Ward effort enough as lowly Huddersfield edge shock victory at Millwall
Danny Ward scored a much-needed second-half winner as Huddersfield claimed a shock 1-0 Championship victory at play-off-chasing Millwall that moved the struggling side closer to safety.
This was just the Terriers’ third away win of the season and only their second victory since manager Neil Warnock began his second spell in charge last month.
They are now four points behind fourth-from-bottom Rotherham with eight matches of the season remaining and with renewed hope in their battle for survival ahead of the international break.
On the other hand, this was a big opportunity missed for Millwall as they saw their lead over seventh-placed Norwich narrowed to three points.
It took the hosts just five minutes to carve out the game’s first big chance when Murray Wallace’s cut-back from the left was turned over the top by Andreas Voglsammer.
The German midfielder ought to have hit the target, but Huddersfield goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik was called into action soon enough when he beat away Charlie Cresswell’s effort.
Vaclik then had to be alert again in blocking Tom Bradshaw’s shot from point-blank range, following some good footwork down the right by Cresswell.
Huddersfield then almost went ahead against the run of play after 19 minutes when Jack Rudoni’s shot from the edge of the area needed turning behind by Millwall goalkeeper George Long.
Zian Flemming had been relatively quiet for the Lions in the opening half-hour, but he came close to adding to his tally when he shot wide from just outside the area.
The visitors will have been happy enough to see Cresswell shoot harmlessly over from distance, but they needed Vaclik to maintain parity once again in first-half stoppage time by keeping out a Voglsammer strike.
There was still time before the break for the Terriers to have a penalty appeal waved away when Josh Koroma went down in the area under Danny McNamara’s challenge.
Millwall struggled to create chances with as much regularity after half-time, with Flemming’s long-range effort flying over indicative of what they were now being restricted to.
Huddersfield then took the lead in the 67th minute when Ward, who came on for the injured Martyn Waghorn at the end of the first half, attacked Ben Jackson’s cross at the near post and steered his shot past Long.
The Lions continued to splutter as they searched for an equaliser, with a substitute of their own, Oliver Burke, shooting well wide after cutting in from the right.
The closest the home side came to breaking the Terriers’ hearts was in the seventh minute of stoppage time when one of their former players, Scott Malone, struck the crossbar with a cross from the left wing.