Swansea winless run continues as Nicholls-inspired Huddersfield claim point
Swansea were held to a goalless draw by bottom-placed Huddersfield as their winless run stretched to five games.
The visiting Swans enjoyed 74 per cent of possession and the majority of chances, but boss Russell Martin was frustrated by a familiar face.
Huddersfield goalkeeper Lee Nicholls, who fell out of favour under Martin at MK Dons, was in inspired form to preserve an impressive clean sheet.
The Terriers, winners at QPR in midweek, came under increasing pressure in the second half as the promotion-chasing travellers, who had drawn three of their previous four games, turned the screw.
Mark Fotheringham’s side nearly struck a late winner, but Swans defender Nathan Wood blocked Danny Ward’s goal-bound effort on the line.
Despite the late drama, neither team could be separated as both sides entered the World Cup break with a final point apiece.
A slow opening period burst into life after 18 minutes when Swansea registered the first effort of the fixture.
Joel Piroe, who scored 22 goals last season, went in pursuit of a sixth strike of his current campaign but a shot from range was tipped wide by Nicholls.
From the resulting corner, Huddersfield’s sloppy marking enabled Harry Darling to break free, although the defender failed to redirect his effort.
As Swansea grew in confidence, they came the closest to opening the scoring inside the half-hour mark.
A precise Matt Grimes’ delivery was met with Joel Latibeaudiere’s looping header, forcing another superb stop from an outstretched Nicholls.
Despite the visitors’ dominance, it was the division’s strugglers who had the best opportunity of the first half.
Michal Helik sprung the Swansea offside trap and was in the perfect position to convert a Sorba Thomas set-piece, but the unmarked defender miscued.
A visibly frustrated Martin would have welcomed the interval and his half-time orders nearly prompted an immediate reaction.
Less than five minutes after the restart, a well-worked attack ended with Ryan Manning in acres of space, but his fierce strike was pawed away by Nicholls.
The Swans, now winless in five away games, struggled to break through a resilient Huddersfield defence.
Both bosses made an influx of changes in an attempt to turn the tide in their favour with neither side seemingly content to settle for a point.
Michael Obafemi nearly landed a sucker-punch blow late on, but the Terriers again were indebted to their brilliant goalkeeper.
The Irish forward wriggled free and unleashed a venomous strike with a faint Nicholls touch tipping the effort onto the crossbar.
Then, in stoppage time, Huddersfield nearly struck a shock late winner with their first shot on target.
Substitute Ward benefitted from miscommunication in the Swans’ defence and was first denied by Steven Benda from a one-on-one.
And the forward was then thwarted on the rebound by Wood, whose heroic goal-line defending ensured the scores remained level.