Without doubt when the fixtures were released this one will have caught the eye of many town fans, myself included.
However, as previously mentioned on a separate post and once eloquently put during a half-time team talk at Shrewsbury by Neil Warnock “you, you’re in f**king Latvia.” Why yes Neil. I am in Latvia, Riga to be precise, there for a friend’s wedding. How dare he arrange a wedding during football season?
So after the spending the morning sightseeing and enjoy all Riga has to other, I was permitted to turn my attentions to Huddersfield Town. Having ensured the Wi-Fi code was activated well in advance, I found myself sat in the hotel bar flicking furiously between Twitter, sky sports and BBC sport, whilst indulging in the local tipple Mëzpils, a pale lager that comes in around 5.5%, but I digress.
@htafcdotcom announced the team, and in typical Wagner style there were one or two changes to the starting XI and a plethora of quality keeping the seats warms.
Like most derby’s, the pre-match build up had bubbled up quite nicely, and I can only imagine how electric the atmosphere must have been.
Like the popping of champagne cork, the game burst into action immediately. 1st minute ‘CHANCE’, 2nd minute ‘CHANCE’, 3rd minute ‘CHANCE’. I was as equally excited as completely helpless. (Of course, when I go the game, I can impact the result) But my fate was sealed and if I couldn’t be part of the 20,000+, sounds better than 20,001, I would be there in spirit.
Town quickly settled into their identity of pressing and possession, and in the 25th minute their endeavour was rewarded with a goal of genuine quality. Chris Lowe picked up the ball just inside the Barnsley half; cutting inside with a great first touch, he drove at the defence, patiently waiting to pick his pass. In Kachunga, Lowe found a willing runner who was more than capable of holding off his man to exchange a very neat one-two, to which Lowe effortlessly guided into the top corner. A first goal for the German, and one he himself describes as “the best goal in my career”.
Town would continue to dominate proceedings through the first period creating a number of chances and limiting the visitors to set-plays and long range shots.
Having returned from the break Town were quickly pegged back by, surprise surprise, a set-play. Roberts would once more load up his rocket launcher, hurling the ball into box which was met by the head of Mawson, with the Town defence stranded the ball nestled into an empty net. 1-1.
Their equaliser seemed to invigorate the Tykes and leave the Terriers cowering in the corner with Barnsley enjoying the better of the chances, and when Dean Whitehead’s back pass was intercepted by the on rushing Payne Town fans feared the worst. Luckily for Whitehead and the blue and white army, Payne could only hit the post. **sigh of relief**.
The kind of luck we are not used too, but following recent results Town fans have come to expect a little luck and a lot of hard work.
Enter Jonathan Hogg, possible the hardest working player I have seen in a Town shirt in recent years and it would the substitute who would claim the winner. For a second time Kachunga was able to use his strength and play another clever return pass to Hogg, who turned on a six pence and like Lowe, fired the ball into the top corner. Enough to send Wagner charging off down the touchline, beating his chest and embracing his players.
Another late winner from another substitute, this “squad thing” is making sense.
There was little time for Barnsley to react and despite a premature tweet pronouncing the result, the final whistle swiftly rung out. As the fans at the John Smith’s applauded and I ordered another Mëzpils, head coach David Wagner lined up the players. “Way”, “way”, “way”, the salute to the fans was once more loud and proud.
And with that Huddersfield Town have not only enjoyed their best start to a season for longer than we all care to admit, they now sit proudly atop the Sky Bet Championship table.
Ooh to be a…