Written by Morgan Lecomber
A stoppage time header from Elias Kachunga gave Huddersfield a much needed 3 points as Steve McClaren suffered his first defeat as Rams boss.
Without a doubt, Derby came into the game with the better form of the two sides as they were unbeaten in their last 4 championship games.
Huddersfield however had lost 2 in a row heading into Saturday’s game after a narrow home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday and a disappointing 3-1 loss at Preston.
Chris Powell looked to get revenge on the terriers as he returned to the John Smith’s Stadium for the first time since his departure in November 2015, as new boss Steve McClaren’s right hand man.
Town had the first real chance of the match when Rajiv Van La Parra tried his luck from 25 yards, but the ball whistled just over the bar.
Then, Will Hughes was inches away from finding the far left corner as he clipped a shot which bent just round the post.
Derby started to get on top, and midway through the first half Matej Vydra should’ve at least tested Danny Ward when Hughes played a lofted ball into the box which found the Czech Republican man but he lacked in composure and his volley sailed high and wide of the goal.
Huddersfield came back at Derby with a couple of chances of their own, firstly Chris Schindler got on the end of a Kasey Palmer corner which forced a save out of Scott Carson, then Tommy Smith was urged to shoot by the home fans but he fired his shot over the bar.
An end-to-end first half but no goals as both defences and goalkeepers were proving tough to be beaten. Either side could’ve been ahead and you couldn’t decide which way this one was going to go.
The second half continued in the same vein as the first, with both Town and Derby looking to break the deadlock.
Tom Ince’s free-kick found the head of Richard Keogh but he saw his header go way above the goal high into the stands.
Derby must’ve felt they’d taken the lead when Cyrus Christie played in Ince but his shot was magnificently stopped by Ward at the left post and turned behind for a corner.
Town reacted to the Derby pressure and David Wagner decided to make a double substitution bringing Harry Bunn and fan favourite Aaron Mooy on for Dean Whitehead and Rajiv Van La Parra which proved to swing the game in Town’s favour.
The Yorkshire side worked well down the left before Löwe found Kachunga who laid it off for Nahki Wells who accurately hit a low, powerful effort at goal which was kept out by Scott Carson.
Town were dominating in the final 15 minutes and Derby started to shut up shop as they seemed to be playing for the point. Kasey Palmer had his shot blocked before Mooy set up Löwe who just fired wide.
Harry Bunn was proving too hot to handle for Derby right-back Christie as he shifted past him and ran at the Rams defence and had his effort again thwarted by the super Scott Carson.
It looked like the sides were not going to be split and Derby were by far the happiest of the two teams, as they were looking to keep the ball and let the game fade away for Huddersfield.
But the defensive Derby were made to pay right at the death when Harry Bunn beat Christie for the final time and played a pinpoint cross onto the head of Elias Kachunga who leaped well and his effort bounced into the left hand corner which sent the stadium into euphoria.
Town boss David Wagner sprinted over into the corner of the pitch to join in with the celebrations but the referee Peter Bankes wasn’t a fan of the German’s behaviour and sent him to the stands for the final few seconds.
Derby didn’t even have the time to muster one more attack before the ref blew the whistle and Town enjoyed a last gasp victory which sent them up to 3rd in the table behind Newcastle and Brighton.
Steve McClaren tasted defeat for the first time since returning to the club who sacked him over a couple of years ago. Chris Powell didn’t get what he wished for on his first time back at the John Smiths either as the Rams’ awful season continues and they slip to 21st and only 2 points off the drop zone.
In summary, I’m sure most fans will agree, the game was very even right until the last 15-20 minutes when Town began to dominate and got their goal. Derby will no doubt, feel hard done by after a last minute defeat but they need to regroup and pick themselves up sooner rather than later as they are living dangerously above the relegation zone. As for Town, the win will provide real momentum as they face a tough game at Fulham next Saturday.
Huddersfield Town player ratings: Danny Ward 8, Tommy Smith 8, Christopher Schindler 8, Micheal Hefele 8, Chris Löwe 7, Dean Whitehead 9, Jonathan Hogg 8, Elias Kachunga 8, Kasey Palmer 7, Rajiv Van La Parra 7, Nahki Wells 7.
Substitutes: Harry Bunn 8, Aaron Mooy 8, Jack Payne 7.
Derby County player ratings: Scott Carson 8, Cyrus Christie 6, Richard Keogh 7, Alex Pearce 7, Marcus Olsson 7, Will Hughes 8, Bradley Johnson 7, Jacob Butterfield 6, Tom Ince 7, Matej Vydra 7, Jonny Russell 7.
Substitutes: Ikechi Anya 6, Darren Bent 6, Andreas Weimann N/A
Huddersfield and Derby fans, was this a fair result in your opinion? Do you agree with the player ratings? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Joe Lodge