Promotion fate out of our hands but we must battle on

Owls Danny Batth tackles Terriers Alan Lee
Owls Danny Batth tackles Terriers Alan Lee
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FRUSTRATED Huddersfield Town striker Alan Lee expressed his disappointment at referee Anthony Taylor’s inconsistency during their disheartening 2-0 loss against Sheffield Wednesday.

The burly Republic of Ireland forward was his usual competitive self in Saturday’s Yorkshire derby as the rival clubs battled it out to earn ascendancy in the League One promotion race.

However, he grew increasingly bemused by some of the official’s decision-making as Town slipped to a defeat which seems almost certain to have ended hopes of a top-two place.

Huddersfield’s players and supporters alike were baffled by the awarding of a free-kick which led to Wednesday’s crucial 54th-minute opener when a series of more cynical challenges went unpunished.

Lee admitted: “It was such a soft free-kick.

“Sean (Morrison) just got up to win a header and so it was very confusing.

“It was a good free-kick from their fella but if you’re giving free-kicks for that, you’ll be stopping the game every minute. We just didn’t seem to get the luck of the draw.”

Wednesday defender Danny Batth was booked for lashing out at Lee in the first half but other offences went unnoticed.

He added: “Someone else will have to explain to me why if it’s a free-kick for grabbing outside of the box – which was happening all the time – it’s not the same when it happened (to us) inside it later on.”

However, Lee conceded the Terriers became too open in a bid to draw level after Wednesday centre-half Miguel Llera had curled in a beautiful left-footed free-kick to leave goalkeeper Alex Smithies stranded.

“We pushed forward and conceded a second when, maybe, we should have been a bit tighter,” he added. “We had a lot of time to score the equaliser but there you go. It was disappointing.

“We murdered the first half with all the corners we had; Danny Ward went close and we just needed something to go for us as the first goal was always going to be crucial.”

Lee led the line from the off again after making a first start in eight games during last Tuesday’s win at Leyton Orient. Having helped send the Owls to relegation from the Championship two years ago, keeping Crystal Palace up when scoring in a dramatic 2-2 final day draw at Hillsborough, he had hoped to have an equally influential role on Saturday.

However, Huddersfield missed the chance to move into third above Wednesday on goal difference and, with just five games to go, are now eight points adrift of second-placed Sheffield United and automatic promotion.

“It’s out of our hands so we’re disappointed with that but we need to refocus and battle on,” said the former Rotherham United star, ahead of this afternoon’s fixture at Bournemouth.

“Everyone gave everything and we have just got to pick ourselves up. If we do have to settle for the play-offs, the team who goes in on a run often wins so we’ve got to aim to do that.”

The prolific Jordan Rhodes was kept quiet by Wednesday’s defence and Town will hope he can find more opportunities today.

But Lee, 33, maintained: “We’ve got to create more for him and get some crosses in.

“He feeds off that; If we give Jordan service, he’ll score.”

Huddersfield, who reported no fresh injuries from the weekend, will again be without Jack Hunt this afternoon as he completes a two-game suspension.