A LATE FRACAS which saw David Wagner and Garry Monk sat to the stands following an altercation stole the headlines as Huddersfield Town claimed a dramatic late win over Leeds United.
Michael Hefele was the hero for Town, reacting quickest to score after Aaron Mooy’s low shot was deflected into his path off Luke Ayling in the 90th minute - but his strike was the precursor to angry scenes between both benches.
In celebrating the goal, Wagner clashed with Monk and a free-for-all ensued for around thirty seconds, with players and officials from both sides involved in heated scenes before calm was eventually restored.
It soured a cracking derby, which saw Town deservedly triumph, having led earlier through substitute Izzy Brown, whose goal was cancelled out by Chris Wood in the first half.
Wood was offside in the first phase after Pablo Hernandez’s free-kick was blocked, but he got himself back into an onside position when the Spaniard returned the loose ball into the box after regaining possession, latching onto Kyle Bartley’s flick on before rounding Danny Ward and slotting the ball home ten minutes before the break.
It was a blow for Town, who assumed command after taking the lead courtesy of Brown on 27 minutes.
Moments after entering the fray from the bench, Brown showed the predatory instincts of a striker to emphatically fire home Tommy Smith’s superb low cross from close range.
Leeds had the better of the opening sparrings and refused to allow Town time and space to settle with Ward denying Wood.
But Town gradually found their feet and started to resemble their old selves with Collin Quaner, handed a league debut, forcing Rob Green into a smart save following a well-struck low shot following good work by Kasey Palmer.
The Chelsea loanee soon had to make way after being injured in a challenge with Liam Bridcutt before his replacement made an telling impact, scoring with just his second touch.
But Wood’s 21st goal of the campaign restored parity ahead of play.
A gripping derby then saw play switch quickly to the other end with only an excellent last-ditch block by Gaetano Berardi denying Elias Kachunga from putting Town back in front.
Soon after, Michael Hefele wastefully planted a free header wide following Aaron Mooy’s corner.
Excellent covering defending from Smith prevented Wood from putting United into the lead on 51 minutes after smart work down the left from Hernandez and Dallas before a nervy sliced clearance at the other end from Kyle Bartley flew just over the top following Rajiv van La Parra’s centre.
Mooy then fired wide with a pot-shot as Town started to enjoy a fair bit of possession before Van La Parra was inches away from turning in Kachunga’s inviting low cross.
The opportunities were starting to stack up for Town, who soon spurned a golden chance after being left in the clear following Brown’s cross, but he made a total hash of things and couldn’t get a clean connection with the goal gaping.
Play soon switched to the other end, with debutant Alfonso Pedraza, on for the disappointing Souleymane Doukara, seeing his well-struck shot acrobatically tipped away by Ward.
It was Town who looked the most likely with Green soon fielding a well-struck low shot from Mooy, dominant on the resumption.
Kachunga then went mighty close, turning a cross from Schindler inches wide before the late drama, courtesy of Hefele’s goal and the unsavoury scenes which followed.
Huddersfield Town: Ward; Smith, Hefele, Schindler, Lowe; Hogg, Mooy; Kachunga, Palmer (Brown 25), Van La Parra (Lolley 65); Quaner (Wells 65). Substitutes unused: Coleman, Whitehead, Hudson, Cranie.
Leeds United: Green; Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Berardi; Bridcutt, Vieira; Doukara (Pedraza 62), Hernandez (O’Kane 82), Dallas (Barrow 76); Wood. Substitutes unused: Silvestri, Cooper, Coyle, Antonsson.
Referee: S Hooper (Wiltshire).