Huddersfield Town were booed off the field of play after failing to secure three points at home against the divisions bottom side Rochdale.
Huddersfield took the lead on two occasions and were pegged back by a dogged Rochdale side who scored with both of their attempts on target during the entire game.
Simon Grayson named an unchanged eleven for the first time since taking charge, and the bench was also unchanged for the visit of Rochdale following Town’s one goal victory against Hartlepool in midweek.
Town started the game positively and hit the bar through Lee Novak in the first few minutes, but Rochdale started to run the midfield following that with Jordan Rhodes isolated in a 4-5-1 formation.
Antony Kay had several attempts from distance for The Terriers, clipping the top of the bar, and forcing Lucas to tip another over the bar. He did have a more straight forward chance after just 10 minutes but he failed to guide the ball past ‘keeper Lucas, instead his strike was straight at the veteran.
Danny Ward opened the scoring in the game and what a strike it was! Sean Morrison’s long throw caused havoc and as Rochdale struggled to clear the ball in fell to Ward who struck a sweet effort from 20 yards that rifled past ‘keeper Lucas.
However there was further drama before the half time whistle as Andrew Tutte popped up with an unlikely equaliser, he saw a gap in the Town defence and unleashed a strike to rival Ward’s moments earlier. Smithies was well beaten at his near post.
HALF TIME: Huddersfield 1-1 Rochdale.
Rochdale started the second half brightly but it was Huddersfield who drew first blood again.
Jordan Rhodes was the man on the spot to restore the home sides lead, Joey Gudjonsson dispossessed Rochdale in the middle of the park and played a ball through for Novak who turned Dean Holden inside out before presenting the ball on a plate to top-scorer Rhodes, who made no mistake from only a few yards out.
Jack Hunt was then forced off moments after the goal, he picked up the knock in the first half. Town had to make a defensive re-shuffle as Calum Woods switched to right-back as Gary Naysmith came on to replace Hunt and went to left-back.
Tutte went close for Dale and Rhodes whistled an effort just wide of Lucas’s left hand post, but the game appeared to be running out of steam.
Then came the moment the home crowd feared as substitute Ashley Grimes popped up with 8 minute remaining to score an equaliser for Rochdale.
Huddersfield should have been out of sight but the weak underbelly was exposed again as a hopeful long ball forward split the Town defence, Michael Symes was first to the ball and his knock down to Grimes was taken first time and past the outstretched hand of a despairing dive by Alex Smithies.
Simon Grayson threw on Alan Lee to replace Lee Novak for the last 6 minutes, and it was the Irishman, who netted the winner against Hartlepool on Tuesday, who had the best chance to win the game in the dying moments but he fired over from just 12 yards out and with it went Town’s chance to claim 3 points.
This game has to go down as another 2 points dropped.
This seasons Town’s record to date reads:-
Played 35; Won 16; Drawn 16; Lost 3
FULL-TIME – HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 ROCHDALE 2.
Alex Smithies; Calum Woods, Sean Morrison, Jamie McCombe, Jack Hunt (Gary Naysmith 49); Danny Ward, Antony Kay(c), Joey Gudjonsson (Damien Johnson 73), Scott Arfield; Lee Novak (Alan Lee 84), Jordan Rhodes
Ian Bennett, Gary Roberts
Town Goal Scorers.
Danny Ward (45) & Jordan Rhodes (48)
We don’t give ourselves opportunities to win football matches because going forward we are good, but we can’t keep clean sheets or sense danger,’
‘That has been our downfall since we came here and probably the team’s downfall for the entire season. We started the game well and hit the bar a couple of times before getting the goal just before half time and then, as people say, you are most vulnerable after you concede. We let a ball bounce in the defence and their lad has nipped on to it and scored – we needed to get our foot through it and get in at half-time ahead.
The same happened in the second-half; we got the goal and then we should have kicked on. However, their striker has had time to knock the ball down in the box and then the ball ends up in the back of the net. Teams don’t have to work hard enough to score against us.
‘We have got desire, but maybe not enough to sense danger. I am not just talking about the back four because we win, lose and draw as a team. We need to be able to do our own jobs and at the moment we are making it too easy for the opposition.’
Simon Grayson on today’s team selection
We felt we had to play three in midfield because it is a big pitch and we wanted to make sure that we could control the game, but we didn’t pass it well enough so we reverted to two up top, which is maybe how we should have started. Jordan (Rhodes) and Lee (Novak) have got a good understanding and are a major handful, but it is no good if we keep conceding goals.
‘The players worked and closed them down hard, but we never killed the game. No matter who you are playing if you give them time and space around the box they will punish you. Both the goals were preventable and we need to spend time on the training pitch to make sure that we do that. We have got to learn and learn quickly.
‘There are still a number of games to go and we are confident in what we need to do. I can’t move the players into position out on the field – they have to do that for themselves and take responsibility.’