Huddersfield off the bottom after Yuta Nakayama’s freak goal sees off Millwall
Huddersfield moved off the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table with a dominant display in a 1-0 win over Millwall.
The travelling Lions, who had won four on the trot heading into the fixture, suffered an early setback and failed to recover.
Yuta Nakayama opened the scoring in freakish fashion inside nine minutes with a miscued cross handing his side an unassailable lead.
The struggling Terriers rallied to tighten their grip and nearly notched a second when Sorba Thomas struck the post.
But their inability to double the advantage was left unpunished as Mark Fotheringham oversaw his second victory as Huddersfield’s new boss.
The hosts, who had won one of Fotheringham’s first six games in charge, began positively and were soon rewarded.
Full-back Nakayama notched his second goal in English football when his wayward cross looped over a wrong-footed George Long.
Despite sitting bottom of the table prior to the fixture, Huddersfield quickly assumed control of the tie against their high-flying opponents.
Teenager Etienne Camara came close to securing a first senior goal but his fierce strike from the edge of the box only stung Long’s palms.
The Terriers were then left bemused as to how they failed to double their lead in the 23rd minute.
With Lions goalkeeper Long in disarray, Jack Rudoni was left with the freedom of West Yorkshire, but his header was blocked inadvertently by team-mate Danny Ward.
Huddersfield’s dominance continued through to the interval, mainly thanks to the introduction of Duane Holmes.
The United States international first tried his luck from range before teeing up Thomas, whose header rebounded off the foot of the post.
A dismal Millwall display was summed up in the 44th minute when Andreas Voglsammer registered his side’s first effort with a speculative strike from distance.
Despite the half-time break, the hosts’ threat was not swayed as they emerged for the second period in the ascendancy.
An influential Holmes advanced forward and teed up Ward in a promising position, but the latter’s strike curled wide.
The former was then felled by Billy Mitchell in the area and had valid claims for a penalty, but his appeals were waved away by referee Stephen Martin.
Huddersfield continued to look the likelier source of the game’s second goal and Rudoni came close when his venomous strike whistled narrowly over.
But it was Millwall who nearly struck a shock leveller when Tyler Burey redirected a George Honeyman cross goal-bound, only for Lee Nicholls to save on the goal-line.
The visitors then sprung into life in the final stages as they threatened to capitalise on the Terriers’ wastefulness in front of goal.
However, the hosts held on for a much-needed victory as they leapfrogged West Brom and moved off the bottom of the Championship.