Hull City 1 Huddersfield Town 1: Heartache for battling Terriers as Oscar Estupinan saves the Tigers
On the cusp of a sixth successive win over their East Yorkshire rivals, the Terriers were hit with a crushing blow in the solar plexus in the eighth minute of stoppage-time as they saw two precious survival points slip from their fingers.
Their defensive organisation had been sterling all game, but when Oscar Estupinan is around, the mask cannot slip.
The Colombian had issued a warning when he saw his shot turned onto the post by Nicholas Bilokapic. It was not heeded as he was left with space at the death before firing home a deft lob for his 12th goal of the season.
Hull’s run without a home win continued to an eighth game, but there was joy and relief at the finale with the final whistle coming seconds after.
With four players making their first league appearances of the season - with two making league debuts in the case of Bilokapic and Matt Lowton - it was difficult to know what to expect from Huddersfield.
In the event, they produced a cohesive away half of football which saw them deservedly lead at the interval and it was undoubtedly a job well done at half time.
After their intense efforts against Fulham seven days earlier and two previous home performances that probably merited better against Blackpool and Sunderland, Hull were limp by contrast in the first period and could have few arguments at being behind.
The jeers at the interval were justified in fairness.
Hull never truly got going with their one moment of danger seeing Bilokapic beat away a fierce drive from Regan Slater.
Other than that, they failed to threaten the Aussie rookie, who was pocketed well.
Town knocked on the door early on with Matty Pearson - a welcome returnee in his first game of the campaign - almost stabbing home before Duane Holmes should have done better when well placed.
Town’s shape without the ball was excellent and going forward, Jack Rudoni posed issues in particular with his craft and movement.
A close shave for Hull came when Lowton’s shot was tipped over by Matt Ingram after good work down the left from Josh Ruffels and then Jordan Rhodes before the goal Town had been hinting at arrived.
A short corner routine from Rudoni ended with Ruffels heading towards the far post. Hogg nodded the ball back across goal and Helik was lurking at the back post to head in.
On the restart, the emphasis for Town was clearly game management and protecting their precious gain.
The issues belonged to Hull and after a short while, they started to have a go.
They went very close to a leveller when a shot on the turn from top-scorer Estupinan was turned onto the post impressively by Bilokapic. The opportunity revived home supporters’ spirit and those in amber and black fed off it.
Substitute Ozan Tufan soon fired wide as Huddersfield started to look a touch edgy for the first time.
Having thrown on Tufan and Callum Elder, Liam Rosenior called for Aaron Connolly and Benjamin Tetteh to keep up the pressure and threat.
At the other end, Ingram was an observer, safe for one save with his legs to thwart Helik with most of the play towards the other goal.
Town dropped down and focused on survival and their defending was resolute, hearty and on point. One scare saw Tetteh fire a snapshot just over before Estupinan had the final word after Elder flicked on Alfie Jones’ punt forward.
Heartache for Town.
Hull City: Ingram, Christie (Coyle 84); A Jones, McLoughlin (Tufan 59), Greaves; Docherty (Tetteh 66), Seri; Longman (Elder 59), Slater, Smith (Connolly 66); Estupinan. Substitutes unused: Lo-Tutala, Woods.
Huddersfield Town: Bilokapic; Lees, Helik, Pearson (Boyle 68); Lowton, Hogg, High, Ruffels; Rudoni (Waghorn 56), Holmes (Diarra 76); Rhodes (Kasumu 68). Substitutes unused: Chapman, Thomas, Kamberi.
Referee: T Bramall (Sheffield).