Huddersfield Town 0 Cardiff City 0 - Terriers left to rue spurned penalty in stalemate

AHEAD of this game, beleaguered Huddersfield Town head coach Carlos Corberan spoke about how a victory would represent one of the most important moments in his life thus far.

Yaya Sanogo puts his penalty shot wide. Picture Bruce Rollinson

In the event, he had to settle for a draw. For the realists and certainly many Town followers deep down, it was probably one more point than they expected before kick-off.

At the culmination of this encounter, there was deep-seated disappointment that it did not end in all three.

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Late on, Town spurned three heaven-sent opportunities to secure just their second win in 13 matches in 2021 and become the first side to beat Cardiff City in the Mick McCarthy era and spoil the Yorkshireman’s 1,000th game in club management.

Huddersfield Town's Yaya Sanogo consoled by Aaron Rowe after missing a penalty.

The best of which fell to Yaya Sanogo, on his first start of all things. His bravery to step up to the penalty spot on 17 minutes from time was commendable after Sid Nelson was penalised for catching Aaron Rowe, who was an irritant all night for the play-off aspiring visitors.

More’s the pity his aim was wayward and he fired horribly wide of Dillon Phillips’s right-hand post.

It was hard not to feel for the Frenchman and he looked visibly upset as he remonstrated with himself afterwards before being substituted and given a consolation pat from Corberan.

Cardiff have faced four penalties this season and none have been converted.

Fraizer Campbell's overhead shot goes skyward. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Speaking of that particular number, Town have now missed their last four spot-kicks with the run stretching back to last term.

To compound matters for Town, Pipa and Fraizer Campbell spurned glorious chances to atone for Sanogo’s miss and make him feel a bit better about himself in the process.

But when you are in a relegation scrap, recriminations should not linger. There is no time.

Despite not emerging victorious, this was a night when Town, battered and bruised in recent times, showed that their heart is still beating and displayed the fight they you require in any successful battle against the drop.

Yaya Sanogo's penalty goes wide. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Cardiff are in a side who do exactly what it says on the tin and have rediscovered their mojo again under McCarthy, who has found a sanctuary in South Wales just as his fellow Tyke and former Barnsley team-mate Neil Warnock previously did.

They are a side who hassle and harry, are horrible to play against once more and possess winners in both boxes. They also have quality in the right areas and if you do not match their physicality, they can run all over you.

To their credit, Huddersfield – who added some ballast up front after handing a first start to Sanogo – were not cowed and stood up to their opponents and won their share of aerial challenges and second balls all night.

Without creating a surfeit of chances in the first period, it was encouraging enough.

Pipa reacts after his shot went wide. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Handed a start on the right, Rowe was a threat against his young opponent Joel Bagan, who went off injured before the break and Juninho Bacuna picked up some intelligent positions in particular.

It was Bacuna – whose brother Leandro started on the bench for Cardiff – who had Town’s best opportunity from a set-piece situation on 15 minutes with his curler beaten away by Phillips.

Perhaps heeding a lesson from the England rugby union team against their Welsh counterparts, Town kept their indiscretions largely to a minimum to eliminate cheap opportunities to Cardiff.

Their best chances arrived at the end of the half with a stinging volley from Will Vaulks kept out well by Ryan Schofield, who saw the effort late.

The young Town custodian also made a timely early block to thwart Aden Flint, whose hooked shot also hit woodwork before an offside flag was raised after he latched onto Harry Wilson’s deflected shot – with replays showing that he was played onside by Naby Sarr.

Cardiff attempted to turn the screw on the restart but found a Town who were again unwilling to roll over and again showing a real willingness to compete.

The Bluebirds earned a couple of threatening set-pieces, but the danger was averted. It was from a free-kick at the other end that presented a good chance for the hosts with an unlikely source in Richard Keogh heading off target from Bacuna’s teasing free-kick.

A huge one then arrived and while Sanogo showed courage to take it, his effort flew wide in a real psychological downer for Town.

An brilliant inswinging corner from Wilson also provided the sting, only for Schofield to make an excellent tip away before Pipa and Campbell were again left to rue spurning huge opportunities after good play from O’Brien.

Huddersfield Town: Schofield; Edmonds-Green, Keogh, Sarr; Rowe (Stearman 90), J Bacuna, Vallejo, O’Brien, Pipa; Campbell, Sanogo (K Phillips 78). Substitutes unused: Pereira, Holmes, Duhaney, Mbenza, Crichlow, J Brown, High.

Cardiff City: D Phillips; Morrison, Flint, Nelson; Sang, Vaulks, Ralls, Bagan (C Brown 38); Wilson (Pack 86); Moore, Murphy (Ojo 58). Substitutes unused: Smithies, L Bacuna, Williams, Harris, Hoilett, Colwill.

Referee: T Robinson (West Sussex).

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