of the tie and so it proved with Forest soon taking the lead.

Levels dipped a little in the second period with Thomas firing into the side-netting, while Graham Scott was unmoved after Duane Holmes went down in the box under pressure from Joe Worrall.

A dangerous moment saw Horvath make a smart save at the far post to deny Danny Ward and then kept out an effort at his near post from the same player with Djed Spence and Garner spurning golden chances to seal it at the other end.

Nottingham Forest: Horvarth; Worrall, Cook, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Lowe; Zinckernagel (Colback 64); Johnson, Surridge (Davis 68). Substitutes unused: Samba, Figueiredo, Laryea, Mighten, Cafu, Silva, Lolley.

Huddersfield Town: Blackman; Pearson, Sarr (Ward 55), Lees; Pipa, Hogg, Eiting, Ruffels (Toffolo 55); Thomas, Sinani (Anjorin 79), Holmes (Rhodes 67). Substitutes unused: Nicholls, Turton, High, Rowe, Russell.

Referee: G Scott (Oxon).