Huddersfield Town's siege mentality amid injury crisis gives fans reason to appreciate dull draw with Watford
Bleak batterings at the hands of Cardiff City and Leeds United had eroded a lot of hope at the John Smith’s Stadium.
As tepid as the 0-0 draw was at times, it will not rank among the worst of recent Town memories.
The affair was played out against the backdrop of an unavailability crisis in West Yorkshire.
Darren Moore had to do without 11 of his senior players, including influential captain Jonathan Hogg.
Huddersfield have been accused of lacking fight in recent weeks but a siege mentality was on display in the rain, something a livelier crowd appeared to appreciate.
Terriers boss Darren Moore said: “We thank them all for understanding where we are at the moment. We’re all Huddersfield Town players, supporters, staff, everybody in terms of being committed to this football club.
"It’s great to see fans understand the position we’re in at the moment. The way they got behind the team and what we were trying to do today was exemplary from all of them really.
"We thank them very much for staying right the way until the end and getting over the line.
"Obviously we wish things were a lot better than what they are at the moment but under the extremes that we’re under, with the players that we’ve got missing, I thought the players showed real commitment and desire for it today, to not want to get beat.
"We hope that over the next days or weeks that we manage to get one or two more bodies available but we’ll see how the week goes.”
Of the 11 players removed from Moore’s pool, two were thought to be available going into the final preparations for the game.
David Kasumu was a late withdrawal due to a hamstring issue, while personal issues meant Kian Harratt was not involved.
Moore said: “We did have some late changes in the 24 hours before the game. In terms of preparing, I’m just so grateful that when we prepare, we put all the players in scenarios and situations where unforeseen and unexpected circumstances can come.
"The players, from a mental point of view, will have seen that work first-hand.
"I’m always saying to the players, ‘just because you think a certain individual can play, they may even start the game and have to come off the pitch within two minutes and somebody else has got to go on’.
"It’s getting the players ready so for it to actually happen today, from a mental point of view, the players will have seen that all of them have got to be really ready.
"We didn’t expect the bench to be as sparse as what it was today but it goes to show that even in the lead-up to games, you can suffer one or two casualties.
"It’s about adapting and adjusting and getting on with the game as best we can.
"It didn’t detract from the work that we’ve done this week even when we lost those key bodies.”
Huddersfield’s much-changed side battled admirably while rarely looking likely to breach Watford’s experienced defence.
Personnel changes put some of Moore’s fringe players up for assessment and towering forward Kyle Hudlin did his chances of future opportunities no harm.
Rarmarni Edmonds-Green fulfilled his brief in the centre of midfield, while Ben Jackson also staked a claim for a more prominent role at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Watford’s firepower looked superior on paper but there was little evidence of a gulf in quality on the pitch.
The Hornets looked toothless in attack and it was far from the busiest Lee Nicholls has been this season.
It was hardly a result that will have left Huddersfield’s relegation rivals quaking in their boots but given the circumstances, it was no shock to see Moore pleased post-match.
He said: “Credit to the players, we all knew as a group today what had gone on in the last 24 hours.
"Credit to the players for the way they adjusted and just got on with the job. I’m really pleased for them and pleased with the way they went about their work today really, individually and collectively as a group.
"Hopefully, they leave this stadium feeling like [it was] a job well done. It gives us something to work on, something to build from next week in preparation for our next game.”
Huddersfield Town: Nicholls, Jackson, Pearson, Helik, Lees, Nakayama; Thomas, Wiles, Edmonds-Green (Ruffels 87), Headley; Hudlin (Diarra 73)..
Unused substitutes: Maxwell, Daley, Iorpenda, Austerfield.
Watford: Bachmann, Ngakia (Andrews 63), Sierralta, Hoedt, Lewis; Kayembe, Livermore, Chakvetadze (Kone 67); Asprilla (Martins 87), Bayo (Rajovic 67), Sema.
Unused substitutes: Hamer, Porteous, Pollock, Louza, Healey.
Referee: Sunny Singh Gill (London)