Huddersfield Town 2 QPR 2: Terriers fail to take advantage as rivals stumble

Maybe if Huddersfield Town had kicked off at the same time as everyone else, it might have been a bit different. Then again, maybe not – it was hardly the first time this season the Terriers were a bit too timid for their own good.

It was hard to know if it was a good or a bad Friday for Huddersfield.

The answer is probably that they ended it in a stronger position than they started it, their buffer to seventh place extended to seven points with only four matches left (five for Middlesbrough) for other teams to drag them out of the Championship play-off places from their lofty third-placed perch.

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The frustration was that it could have been better still than a 2-2 draw with Queens Park Rangers, although in the way the game actually panned out, it could have been worse too.

Huddersfield Town's Jonathan Hogg and Queens Park Rangers' Sam McCallum battle for the ball. Pictures: PA

Coach Carlos Corberan said he only found out the result of the 3pm matches after his side’s evening game had finished, but he could not be sure about his players – “but they looked very focused and concentrated on the details in the game.”

What happened earlier in the day served up an opportunity for the Terriers but in the enormity of it, they seemed a bit too timid to fully grasp it.

Ten minutes in, everything was going so well – perhaps a little too well.

Luton Town had beaten Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Blackburn Rovers and Millwall had all dropped points.

Queens Park Rangers' Sam Field and Huddersfield Town's Lewis O'Brien (right) battle for the ball.

With the sun out and the home fans in good voice, they were given something to sing about after just seven minutes. Jonathan Hogg, whose son JJ was one of the mascots, ran in front of the near post and glanced Danel Sinani’s corner beyond the far post.

At least that is where it would have gone had Yoann Barbet not made such a Horlicks of his clearance, slicing the ball into the net.

But there have been plenty of examples this season – more, it must be said, in its earlier stages – of Town unwilling or unable to go for the jugular when 1-0 up.

As the game slumped into a bit of a stupor, QPR began to realise they had nothing to fear, and started to cause problems themselves. Sam Field controlled the ball nicely only to volley over and cleared the crossbar with a header at a free-kick awarded when Sinani got on the wrong side of Sam McCallum as he attempted a tackle.

Huddersfield Town's Harry Toffolo scores their side's second goal.

It culminated in a 44th-minute equaliser, Huddersfield unable to cut out Sam McCallum’s low cross and Luke Amos arriving onto it to tap in.

It was the only effort on target of the entire first half.

Corberan changed things for the better at the interval, Duane Holmes coming on for the injured Danny Ward – if the coach had any idea of what the injury was or how serious it was, he was doing an exceptional job of hiding it but he claimed the plan had always been for Ward to sit out Monday’s early kick-off at Middlesbrough anyway.

Hogg dropped into a back three as the Terriers went 3-5-1-1. Turning Ollie Turton and Harry Toffolo from full-backs into wing-backs paid off very quickly.

Some patient build-up play saw the ball worked out to Turton, who produced an excellent cross. For a millisecond Toffolo seemed to think his position had changed to that of a No 9, judging by the way he bustled onto the cross and produced a quality header.

Visiting manager Mark Warburton quite rightly called it “a great ball into a dangerous area,” adding: “When you have the ball whipped into those areas it’s so hard to defend.”

Corberan agreed.

“The move for the second goal was a fantastic attack but we were not able to replicate it,” he said.

Even so, minutes later it could have been 3-1, Jon Russell winning a header at the back of the box, Jimmy Dunne inadvertently flicking on and McCallum forced to clear off the line.

But once more, Huddersfield took their foot off the Rs’ throat. Once more it cost them.

Almost immediately the dangerous Ilias Chair volleyed an equaliser after Turton could only head a cross to him.

This time, an equaliser did not prompt enough of a reaction from the home team.

From 2-2, at least until the final kitchen-sink-throwing minutes, Warburton’s side looked the more likely, Levi Colwill only able to touch Chair’s ball from the left through, though perhaps he did enough to make it too difficult for George Thomas at the back post.

Amos put a free header from another Chair header wide and although Huddersfield threw everything at it in stoppage time, it was out of keeping with the timidity that went before.

“I think it shows how tough the Championship is, how balanced every game is,” said Corberan, who argued the draw was a fair result.

“No teams is going to win easily.

“That’s why always on the back of a result that allows you to add points and the players make a lot of effort you cannot complain. When the players are giving everything today, you can’t complain.”

The biggest blemish was an object – it looked like a golf ball – thrown onto the field after 79 minutes.

Considering what good support the home fans gave their team in the first half in particular, it would be a pity if there were to be any serious repercussions for that.

When it came to actually 
football, progress was made – 
it just could have been even better.

Maybe, all things considered, that is just being too greedy.