Even as I sit here and begin to write this, I check the Internet, sky sports news and phone my Dad just to make sure, each time I check, each time I see its true. Huddersfield have beaten Newcastle 2-1 at St James’ Park in front of no less than 52,000 fans including 3,200 Huddersfield fans.
Sadly, however I was not amongst this contingency, but luckily enough I knew some people who were, and who were kind enough to keep me updated, along with @htafcdotcom and Alan McInally on Sky Sports Gillette Soccer Saturday.
My Saturday afternoon instead was spent furiously refreshing my twitter timeline and praying the vidiprinter would bring good news.
Having spoken to my parents, who had been lucky enough to attend the game, earlier that morning, they had told me of how they had met and spoken to a number of the staff and players in Newcastle. They discovered the team have an away pre-match ritual of a team walk together, to relax, clear their minds, prepare, go on twitter, whatever it may be, the only rule is that they do it together. I’m sure we’ll agree that togetherness is noticeable on the pitch.
And that is really all we ask for as fans. The town faithful are an honest bunch, and would have left St James’ Park with their heads held high as long as they’d witnessed a real fighting performance for the entire 90 mins. For those who made the trip or like I, had to make do with other solutions, we not only got this performance but the result it so duly deserved.
As the teams were announced it was evident that the town head coach and staff clearly arrived in Newcastle with a different strategy to what we are normally used to seeing. As opposed to our usual dominance of possession, the team allowed Newcastle a lot more of the football, absorbing pressure until the opportunity to counter attack at speed and in numbers.
Nahki Wells and Elias Kachunga both made the starting XI, quashing the rumours and theories of DW only ever wanting to play 1 man up top. Both strikers looked bright and dangerous, with Kachunga hitting the post with a danger dribble and strike with Well’s notching his first of the season, a neat left footed finish just before half time.
Newcastle had some chances throughout this game, and with players such as Jonjo Shelvey, Matt Richie amongst others, they will be a threat to any championship side this year. And when Newcastle equalised on the hour mark, the Town fans and players could have been forgiven for feeling slightly hard done to, a penalty was awarded for a hand-ball, which saw Dwight Gayle miss the resulting spot-kick but nod home the rebound.
Having supported Town as long as I have, it could have been very easy to believe this equaliser would now mean only one thing….no points.
But wait. This is the new look Huddersfield Town. The Wagner Revolution.
There’s reason to believe all hope is not lost, instead, reason to believe we can still win this game. With such a strong squad the Head Coach and fans alike can look at the bench as the game enters its final scene and think “he can go and win this.”
Something was stirring at St James’ Park and it wasn’t just the heart-rate of the 3,200 Town fans.
Just like Brentford a week ago, and the introduction of Kasey Palmer, today it was the turn of Jack Payne and in the 82nd minute he repeated Palmer’s heroics and scored the winner. Further highlighting Wagner’s attitude that just because you’re not in the starting XI, it doesn’t mean you aren’t an important part of the fixture.
So there I was, 10 minutes to go, praying not to see Alan McInally’s mush again and waiting for the FT on the vidiprinter to appear. +4 minutes, oh no, more torture.
Then suddenly, we had done it. 2 out of 2. In the home of the promotion favourites, their first home game of the season. It doesn’t get much better than that. Videos, photos and tweets are still flooding my timeline. Enjoy it town fans.
100% record, joint top.
Ooh to be a…