Terriers return to the top
Written By: Robert Halter
After a forty five years absence from the top flight of English football, Huddersfield Town looked to return at the expense of Reading in the 2017 Championship play off final. In the fifth minute, the Terriers went close as Michael Hefele put a header wide to the right following a free kick by Aron Mooy, after a foul on Rajiv van La Parra by the Royals captain, Chris Gunter. In the tenth minute, a right footed shot by Huddersfield’s Elias Kachunga, missed to the left through an assist by Tommy Smith. Swiftly followed was the Terriers’ Isaiah Brown’s left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box which went close, after he had been set up by Kachunga. A minute later, the Royals threatened with a right footed shot by Lewis Grabban, that missed to the right following a headed pass by Yann Kermorgant. On thirty four minutes, after Kermorgant was fouled by Mooy, a right footed shot from outside the box by John Swift, went wide to the right. Reading created another opportunity a minute later, when a left footed shot by Joey van den Berg went too high from outside the box through an assist by Danny Williams. As the second half resumed, the Terriers were the quickest out of the blocks, when Chris Lowe’s left footed shot was saved by Ali Al-Habsi through an assist by Jonathan Hogg. Reading then responded as Swift’s right footed shot was saved by Danny Ward, after George Evans had created the chance. On fifty four minutes, Kermorgant’s strike went high and wide to the right, following a Reading corner by Joey van den Berg. The Royals created again three minutes later, when Grabban’s right footed shot missed to the right through an assist by Kermorgant. Just before the hour mark, after Kachunga fouled Tyler Blackett, through a free kick by Gunter, a right footed shot by Kermorgant went wide to the right. Three minutes later, the Terriers responded as Tommy Smith’s left footed shot went too high, after Kachunga created the opening. Reading then replaced van den Berg with Jordan Obita before Huddersfield took off Kachunga for Collin Quaner. A later substitution was made by the Royals as Garath McCleary replaced Grabban and towards the end, Huddersfield made an enforced change of Tommy Smith as Martin Cranie took over. In the second minute of stoppage time, a header by Gunter went too high following a cross by McCleary from a fast Reading breakaway move. The Royals then threatened again as Swift’s right footed shot missed to the left through an assist by Obita. Before extra time, the Terriers had a chance as a right footed shot by Nahki Wells was saved by Ward, after Isaiah Brown had found him in space. In the first period of extra time, Huddersfield changed Brown with Kasey Palmer before Reading replaced Swift with Liam Kelly. On one hundred and one minutes, a right footed strike by McCleary went high and wide to the right, as Kelly carved the opening. In added time and with his left foot, McCleary missed to the right through another Kelly assist. In the second period of extra time, on one hundred and sixteen minutes, the Terriers went close as a Wells right footed strike missed to the left after a fast breakaway by Kasey Palmer, before the game ended with a penalty shoot out. Kermorgant (Reading) converted the first spot kick into the bottom left corner, Chris Lowe (Huddersfield) converted the spot kick into the bottom left corner, Williams (Reading) converted the spot kick into the centre of the goal, Michael Hefele (Huddersfield) penalty saved by Al-Habsi in the bottom left corner, Kelly (Reading) converted the spot kick to the top left corner, Wells (Huddersfield) converted the spot kick to the bottom right corner, Liam Moore (Reading) misses as he hits the ball over the bar, Mooy (Huddersfield) converted the penalty into the bottom left corner, Obita (Reading) spot kick saved by Ward towards the bottom right corner, Christopher Schindler (Huddersfield) converted the spot kick into the bottom left corner as Huddersfield Town beat Reading 4-3 on penalties for a place in the Premier League.