Huddersfield Town refuse to follow the script as they frustrate play-off-chasing Blackburn Rovers
Having done magnificently to somehow lead 2-0 at half-time against Blackburn Rovers, common-sense would now take hold.
Once Joe Rankin-Costello's lovely left-footed dink got the play-off chasers into the game we knew how this ended. Or at least we thought we did.
The relegation-threatened Terriers might hold out for a bit, perhaps long enough for Blackburn to get twitchy, but in a game of attack versus defence – at times Rankin-Costello versus Tomas Vaclik – Rovers would win by three, four, maybe more goals to two.
Town refused. Pretty much all they did in the second half was defend, and they did it heroically.
Defenders – which is what every outfielder bar Danny Ward became – threw themselves in the line of fire and when shots got through, goalkeeper Vaclik flung a glove at them.
Tom Lees was caked in vaseline like a heavyweight in round 10 having given blood in the first half and everyone in blue-and-white stripes was running on fumes by the end.
So whilst it felt like a steel toecap in the unmentionables when Ryan Hedges grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser, perspective was vital.
Huddersfield had drawn with a side who could be in next season's Premier League. Their winning streak was over but not the unbeaten run. They are a point closer to the tally needed to stay up – maybe 48 or 50 said manager Neil Warnock.
"You've got to die for three points," is a famous Warnockism, and he has successfully brainwashed his squad.
But there were brains as well as heart, a superbly-drilled side knowing exactly where to be when. And in the first-half heist a side whose joint top-scorers have five league goals this season was clinical.
The backs-to-the-wall effort did not start when Rankin-Costello kicked off the comeback but from the off, granting Blackburn 81 per cent of possession.
It was hard to say exactly what formation they started with as Matty Pearson man-marked the wandering Ben Brereton Diaz like a barnacle and the rest filled every gap.
Joseph Hungbo, Josh Ruffels, Josh Koroma and co switched positions with a telepathic understanding you might expect in game 41 of a 46-match season but it was only the 10th since Warnock restarted them.
"We defended ever so well," he said proudly. "We kept them at bay in areas we're not too bothered about."
And on the rare occasions when they had chances, they took them.
You might have thought Pearson was too preoccupied stalking Brereton Diaz to do damage at Blackburn's end, but the doughty defender is the prime goal threat for a team whose strikers do not score goals – or at least not many.
They call him the Keighley Cannavaro but he is becoming the Keighley Kane, four goals in three games moving him level with the mothballed Jordan Rhodes in Huddersfield’s Championship scoring charts.
Lees won his header at Rudoni's 16th-minute corner and when Tyler Morton stuck out a leg, Aynsley Pears's unconvincing hand to it allowed Pearson to head in.
Six minutes later it was two from two shots.
Rudoni came into Easter with no goals in 41 Huddersfield matches but when he slotted home Hungbo's low cross, he had two in two.
Only Rankin-Costello – another defender who seemed to think he was a striker – gave Vaclik much to worry about in the first half but when he started the second by deliciously finishing a one-two with Tyrhys Dolan, the home fans braced themselves for the worst.
The Terriers were kenneled in their half, unable to make the most of rare breakaways.
When Jonathan Hogg headed Rudoni's 74th-minute free-kick over it was one of the few times the television cameras had to point that way.
The longer the game wore on, the harder it became for weary bodies to make blocks.
"I was knackered and I was on the bench," quipped Warnock, but he only trusted three substitutes to energise his team.
Blackburn had their "maybe it's not your day moment” in the 79th minute, Morton’s pass trundling untouched over the sodden surface and into a post.
Most of Vaclik's best stops were tip-overs, two from Rankin-Costello in the final 10 minutes. He denied the full-back again as the board went up to show a minimum of five added minutes, but saved into the path of substitute Hedges, who scored.
There was still time to lose it, but the hosts stubbornly refused.
Blackburn's football deserved victory, as did Town’s effort, so a draw was fair – or at least equally unfair.
Huddersfield Town: Vaclik; Pearson, Helik, Lees, Ruffels, Koroma (High 86); Hungbo (Jackson 77), Hogg, Rudoni, Kasumu; Ward (Harratt 86). Unused substitutes: Bilokapic, Edmonds-Green, Simpson, Lowton.
Blackburn Rovers: Pears; Rankin-Costello, Carter, Hyam, Pickering; Travis (Leonard 65), Morton, A Wharton; Szmodics, Dolan (Hedges 73), Brereton Diaz. Unused substitutes: Kaminski, Brittain, Gallagher, S Wharton, Garrett.
Referee: S Martin (Staffordshire).