Huddersfield Town 2 Cardiff City 1: Jon Russell strikes as Terriers evoke spirit of David Wagner

CARLOS CORBERAN is affectionately nicknamed ‘The Professor’ by Huddersfield Town’s star winger Sorba Thomas.

It should not take a rocket scientist to deduce why Town are having a marvellous season of redemption under the Spaniard.

There may be more free-flowing sides at the business end of the table. Yet for spirit, fellowship, resolve and sheer bloody-minded persistence, the Terriers have few peers. There have been few better Championship stories so far in 2021-22.

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Here was arguably the most remarkable installment. After being second-best against their bogey side, Town conjured a late push and it yielded a glorious – if contrasting – victory to follow events at Fulham on Saturday.

Huddersfield Town's Jon Russell celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their side's second goal of the game (Picture: Simon Marples/PA)

The scenes at the final whistle, shortly after Jon Russell poked in his first goal for the club in the sixth minute of stoppage-time after Josh Koroma had cancelled out Tommy Doyle’s 61st-minute opener with two minutes left, were something to behold.

It smacked of those golden times under David Wagner in 2016-17. The Terriers spirit is alive and kicking again. This time under Corberan.

After a late loss in the reverse fixture, there was redemption. For most of the night, it looked like Town’s winless sequence against the Bluebirds would extend to 17 games. Instead, a colossal three points wonderfully arrived with Thomas again the creator in setting up two goals.

A lousy night weather-wise, complete with sheeting rain and a swirling wind, was unfortunately complemented by a tough first half watch from a Town perspective, yet there was a caveat.

Cardiff City's Cody Drameh (left) attempts to tackle Huddersfield Town's Duane Holmes (Picture: Simon Marper/PA)

As much as Cardiff had the better of it, certainly in the final 15 minutes, the scoreline was still kind. Crucially, Town did not concede and given that they headed into the game with such a proud and formidable unbeaten record, they were entitled to still back themselves.

Cardiff’s reputation for being obdurate precedes them when they visit these parts. To be fair, they also showed prowess on the break. Uncharacteristic mistakes in possession did not assist the Terriers’ cause.

Danel Sinani was the culprit on two occasions, but Matty Pearson was on message to make a key block to deny Isaak Davies, while the ever-consistent Lee Nicholls thwarted Doyle, part of a polished Cardiff midfield trio.

Pearson was also kept busy in keeping out a powerful header from Mark McGuinness and hold a similar effort from Hugill which was straight at him. He then spared Thomas’ blushes after he lost out just before half-time as the keeper beat away Hugill’s piledriver, again straight down his throat. At the other end, Cardiff defended deep and saturated the space in a 5-3-2 formation. The ball did not get to Thomas early and consistently enough to attack Joel Bagan.

Huddersfield Town's Josh Ruffels rues a missed chance against Cardiff (Picture: PA)

An honest side, Town will have required no particular pep talk at the interval. They would not have needed to be told twice by Corberan it was disappointing and that they needed to lift it. As a back-up plan, there were options on the bench.

The rain continued to lash down on the resumption, with Town assigned with picking the lock of Cardiff’s regimented rearguard, whose organisation reflected well upon former Leeds United striker Steve Morrison.

With former Bluebirds striker Danny Ward leading the line and enjoying such an uplifting season, the dangers of switching off did not need spelling out with the likelihood being that Town would surely get better.

Thankfully, they did pose more issues for Cardiff before Carel Eiting was summoned to try and provide a bit more guile.

Cardiff City's Ryan Wintle (left) and Huddersfield Town's Lewis O'Brien battle for the ball (Picture: Simon Marper/PA)

It was Town who were the ones handed food for thought, courtesy of Doyle after tidy work by Ryan Wintle and Hugill.

The corners kept coming for Huddersfield, but Cardiff were not to be moved before a moment of much-needed quality from Eiting picked out another replacement thrown into the fray in Koroma, but his header was off target.

Jordan Rhodes had also been summoned as Huddersfield tried to rescue a rough evening with what might turn out to be a precious point at the end of the season, never mind a win. Or so we thought.

A spot of controversy then arrived when Hugill was cautioned, but did not see red after catching Tom Lees with an elbow, with the Town defender receiving treatment. It looked loose and mistimed, rather than malevolent. The stoppage changed the narrative.

Ex-Town custodian Alex Smithies saved at the feet of Koroma, but he would have his moment when Thomas’ centre from the right was nodded back into the box intelligently by fellow replacement JRhodes and Koroma rammed the ball home.

Given Town’s season, there was still an innate feeling there might be another twist.

It came when Aden Flint misjudged the flight of another Thomas cross and Russell stayed alert to steer the ball home and bring the house down as Town extended their unbeaten sequence to 16 matches in all competitions.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Turton, Pearson, Lees, Ruffels (Koroma 65); Sinani (Eiting 57), Russell, O’Brien; Thomas, Ward, Holmes (Rhodes 71). Unused substitutes: Blackman, Colwill, Toffolo, Hogg.

Cardiff City: Smithies; Drameh, Ng, Flint, McGuinness, Bagan; Doyle (Ralls 77), Wintle, Vaulks; Hugill (Ikpeazu 82), Davies (Harris 65). Unused substitutes: Phillips, Doughty, King, Denham.

Referee: O Langford (West Midlands).