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Match Reports

LUTON TOWN 2 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1

Collins and Shinnie grab the goals as Town record first home win

31 August 2019

A James Collins penalty and a beauty from Andrew Shinnie saw the Town come from behind to record their first home win in the Sky Bet Championship against Huddersfield at a sold-out Kenilworth Road this afternoon.

After dominating the majority of the first half, the Hatters fell behind to the side recently relegated from the Premier League when Karlan Grant scored the opening goal two minutes after half-time.

Top scorer Collins was on the spot to win and convert the 57th-minute penalty that hauled Graeme Jones' men level, before Shinnie bent in an absolute beauty with his left foot to put them in front nine minutes later.

Goalkeeper Simon Sluga was on top form, with man-of-the-match Matty Pearson and captain Sonny Bradley dominant ahead of him, as the Town weathered a late push by the visitors to make it three wins in a week, including the Carabao Cup second round success at Cardiff on Tuesday night.

James named an unchanged team from the one that recorded the first league win of the season at Barnsley last Saturday.

That meant that Sluga took his place in goal before flying off to join up with the Croatia squad, with a back four of Luke Bolton - who heads off to join up with England U20s - Pearson, Bradley and James Bree.

Jacob Butterfield, Shinnie and Ryan Tunnicliffe were in the midfield behind a front three of Harry Cornick, Kazenga LuaLua and Collins.

The Hatters started the game in 18th place on four points from five matches, with the Terriers finding life tough as they readjust to life in the second tier following relegation from the Premier League, second-from-bottom at kick-off on one point.

Collins was proving a handful for the Huddersfield defence in the opening period, his willingness to press the keeper causing Kamil Grabara to hit an attempted clearance against him inside the opening 30 seconds, before a low cross from the left had the Terriers’ keeper diving low to gather.

LuaLua cut inside and fired a tame shot wide, before Collins had a fierce drive from just inside the box shot tipped over by Grabara, then a clever short corner routine involving Shinnie and the Republic of Ireland forward teed up Butterfield for a shot that Rajiv van La Parra threw himself at.

Town were playing well and in the 19th minute, after another intricate passing move as they tried to prise a way through the Terriers’ back line, LuaLua burst to the byline and cut the ball back, but Grabara gathered with Collins just unable to steer it in as he slid into the near post.

 In the 26th minute another short corner, this time from Shinnie to Tunnicliffe, saw the former progress towards the six-yard box and fire the ball across for Pearson to prod towards goal, only for Huddersfield to scramble it clear.

Cornick called Grabara into action again on the half-hour when the ex-Bournemouth man nicked the ball once again as Huddersfield tried to play out from a goal-kick, but the on-loan Liverpool stopper beat his shot away at his near post.

The visitors started to enjoy a spell of possession, and their first sight of goal came in the 37th minute when right-winger Adama Diakhaby skipped past Bree and pulled the ball back for Grant, whose stabbed effort was a foot wide of the post.

Diakhaby was the Yorkshire side’s main threat, but a dangerous looking cross to the far post drifted harmlessly wide as we headed into the break goalless.

Within two minutes of the restart, Huddersfield had broken the deadlock when Grant slid in to turn Terence Kongolo’s low cross in at the far post.

Town mounted an immediate response, Bolton volleying off target before Izzy Brown came on in place of Butterfield, and immediately played a part in a sweeping move down the left that ended with Collins firing into the side-netting after LuaLua crossed.

The deserved equaliser came in the 57th minute and it was Collins who won the penalty and converted it, pinching the ball off Huddersfield captain Christopher Schindler's toe and being tripped in the process, before firing past Grabara from 12 yards for his third goal of the season.

Schindler was stretched again on the hour when Pearson curled a delightful ball down the right flank into Cornick’s path, and the Terriers captain had to slide in ahead of Collins, who was all set to turn the low cross in as it zipped across the face of goal.

Shinnie was next to have a go as the Town really got into their stride, unleashing a 65th-minute rocket that was just inches too high after Cornick had sent another delicious cross into the six-yard box, with Collins setting him free down the right once again.

Shinnie wasn’t to be denied for long – a minute to be precise – as Cornick latched onto a flick-on by LuaLua, and played it square to the Scottish midfielder just outside the Huddersfield area. Shinnie shaped to shoot on his right, but swivelled back onto his left and bent a beauty inside the post.

Huddersfield responded to the set-backs by making all three substitutions, and the third – Steve Mounie – had Sluga racing off his line to make a crucial block with ten minutes to go, before Trevoh Chalobah sent the follow-up high over the bar.

The Terriers’ midfielder would soon become the first player from either side into ref Andy Davies’ notepad for hauling down LuaLua as he flew down the Town left, though the official might have allowed play to go on with Cornick racing onto the loose ball.

Town survived an 89th-minute scare when Collins was booked, along with Diakhaby, for an altercation just outside the Hatters’ penalty area, but another Huddersfield sub Alex Pritchard’s free-kick hit the Town wall and went wide for a corner, which the defence cleared before holding out for three points.

 

TOWN: Sluga, Bolton, Pearson, Bradley (c), Bree, Butterfield (Brown 52), Shinnie, Tunnicliffe, LuaLua (Jones 90+3), Cornick (Mpanzu 87), Collins. Subs: Lee, Moncur, Galloway, Shea (GK)

Goals: Collins (pen) 57, Shinnie 66

Yellow: Collins, Brown

HUDDERSFIELD: Grabara, Kongolo, Hogg (Mounie 77), Chalobah, Diakhaby, Grant, Van La Parra (Kachunga 64), Campbell (Pritchard 58), Schindler (c), Brown, Hadergjonaj. Subs: Elphick, Bacuna, Schofield (GK), O'Brien

Goals: Grant 47

Yellows: Chalobah, Diakhaby

REFEREE: Andy Davies

ATT: 10,062 (1,038 away)


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