Bournemouth 1 Huddersfield 1: Smithies earns Terriers a point

Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell with goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell with goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
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Bournemouth climbed back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table after a 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield but were left ruing a masterclass from Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies.

Former Everton striker James Vaughan struck midway through the second half to cancel out Yann Kermorgant’s 11th goal of the season.

However it was man-of-the-match Smithies and his hat-trick of world class saves that prevented the hosts from claiming all three points.

Bournemouth had lost only one of their previous 11 home games and had Huddersfield on the back foot from the first whistle.

Centre back Steve Cook could have put the Cherries in front after only three minutes when he nodded wide from an in-swinging Matt Ritchie free kick.

Another Ritchie cross teed up Kermorgant moments later but the Frenchman could not keep his header down.

Ritchie was at the centre of all Bournemouth’s early attacks and it took a superb stop from Smithies to beat away the winger’s long-range effort on 13 minutes.

Bournemouth’s opening goal three minutes later came from a move straight off the training ground.

Ritchie played in corner from the right and Harry Arter’s clever step-over opened up the space for Kermorgant to rifle past the stranded Smithies from the edge of the penalty area.

The strike maintained Bournemouth’s record of scoring the first goal in all 16 of their league games at the Goldsands Stadium this season.

Huddersfield created few goal scoring opportunities in a one-sided first half but midfielder Tommy Smith forced an acrobatic save from home goalkeeper Artur Boruc with a 20-yard curler.

On 25 minutes Arter ruffled Smithies’ side-netting with a low shot after a powerful run and Callum Wilson could only fire wide after the Terriers’ stopper had spilt Ritchie’s shot.

With Middlesbrough and Derby both in FA Cup action, Bournemouth knew a draw would be enough to regain their place at the summit.

Huddersfield levelled against the run of the play in the 65th minute.

Jack Robinson’s hopeful shot from the edge of the box was going wide until Vaughan applied a crucial touch, wrong-footing Southampton loanee Boruc.

The goal woke Bournemouth from their post half-time slumber and Smithies saved smarty with his legs to prevent Kermorgant restoring the Cherries’ lead.

Left back Charlie Daniels also saw his deflected attempt shave a post after combining neatly with the busy Arter.

Arter thought he had put Bournemouth back in front with a thunderous long range drive at the end of a fine passing move only for Smithies to once again turn the ball behind for a corner.

Vaughan came to the visitors’ rescue from the resulting set piece, clearing a Wilson header off the line.