Huddersfield 0-2 Sunderland: Pritchard returns to haunt former club
Sunderland midfielder Alex Pritchard’s first goal since February helped consign his old club Huddersfield to a 2-0 home defeat.
Ex-England Under-21 international Pritchard struck early in the second half and on-loan Manchester United winger Amad Diallo wrapped up matters in the sixth minute of stoppage time to leave Huddersfield anchored at the bottom of the Championship table.
Defeat also meant that the Terriers are now without a league win against the Black Cats in nine contests – a sequence stretching back to 1986.
The troubled Terriers had started with purpose as a fifth-minute Jack Rudoni shot on the turn from the edge of the box drifted just too high after Ben Jackson had pumped a free-kick forward.
Jackson’s set-pieces continued to pose a threat to the visitors with an inswinging corner that was punched away by goalkeeper Anthony Patterson leading to a 20-yard David Kasumu opportunity that he fired wide.
Sunderland gradually found their stride and missed two good chances to open the scoring just before the first half’s midway point.
First, Dennis Cirkin dragged a poor seven-yard attempt across the face of goal following Luke O’Nien’s deep cross from the right.
Then, Leon Dajaku produced an almost carbon-copy miss after the ball fell to him in the same position when Corry Evans’ bobbling shot was parried away by home keeper Lee Nicholls.
As torrential rain and a driving wind began to make conditions difficult on a miserable night in West Yorkshire, Patterson then did well to gather and hold on to a 15-yard Jackson drive.
On the stroke of half-time, Japan international Yuta Nakayama was stretchered off, making him a doubt for the World Cup after an accidental collision with team-mate Josh Ruffels.
Huddersfield went on to start the second half with intent as Nakayama’s replacement Brahima Diarra stretched to stab wide a Rudoni delivery.
Nimble footwork by Rudoni then created space for a 20-yard strike that he flashed wide and a sidefooted Diarra attempt was saved by Patterson.
The hosts should have gone on to take the lead when Etienne Camara played Duane Holmes clear on goal but he delayed long enough for Patterson to smother his shot.
When Camara then fed Jordan Rhodes from the loose ball, he missed the target from seven yards.
Within a minute, the Wearsiders had countered and broken the deadlock when Patrick Roberts made inroads down the right and exchanged passes with Diallo before squaring for Pritchard to open up his body and guide a seven-yard shot into Nicholls’ bottom-right corner.
Mark Fotheringham’s men responded well but Holmes’ free-kick was a good height for Patterson and Jackson curled wide from distance.
At the other end, Diallo bent a 15-yard effort narrowly off target, before Diarra again went close from the edge of the box and Jackson drove wide of the near post from a narrow angle.
Ruffels also steered wide from seven yards and substitute Will Boyle headed over a stoppage-time corner.
But Sunderland added a second goal moments later, taking advantage of a three-on-one counter-attack as Diallo played a one-two with Ellis Simms before firing in between Nicholls’ legs from 10 yards.