ON the previous occasion that these two sides convened in Huddersfield, visiting manager Carlos Carvalhal spoke colourfully about how the hosts played opera and Swansea were forced to listen to the hosts’ music in a one-sided encounter which somehow finished goalless.
This latest meeting also ended with no winner, but as opposed to the classic strains of opera, raucous heavy-metal was more in keeping with the latest action.
Huddersfield were relentless, high-octane and combative in their approach on an evening which ended in controversy when Trevoh Chalobah was dismissed following a late altercation with Swansea substitute George Byers.
It was the final flashpoint in a feisty occasion which saw Swansea’s players continually show a great predilection for the theatrical whenever they were challenged by a pumped-up home side.
Byers went down in a heap after a coming together with Chalobah, but despite there appearing to be minimal contact by the head of the home player, intent was the issue and culminated in the obligatory red. After the game, Chalobah apologised via social media for the incident.
Clearly briefed by Danny Cowley to the dangers of letting Swansea’s slick ball-players settle, the Terriers followed that missive to the letter against visitors boasting the only remaining unbeaten away record left in the EFL in 2019-20.
That remained intact by the final whistle, while Town had the consolation of extending their own sequence without a defeat at the John Smith’s Stadium to six matches.
Ahead of the game, Cowley had spoken about his liking for midweek games under the lights, having professed to being disappointed with his side’s tepid performance in his opening Tuesday night match in front of home supporters against Middlesbrough last month.
On this occasion, Town were far more proactive, but had to settle for a point after Karlan Grant’s tenth goal of the campaign in the 41st-minute cancelled out a first goal of the season from Jay Fulton, who put the Welshman ahead with their only worthwhile first-half attempt on 18 minutes.
Cowley spoke in his programme notes about ‘variables’ being against his side in their weekend tussle with Birmingham, revealing that the line-up he picked was the most challenging in his 13 years as a manager due to injury issues.
The situation failed to clear up sufficiently last night, with midfielders Juninho Bacuna and Lewis O’Brien again pressed into service as auxiliary full-backs.
Against a possession-based side like Swansea, it had the makings of a probing examination.
What transpired instead was a strong opening half from a Town side reinforced by a heavy early tackle from Jonathan Hogg on Connor Roberts which earned a yellow card.
The visitors were patently unhappy at the hosts’ approach, which they viewed as robust with an incident arriving just after the half-hour mark when, after a long deliberation between the officials, Fraizer Campbell was cautioned as opposed to sent off after catching Mike Van Der Hoorn with a late challenge.
The Swans defender required considerable treatment before carrying on, much to the anger of home supporters – although in fairness, the Dutchman was forced off at the interval.
They were just as animated, but for far more pleasant reasons, when Town drew level from a familiar source ahead of the break.
Alex Pritchard’s low drive struck Christopher Schindler and spun obligingly into the path of Grant, who coolly tucked the ball home. It restored parity after Fulton’s opener, with Chalobah inadvertently diverting Wilmot’s header towards him after Town failed to clear their lines, with Fulton rising shot flying past Kamil Gabara at his near post.
In the opening salvos, Chalobah had gone close with a fine strike from distance which was tipped over by Woodman.
Van Der Hoorn’s departure added to Swansea’s problems in the middle of defence with Joe Rodon already out injured, with the onus being on Town to go for the jugular, while maintaining diligence levels at the other end on the resumption.
That was hammered home when Swansea effortlessly glided upfield to serve up a chance for Bersant Celina, whose goalbound curler deflected just wide.
Far more front-foot and forceful on home soil under Cowley these days, Town applied the bulk of the pressure with Woodman again called upon to tip over Pritchard’s arching free-kick before Bacuna’s screaming angled volley whizzed across goal.
Woodman turned away Pritchard’s stinging drive, but it was Swansea who went close to a late winner when substitute Ben Cabango headed wide before the legs of Grabara thwarted another replacement in Sam Surridge – before Chalobah saw red.
Huddersfield Town: Grabara; Bacuna, Schindler, Stankovic, O’Brien; Chalobah, Hogg; Kachunga, Pritchard (Diakhaby 79), Grant (Hadergjonaj 86); Campbell (Mounie 69). Substitutes unused: Coleman, Kongolo, Koroma, Daly.
Swansea City: Woodman; Roberts, van der Hoorn (Cabango 45), Wilmot, Bidwell; Fulton, Grimes; Ayew, Celina (Byers 62), Peterson (Surridge 68); Baston. Substitutes unused: Nordfeldt, Naughton, McKay, Dhanda.
Referee: J Gillett (Australia).