VAR controversy hard to take for Huddersfield Town but Terriers have plenty of reasons to be positive - Stuart Rayner
So on the day where £170m was riding on the outcome of one match, the Championship had a VAR for the first time this season.
Rather than clear up any controversy, it only caused more. Unfortunately for Huddersfield Town, the decisions seemed to go against them and in favour of Nottingham Forest, who won promotion to the Premier League with a 1-0 victory.
Perhaps you could argue the contact from Jack Colback was insufficient to send Harry Toffolo flying, or that he was on his way before it. Referee Jon Moss was unimpressed, booking the wing-back for a dive. Paul Tierney saw no clear and obvious error.
But the kick through Lewis O’Brien’s calf by Max Lowe was a clear penalty. Tierney looked at it once and decided it was not even worth thinking about whether Moss was right to wave play on. That was hard to fathom.
Normally one of the joys of Championship football is you do not have to put up with the nonsense of VAR – less a safety net, more just an extra level of chance which causes as much argument as we had without it.
The manner of Huddersfield’s defeat – even though they did not have a shot on target over the 90 minutes – will hit them where it hurts but when the new season kicks off in July – that is another cost of yesterday’s defeat – they need to have got over it because this season laid the foundations to keep progressing.
Much of the legacy of Huddersfield’s last Premier League spell was damaging but the harm to the wage bill and dressing room were finally cleared last summer and one area where the money was well spent is in upgrading their Canalside training ground.
With state-of-the-art facilities and a high-quality coach in Carlos Corberan, theirs is the sort of club players with a hunger for self-improvement should want to be at.
Sorba Thomas and Levi Colwill have developed greatly in West Yorkshire but you might expect that of players their age. Old dogs like Tom Lees and Jonathan Hogg have learnt new tricks too. The team has developed an impressive tactical flexibility.
Recruitment has been excellent too. It is fair to say Lees, Lee Nicholls, Matty Pearson, Jordan Rhodes and Ollie Turton did not arrive with massive expectations, but they have been exactly the sort of people and players the club needed.
If this was O’Brien’s last game for Huddersfield, at least there will be money to invest. The B team system Thomas was part of in the second half of last season has done a good job of polishing Jon Russell up in the first half of this.
Not letting the disappointment linger will be a challenge. Sheffield United last season and Barnsley this are prime examples of how difficult following up a good season can be when you are punching above your weight.
This, after all, was a team most people expected to be fighting against relegation this season. But with Dean Hoyle taking back the chairmanship, this is a club with good leadership, a clear idea of where it is going and how it plans to get there.
And it will have at least 12 more months without having to battle against blasted VAR.