WBA 1 Huddersfield Town 2: It was a final for both teams, admits relieved Wagner

Huddersfield players celebrate at the final whistle.
Huddersfield players celebrate at the final whistle.
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TWO GOALS in the space of eight second-half minutes from Rajiv Van La Parra and Steve Mounie secured Huddersfield Town their first top-flight double since April 1956 as they surely hammered the final nail in the managerial coffin of beleaguered West Brom boss Alan Pardew.

After a largely quiet first half, the game burst into life on the restart with Van La Parra - who scored the only goal of the game in spectacular fashion in the reverse fixture - seeing his scuffed low shot crept into the net on 48 minutes - for his third goal in four matches and fourth of 2018.

Eight minutes later, Town were in dreamland against despairing hosts when Mounie raced clear following an excellent pass from Alex Pritchard before coolly firing the ball past the exposed Foster for his eighth of the campaign.

The goal was the prelude to a cascade of boos and chorus of 'You're not fit the wear the shirt' from angry home supporters towards the Albion players, but the hosts set up a tense last 25 minutes by pulling a goal back.

It arrived when Craig Dawson nodded home following an inswinging corner from substitute Chris Brunt, but Town prevailed to claim their second successive top-flight win and move up to 15th, three points clear of the drop zone.

With the stakes high in the frenzied fight to stay in the top-flight, it was perhaps no surprise that the first half proved a stop-start, tense spectacle and a contender for the graveyard slot on Match of the Day.

Goalmouth action was at an absolute premium, while several decisions from referee Jonathan Moss did not carry favour with Town's away contingent either, with both sides afforded just one big opportunity apiece.

The chance for Huddersfield arrived on 36 minutes when a well-rehearsed move straight off the training ground saw the visitors outnumber Albion down their left with Collin Quaner slipping in Florent Hadergjonaj, whose cutback found Alex Pritchard, whose goalbound effort was inadvertently blocked by his own team-mate in Mounie.

The loose ball then found Van La Parra, whose shot was blocked by Ben Foster, before the danger was eventually cleared.

In a game which was devoid of incident, it was a major moment.

After a sterile first half performance when their lack of incision was all too obvious, Albion carved out their sole meaningful chance just before the break when slick play down the right saw the hosts briefly outnumber Town, with Matt Phillips' centre sailing invitingly into the path of James McClean, who could not keep his volley down and fired into the Birmingham Road end.

Other than that, the hosts brought nothing to the table, with some jeers from the Hawthorns faithful apparent at half-time.

Town increased the gloom early in the second half through Van La Parra's fifth of the season before Mounie stunned the majority of the Hawthorns crowd by adding his second, holding his run superbly before latching onto Pritchard's pass and firing home.

It was starting to look like plain sailing for Huddersfield - and increasingly all over for Pardew -with Foster denying Pritchard before the hosts grabbed a much-needed lifeline.

Dawson beat Lossl following Brunt's corner to nod in and suddenly it was game on again.

Play became open with Foster turning away a fierce volley from Williams before the Town midfielder was harshly penalised for a foul on Jay Rodriguez, with Lossl making an alert save to tip away Brunt's sweet curler.

West Brom, in increasingly desperation, pressed towards the end, with Dawson almost producing a carbon-copy of his earlier strike, but headed over.

But it was Town's day as their jubilant fans celebrated at the final whistle and sang: 'We are staying up' while the boos rang out from the home support.

Terriers boss David Wagner said: “(This was a) massive and deserved result I think.

“It was a belter today and in a belter you have to fight, show commitment and desire, effort and attitude, togetherness. All of my players have done this.

“It was a fantastic afternoon for us. It was a final for both teams, we have won it and I am absolutely happy.”

West Brom: Foster; Dawson, Hegazi, Evans, Gibbs; Phillips (Burke 81), Barry (Livermore 69), Krychowiak, McClean (Brunt 57); Rondon, Rodriguez. Substitutes unused: Myhill, Nyom, Yacob, McAuley.

Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Habergjonaj (Smith 53), Zanka, Schindler, Kongolo; Hogg, Williams; Quaner, Pritchard (Delpoitre 77), Van La Parra (Ince 89); Mounie. Substitutes unused: Coleman, Malone, Whitehead, Sabiri.

Referee: J Moss (West Yorkshire).

Attendance: 25,920 (2,717 Huddersfield Town fans).