ANALYSIS: Huddersfield Town 2 Barnsley 1: Grant aid hands the derby spoils to the Terriers

Karlan Grant.
Karlan Grant.
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THE one saving grace of a desperate 2018-19 campaign, Karlan Grant has been the chief provider of main shafts light in the new season for Huddersfield Town alongside one of their own in Lewis O'Brien.

That was amplified on this most seminal of derby days between two struggling Yorkshire rivals on either side of the Emley Moor mast as Grant proved the game-breaker in a 2-1 victory which ended being more tense than it should have been.

A contribution in the lead-up to the second goal from O'Brien also added to his popularity in these parts, which is considerable.

Ahead of the game, Grant's haul of seven goals represented exactly half of Town's league total so far in 2019-20, but it was his importance as a provider came to the fore, initially.

Thirty minutes in, the former Charlton forward found himself on the right and turned away from Toby Sibbick before delivering a dangerous low centre which seized upon with relish by Schindler, who showed an alertness unlike the Reds ball-watching defence and the German gratefully tucked home only his third ever Town goal - and first on home soil since January 2017.

Grant got to the day job eight minutes after the break with a sumptuous curler - albeit thanks to a little bit of help from Barnsley's flaky defence as the Terriers shrugged aside their lame midweek performance against Middlesbrough to extend their unbeaten streak to five matches.

Two-nil down in such a key game, it was hard not to fear for the Reds kindergarten backline, whose penchant for giving opposing forwards a chance is starting to well and truly precede the

The shirts may have red, but they might as well have been green. Fielding a youthful and rookie defence is the most dangerous of games in a cut-throat and unforgiving Championship.
Mads Andersen's challenge on Town's new golden boy O'Brien was weak and not befitting of a derby.

The Terriers midfielder won the battle and slotted the ball to Grant in the danger area and he displayed poise and class to steer home an effortless and inch-perfect curler past Brad Collins and that was pretty much that.

A late strike from Halifax lad Jacob Brown - his first at Championship level - ensured that a derby which looks like dying as a competitive entity did have some late drama after all.

But the hosts held out - and were entitled to express gratitude that they have Grant in their ranks at the end, while Barnsley followers were again left to rue the charitable status of their backline.

Handed a start up top, with Grant switching to the left, Fraizer Campbell aimed to utilise his nous on Barnsley's inexperienced backline and was adamant he should have been awarded a penalty after being challenged by Kenny Dougall in the area, but referee James Linington was unmoved.

For both sides, the stakes were high, given their lowly league status and that was reflected in a pretty scrappy first-half spectacle.

But on a day when the first goal was always likely to assume a fair bit of importance, Town conjured the opening strike, from an unlikely source.

Grant got half a yard of space on the right and his low cross found Schindler, who tucked the ball home to forge a breakthrough for the Terriers on the half-hour.

It was a blow for Barnsley, who had been the better side for much of the half, with the goal serving as a settler for the hosts, who produced a low-key opening, carrying on from their poor second period against Boro.
Soon after the opener, the Reds spurned a golden chance to level after producing the most polished move of the half.

Cauley Woodrow was flicked on superbly by Conor Chaplin, with McGeehan handed a clear sight of goal - but as in recent games, the midfielder lacked composure and fired wastefully over the bar to hand Huddersfield a major reprieve.

Earlier, Barnsley had threatened when Woodrow stabbed the ball just wide following an initial effort from McGeehan.

Grant's stunner on the resumption put Town firmly in the box seat and it was the prelude to seeing out the game in relative comfort.

Woodrow fired a crisp effort wide and Bambo Diaby headed over, but Huddersfield's threat on the break against a charitable Barnsley defence being increasingly obvious.

It should have yielded a third for Campbell, who fired over after Grant's low shot was blocked by the exposed Grant after the Reds were undressed.

A weak free-kick from a good position from Dougall, which harmlessly flew over, summed up Barnsley's day of frustration, only for a lifeline to suddenly arrive out of nothing.

The ball found Brown, whose turn and shot was instinctive and accurate - with a game back in the melting pot.

Despite late Reds pressure, it was Huddersfield's day and Grant's.

Huddersfield Town: Grabara; Simpson, Elphick, Schindler, Jaden Brown; Bacuna (Chalobah 67), Hogg; Kachunga, O'Brien, Grant; Campbell (Diakhaby 69). Substitutes unused: Schofield, Pritchard, Mounie, Stankovic, Hadergjonaj.

Barnsley: Collins; Sibbick, Andersen, Diaby; Cavare (Thomas 75), Dougall, McGeehan (Wilks 58), Mowatt, Jacob Brown; Chaplin, Woodrow. Substitutes unused: Walton, B Williams, Bahre, Oduor, Simoes.

Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).

Attendance: 22,718 (2,129 Barnsley supporters).