West Bromwich Albion 4 Huddersfield Town 2 – Fitness an issue for Terriers, says Danny Cowley
The Terriers twice led through Lewis O’Brien after 16 minutes then Karlan Grant 10 minutes before the interval after Matt Phillips levelled.
Two goals in five second-half minutes – both set up by half-time substitute Grady Diangana – won it for West Brom, who moved up to fourth place in the Championship after stretching their unbeaten start to eight games.
On-loan West Ham winger Diangana crossed for Darrell Furlong to head home to make it 2-2 in the 70th minute, then Diangana’s mazy solo run teed up Phillips to win it before former Rotherham United defender Semi Ajayi added the gloss late on. Huddersfield have lost 28 out of their previous 33 league games and are now 19 matches without a win in all competitions, but they led 2-1 at the break.
“It’s more a mental thing – after 60 minutes, we were 2-1 up at West Brom and the feeling was we were playing for the end, instead of playing to the end,” said Cowley. “There’s a big difference and we need to be tougher at that moment. We will periodise this next spell to try to get the players to the fitness levels they need to be at.
“You have to be very careful in season because games come thick and fast and you can end up breaking them if you’re not careful, so we have to make sure it’s gradual and layered.
“What we will look to do is get five per cent gains each week from a physiological point of view then we will reload in the sixth week to allow the fitness adaptation to take place.”
West Brom had the first chance of the match when striker Charlie Austin’s first-time shot was deflected just wide off Chris Schindler from Phillips’s quick cross.
But Huddersfield replied by taking the lead with their first attack. O’Brien raced from the centre circle and exchanged passes with Fraizer Campbell before rifling a low left-footed drive past goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
The Terriers’ lead did not last long as the home side drew level. Phillips stroked a sidefooted effort in off the post after Austin - with his back to goal - had helped Furlong’s short ball to him 15 yards out.
Huddersfield regained the lead after some awful defending from the hosts.
Kyle Bartley’s pass from Johnstone was intercepted by Trevoh Chalobah and Elias Kachunga exchanged passes with him before finding Grant, who poked home.
But the introducton of Diangana at half-time was to prove key.
West Brom: Johnstone, Furlong, Ajayi, Bartley, Ferguson, Livermore, Sawyers, Phillips (Robson-Kanu 82), Krovinovic (Diangana 46), M Pereira, Austin (Zohore 72). Unused substitutes: Brunt, Edwards, Bond, O’Shea.
Huddersfield: Grabara, Hadergjonaj , Elphick, Schindler, Kongolo (J Brown 63), Chalobah, Hogg, O’Brien (Diakhaby 83), Kachunga,Campbell (Mounie 65),Ahearne-Grant. Unused substitutes: Bacuna, Mbenza, Stankovic, Schofield.
Referee: T Robinson (West Sussex).