Huddersfield Town 2 Brentford 1: Terriers win at John Smith’s Stadium

Huddersfield's Kasey Palmer scoring the second and winning goal of the match.
Huddersfield's Kasey Palmer scoring the second and winning goal of the match.
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A DRAMATIC 78TH-MINUTE strike from substitute Kasey Palmer - with the first touch of his Huddersfield Town career - ended the hosts’ long wait for an opening-day win in the second-tier as they overcame Brentford.

Seconds after entering the fray for Jack Payne, Palmer fired home a rebound from close range after Daniel Bentley parried Rajiv Van La Parra’s shot into his path - to the delight of the overwhelming majority of the 18,479 crowd - Town’s biggest on the opening day at home since 1970.

Huddersfield Town.

Huddersfield Town.

The win ensured Town ended a run of eight successive first-day losses at this level, as they claimed their first success since beating Charlton 2-0 20 years ago.

Palmer’s fellow debutant Elias Kachunga fired the hosts in front with his first goal in Town colours five minutes after the break, showing his predatory nous by heading home Tommy Smith’s cross.

Despite second-half substitute Nico Yennaris levelling in the 75th minute, parity was short-lived with Palmer setting the contest just three minutes later.

It was a deserved victory for Town, with the only downer being the sight of Kachunga going off on 65 minutes after feeling the back of his hamstring, although the problem did not appear to be too bad.

Six summer signings - goalkeeper Danny Ward, £1.8m record signing Chris Schindler, left-back Chris Lowe, midfielders Aaron Mooy and Payne and striker Kachunga - were handed debuts by Town head coach David Wagner, with fellow close-season arrivals Joel Coleman, Ivan Paurevic, Jon Stankovic, Michele Hefele and Palmer on the bench.

The sole starting survivors from the Town side who capitulated 5-1 at home to Brentford 91 days ago on the final day of last season were Tommy Smith, captain Mark Hudson and Van La Parra.

Meanwhile, the Bees gave debuts to Daniel Bentley, Jon Egan, Callum Elder and Romaine Sawyers.

Town started and ended the first half in vibrant fashion, but in the main, the half was even with both sides, employing an identical 4-2-3-1 system, having their moments.

The best chance for Town arrived in the build-up to the break when Joe Lolley wriggled clear in the box before sending his fierce shot beaten away by Bentley.

The dangerous Scott Hogan, who ended last season with seven goals in the final four matches, went closest twice for the Bees, with his low angled shot grasped by Ward after being played in by Lewis MacLeod following a Mark Hudson error on 21 minutes before seeing a cross-shot whistle across goal 13 minutes later.

Other efforts of note from Town saw Van La Parra fire straight at Bentley early on following good work by the industrious Kachunga - who also fired wide after good play by Payne and Mooy five minutes before the break.

The German forward fared better four minutes after the restart with he netted with a header that any centre-forward worth his salt would have been proud of.

He found space at the far post and after Smith send over an enticing cross, he clinically dispatched a header past Bentley.

It was the prelude to a spell of Town dominance with the lively Payne sending a well-struck twenty-yarder turned away impressively by Bentley.

After a slow start to the half, Brentford made a double change with Sam Saunders and Yennaris entering the fray and pepping up the visitors, with Hogan spurning a presentable chance just after the hour, firing straight at Ward when well placed.

Ward then held a well-directed free-kick by MacLeod, with Van La Parra assuming the lone striker’s role for Town after Kachunga exited the fray to a rapturous ovation.

Town went close to a second when Van La Parra’s close-range effort was blocked by Bentley after good work by Sean Scannell before the Bees conjured a leveller out of nothing, Yennaris coolly firing home low past Ward after a neat move involving Sawyers, Hogan and MacLeod.

But Palmer’s strike settled the contest in Town’s favour, deservedly, after he tapped home following a fine run from Van La Parra, whose effort was blocked by Bentley.

Huddersfield Town: Ward; Smith, Hudson, Schindler, Lowe; Hogg, Mooy; Lolley (Paurevic 85), Payne (Palmer 78), Van La Parra; Kachunga (Scannell 65). Substitutes unused: Coleman, Cranie, Stankovic, Hefele.

Brentford: Bentley; Clarke, Dean, Egan, Elder; McEachran (Yennaris 56), Woods; Sawyers, Kerschbaumer (Saunders 56), MacLeod (Hoffmann 82); Hogan. Substitutes unused: Bonham, McCormack, Field, Holldack.

Referee: G Eltrincham (Tyne and Wear).

Attendance: 18,479.

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