Huddersfield Town 2 Leeds United 2: Roberts sends warning to League One rivals

GARY ROBERTS insists home comforts can help Huddersfield Town reel in Leeds United and clinch automatic promotion.

The Terriers missed the chance to make up ground on their neighbours as a captivating West Yorkshire derby finished 2-2 in front of a bumper 21,764 crowd.

Town dominated the first half to such an extent that Leeds could not have complained had the host side been two or even three goals ahead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

United then hit back with two goals in six second-half minutes to suggest a first win over their derby rivals in Huddersfield since 1963 was in the offing only for Roberts to rescue a deserved point with a dramatic late equaliser.

Launch the Yorkshire Post's Coca-Cola Football League video player and watch highlights from the weekend

It means nine points still separate Town from second-placed Leeds in the League One table but Chester-born Roberts is adamant the race for automatic promotion remains wide open due to Norwich, Charlton, Millwall and Colchester all still having to visit the Galpharm Stadium this season.

Roberts said: "I think it will definitely go down to the wire. Leeds have had a blip and are still second. But that only means they are there to be shot at.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"I think we can catch them. Their run-in is tougher than ours. Leeds have to go to Norwich, Charlton and so on. We have already been, and although we didn't pick up too many points we are still in the mix.

"We want automatic promotion and the belief is building each week that we can achieve it. All the big boys have still got to come here, where we are unbeaten.

"No-one enjoys coming to Huddersfield, especially as our supporters are right on top of the pitch.

"If we take points off those sides in the top six and maintain our current away form then we won't be far away."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The growing belief within the Huddersfield ranks that the season will culminate in promotion being clinched, either via the top two or play-offs, is understandable. Lee Clark's men are unbeaten in 11 games and, as they showed against Leeds, in cracking form.

Knowing victory would cut the points advantage enjoyed by their neighbours from down the A62 by a third, Huddersfield tore into the visitors from the very start.

In contrast to United's over-reliance on pumping long balls forward in the opening 45 minutes, Town endeavoured to get the ball down in an attempt to utilise their pace out wide.

Anthony Pilkington, in particular, revelled in the approach with his quick feet and even quicker thinking ensuring it was a torrid afternoon for Shane Lowry.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It was a wicked deflection off Lowry that helped Pilkington open the scoring in the 13th minute, the wideman's shot from just outside the area cannoning beyond the reach of Casper Ankergren off the on-loan left-back.

If Lowry was unfortunate in that instance, there was no such excuse just before the half-hour when he stood off Pilkington and the wideman accepted the invitation to cut inside to hit a rasping shot an inch past the post.

It was a similar story four minutes before half-time when neat play by Roberts plus Gary McSheffrey failing to offer any support left Lowry floundering as Lee Peltier scampered clear.

He then picked out the unmarked Jordan Rhodes six yards from goal only for the club's top scorer to balloon his shot over.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The miss was a major let-off for Leeds, who responded with a vastly improved second-half showing to regain the initiative.

First, Jonny Howson showed tremendous poise to skip past two challenges before releasing Robert Snodgrass down the right on 61 minutes.

The Scot, after riding a Roberts challenge, then looked up and swung over an inviting centre for Howson to head deftly past Alex Smithies.

The 3,995 visiting fans were celebrating again just six minutes later when Snodgrass underlined his class with an inch-perfect corner that Richard Naylor flicked towards Luciano Becchio, who made no mistake from close range.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A first Leeds away win over Huddersfield since Don Revie's side triumphed 2-0 en route to winning promotion from the Second Division in the 1963-64 season beckoned only for Huddersfield to stage a late rally.

The equaliser came five minutes from time courtesy of a deep cross from Pilkington that Roberts calmly side-footed past Ankergren.

United's Danish goalkeeper then had to pull off a stunning save to deny Lee Novak and ensure it was honours even for a second time between the West Yorkshire rivals this season.

Ankergren said: "At the final whistle, it was a sense of relief at getting a point but also frustration that it wasn't all three as we were so close.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"But maybe it was a fair result. We would certainly have taken a point before kick-off as Huddersfield have a very good home record. In the first half, we played too many long balls. There is no problem with playing long balls if they are good long balls. At half-time, the manager told us to get the ball down more and I felt we were much better."


Hero: Anthony Pilkington

A constant threat to the Leeds United defence throughout the game, the Town midfielder was unfortunate not to finish the match on the winning side. He opened the scoring on 13 minutes with a deflected shot off Shane Lowry and set up the late equaliser for Gary Roberts which secured the 2-2 draw. In between, Pilkington was also hugely unfortunate to see a rasping first-half drive pass just inches wide of the post with United goalkeeper Casper Ankergren well beaten.

Villain: Jordan Rhodes

If Town fans could have picked the one player to be presented with a simple chance in front of goal four minutes before half-time, it would have been Rhodes. However, after being cleverly picked out by Lee Peltier, the unmarked Huddersfield top scorer somehow blazed over from six yards out with the goal at his mercy. If he had been able to net a 15th league goal of the season, it would have been difficult to envisage Leeds getting back into the game.

Key moment: 85th minute

With Leeds 2-1 ahead and the clock counting down, Anthony Pilkington kept the ball alive on the right flank as the visiting side tried in vain to clear the danger following a free-kick. The wideman's cross cleared a mass of bodies in the six-yard box and found Gary Roberts, who showed tremendous poise to casually side-foot the ball past the Leeds goalkeeper Casper Ankergren. Key moment: 85th minute

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With Leeds 2-1 ahead and the clock counting down, Anthony Pilkington kept the ball alive on the right flank as the visiting side tried in vain to clear the danger following a free-kick. The wideman's cross cleared a mass of bodies in the six-yard box and found Gary Roberts, who showed tremendous poise to casually side-foot the ball past the Leeds goalkeeper Casper Ankergren.

Ref watch: Kevin Friend

A decent display from the official. Showed early on that he would stand for no nonsense when ensuring Robert Snodgrass took a free-kick from the correct position despite the Scot trying to steal a couple of yards. The three yellow cards dished out to Richard Naylor, Luciano Becchio and Shane Lowry were also deserved, while Friend's display was made all the more impressive by one of his linesmen, Lancastrian Mo Matadar, making a number of dubious decisions to leave both sets of players frustrated with the officials.


An absorbing West Yorkshire derby contest between two sides who, on this evidence, would prosper at a higher level of football. Town bossed the first half and could have been three goals up at the break as Leeds played far too many aimless long balls out of defence. The opening 20 minutes of the second half then saw United seize control before Huddersfield hit back to claim a deserved point with a late rally. A fantastic game of football.

Quote of the day

As the ball came over, it was like watching it on television as the ball took an age to reach me.

– Gary Roberts reveals how it felt like time was standing still a split-second before netting Town's dramatic late equaliser.