Wednesday, October 28 2020
It wasn’t pretty, again, but Blues got their first three points since the opening game of the season. Huddersfield will be wondering how they came away with nothing in a game that they, generally, dominated, especially in the second half.
4- 3-3 this time, Pedersen somewhat surprisingly benched, with Friend shuffling across to left-back. Hogan at centre forward was to endure another frustrating night as his confidence dipped below zero, flanked by the recalled Bela and Sanchez.
As so often this season, Blues started sluggishly, allowing Huddersfield as much ball as they wanted, with no press until they got into our half. It felt like a step backwards after the relative positivity of the QPR game.
Not that Huddersfield did a lot with that ball. As the half wore on, they were reduced to passing it along their backline, leaving Etheridge with hardly anything to do. One long shot from Campbell was the closest the Terriers got.
Eventually, Blues came into it and Sanchez was the main man going forward. It was his run after intercepting another of Huddersfield’s innovative dead-balls that lead to Blues taking the lead. Bela whipped in the resulting free-kick after Sanchez had been upended on the end of his long and mazy run. Gardner headed it back across goal and into the corner of the net.
Blues were comfortable for the rest of the half, which is more than could be said after the break. Pritchard entered the fray and immediately and consistently found space and caused problems.
Huddersfield’s equaliser had an air of inevitability about it, as Blues had been backs against the wall for the best part of forty minutes when it arrived. The only surprise was how long it took.
On 85, Huddersfield broke on Blues and Dean ended up conceding a foul on the edge of the box. It always looked as if it was in a prime position for a shot on goal, but we had to wait for the best part of five minutes for Clayton to be attended to before Mbenza swept the ball over the wall and past Etheridge. No more than the away team deserved.
The only question seemed to be whether Blues could hold out for a draw, given the increased momentum that the goal would have given to Huddersfield. But then football is, indeed, a funny game and Jukey snatched a late winner.
Things had got slightly better when the Juke replaced the disconsolate Hogan. He was at least able to hold the ball up a bit, Blues having been guilty of consistently giving the ball back on the increasingly rarer occasions when they won it.
Leko also helped with his trickery and running when he came on for goalscorer, Gardner. The two substitutes combined to grab Blues’ undeserved winner. Slipped through, Leko crashed a shot against the bar, only for Juke to score on the rebound. Only on second viewing did you realise the technique that went into Jukey volleying home as the ball came back off the woodwork.
Nine minutes of injury time to be endured before the relief of the first win in ages. Always a great feeling.
A lot of effort, commitment and shape, but not a lot of quality on show from Blues, apart from Friend, Sanchez in the first-half, and Jukey’s late winner. But a win’s a win.
QPR 0 – Blues 0