SAT 6 AUG – H – Brentford, Att. 18,479, 2 – 1 W
SAT 13 AUG – A – Newcastle, Att. 52,079, 1 – 2 W
TUE 16 AUG – A – Aston Villa, Att. 34,924, 1 – 1 D
SAT 20 AUG – H – Barnsley, Att. 20,001, 2 – 1 W
SAT 27 AUG – H – Wolves, Att. 19,972, 1 – 0 W
With the September fixtures well underway I wanted to look at one of our best months. I don’t think there are enough superlatives to do justice to how successful this month has been.
When the fixtures were first released way back in June, Town fans, myself included, could have been forgiven for spending the next month worrying that all our pre-season optimism and belief in the #WagnerRevolution may encounter a rather bumpy start.
The season opener is always an exciting game and our first match was at home to Brentford, a repeat fixture of the heavy 5-1 defeat suffered towards the dying stages of last season. Coupled with our recent opening fixture match form the challenge was immediate. Backed by a crowd reaching 19,000, Town under the guidance of David Wagner were prepared. A starting XI with a good mixture of old and new blood, Town put in a reassuring performance that showcased the sides attacking threat, character and determination with Town coming out on top, 2-1 winners.
Next…promotion favourites and northern giants Newcastle United, who like Town, have had an influx of new players over the summer. However, unlike Town, it appeared to everyone outside St. James’ park that Rafa, backed by the millions of pounds from the parachute payment and outgoing players, was merely signing anyone who would come.
Nevertheless, a trip to the North East for the first away fixture of the season was never going to be easy, but these are the challenges David Wagner and his team want. How often have we heard “there are no limits” and if this isn’t the result to prove that then I don’t know what is. Town played without fear and took the game to the Geordies. It would be another substitute to who would decide the outcome. The tie ending 2-1 to Town, a famous away day that those lucky enough to go too won’t forget anytime soon.
3 days later Town would go to another relegated side, Aston Villa. For the first 45 minutes Aston Villa were the better side and would enter the break 1-0 to the good. It could have been more, but Town are a tougher nut to crack this year. A resurgent Huddersfield came out fighting for the second half. Attack after attack, the ball seemingly determined to stay out of the Villa net. Enter Michael Hefele as a makeshift striker, embodying the Terrier spirit, he would hound the Villa goalkeeper into a sloppy clearance that would strike him and find the back on the net, snarling he would celebrate with the traveling fans and secure a huge point. 1-1.
The Terriers v the Tykes. The first derby of the season. The ground packed with over 20,000 fans to watch this championship dogfight. Town controlled the game and the ball, limiting their neighbours to a few speculative set-pieces. It would be the Terriers to strike first when left back Chris Lowe neatly worked the ball forward, curling the return into the onion bag. David Wagner would welcome his team back into the dressing room having been unable to build on this goal.
When the 2nd half began it would then be the turn of the Tykes to score, this time the Terriers were unable to cope with Barnsley’s long throw. 1-1.
Wagner would once again call upon his bench to make the difference, this time, Jonathan Hogg. I know I still can’t quite believe he scored and score the way he did. A lovely turn and bending shot into the roof of the net. 2-1.
The month would be seen out at home to Wolves, at the time, another unbeaten side. A record that would only belong to only one of the two teams come 6pm.
Football can be a cruel mistress, just ask the Wolves fans and Rajiv Van La Parra, the later sealing victory for the blue and white army. So often does it seem as though Football matches have been scripted and pre-determined.
Wolves would have their chances and could have travelled back down the M6 with a point if not for the heroics of the Town’s no.1 Danny Ward, a save that would not go unrecognised by Head Coach Wagner…I don’t think I need to elaborate.
Top of the league, 13 points from a possible 15, +4 goal difference, a win over Championship favourites Newcastle, a win over local rival Barnsley, the first clean sheet of the season and still unbeaten. We’ve had worse months…
Ooh to be a…