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Sunderland play-off bid dented as Huddersfield battle back for valuable point
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Huddersfield Josh Koroma (right) celebrates his equaliser (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Huddersfield Josh Koroma (right) celebrates his equaliser (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Sunderland’s hopes of scrambling into the Sky Bet Championship play-offs suffered a major blow as they were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-battling Huddersfield.

The Black Cats have closed to within a point of the top six, but with the two sides directly above and below them in the table all having at least one game in hand, Tony Mowbray’s men will feel they have lost ground in the promotion battle.

A draw was a better result for Huddersfield, who saw Josh Koroma’s second-half strike cancel out Joe Gelhardt’s opener, as it has moved them two points clear of the drop zone ahead of this weekend’s trip to fellow strugglers Cardiff.

Sunderland dominated possession for most of the evening, but the hosts struggled to create clear-cut chances in the face of some dogged Terriers defending.

Alex Pritchard drilled an early effort over the bar after Jack Clarke’s initial shot had been blocked, and Clarke set up Lynden Gooch midway through the first half for a strike that was saved by Tomas Vaclik.

Huddersfield’s well-organised rearguard was making a decent fist of keeping Sunderland out, however, until a moment of individual brilliance from Gelhardt resulted in the deadlock being broken in the 35th minute.

The Leeds loanee still had plenty to do when Amad Diallo slipped a ball into his path midway through the Huddersfield half, but with Tom Lees backing off him, Gelhardt drilled a precise 22-yard finish through the defender’s legs and into the bottom corner.

Amad should really have added a second moments before the break, but while Pritchard’s attempted pass deflected invitingly into his path, he blazed over from inside the 18-yard box.

The closest Huddersfield came to a first-half breakthrough was a long-range effort from Jaheim Headley that whistled narrowly over the crossbar, and the same player went even closer three minutes after the interval when he met Koroma’s right-wing cross with a low shot that fizzed just wide of the far post.

The Terriers had the ball in the net shortly before the hour mark, but referee Leigh Doughty had blown his whistle for a push from a corner long before Lee hooked his shot past Anthony Patterson.

Three minutes later, however, and the visitors were celebrating an equaliser that their improved second-half showing deserved.

Koroma held off Gelhardt as he broke towards the edge of the box, and his shot took a deflection that gave Patterson no chance of keeping it out.

Amad almost responded immediately with a smart 25-yard effort that Vaclik clawed around the post, but Clarke failed to find the target with a late effort that was skewed wide of the post.


ChampionshipHuddersfield TownSunderland
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