Huddersfield’s recent promising form came crashing down on a tough afternoon at Deepdale. The Terrier’s haven’t won there since 1969 and never looked like a side that was going to change that today.
Going into the game Preston sat in second place and were unbeaten at home so it was always going to be a challenge for Huddersfield, who would have taken confidence from last weeks shock win away at Brentford.
Manager Danny Cowley made three changes going into the game bringing in Terence Kongolo, Trevor Chalobah and Adama Diakhaby for Jaden Brown, Jonathan Hogg and Fraizer Campbell. It suggested a change in game plan but that quickly went out the window after only 4 minutes.
A cheap foul 25 yards out by Chalobah gave veteran winger Paul Gallagher a chance to test Kamil Grabara in the Town goal. Gallagher’s effort cannoned off the post and out to Jayden Stockley who couldn’t miss ending his ten-game run without a goal.
From there on in there was only one team winning the game as Preston continued to press for a second. Another free kick saw Sean Maguire’s effort blocked after quick thinking from Gallagher who was a nuisance all afternoon.
Huddersfield were limited to counterattacks with Lewis O’Brien’s 20-yard blocked shot all they had to show in the early exchanges. Huddersfield’s game plan wasn’t helped when they lost experienced defender Tommy Elphick in the 21st minute.
Crosses caused Town problems all night long with the Terrier’s looking nervous every time the ball came into the box. Preston’s second came with Alan Browne doubling the lead on the 34th minute from close range from a deep cross by Barkhuizen, ending his own barren spell.
It was one-way traffic as Huddersfield were powerless to stop Preston from dominating, managing to get to the half only two down.
The second half started as both sides settled back into their roles of the first with Preston dominating from the off – Stockley putting just wide shortly after the restart. In the 50th minute Preston were awarded a penalty for a handball by Kongolo. Gallagher stepped up and converted Preston’s eighth penalty of the season.
Championship Player of the month nominee Juninho Bacuna pulled one back converting Huddersfield’s first shot on target in the 74th minute. The tricky midfielder picked up the ball 30 yards out and drove at the defence before slotting past the Declan Rudd in the Preston goal. He could have had a second coming close late on, but it would have been far more than Town deserved.
In truth it was a harsh awakening for Cowley that there is still a lot of work to do but take nothing away from Preston who were excellent, playing like a team full of confidence and with the quality of a promotion chasing side. The international break will give Cowley time to work on what went wrong and regroup before a home double header against Birmingham and Swansea.