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Danny Ward’s brace brushes aside Blackburn

Huddersfield Town v Blackburn Rovers – Sky Bet Championship – The John Smith’s Stadium
(Image credit: Zac Goodwin)

Danny Ward’s brace earned Huddersfield a thrilling 3-2 home win against Blackburn.

Matching his tally from the previous 28 outings of a misfiring second spell for the Terriers in one night, the former Cardiff forward settled matters after Ben Brereton Diaz had taken his season’s haul to nine goals with two second-half equalisers for the visitors.

Spanish midfielder Alex Vallejo had earlier opened the scoring with his first goal in English football.

In a contest that excited from the first whistle, a sprightly Huddersfield spurned a pair of excellent opportunities within the opening two minutes.

First, Ward headed off target from six yards after Josh Koroma had won the initial aerial ball into the away box.

Then, Harry Toffolo’s left-wing cross to the far post was nudged into the path of Daniel Sinani by Sorba Thomas but the Luxembourg international lifted a free shot at goal over from 15 yards.

Having ridden that earliest of onslaughts, Blackburn first threatened just past the quarter-hour mark when Sam Gallagher headed wide from Tyrhys Dolan’s cross after Naby Sarr had given away possession close to the corner flag.

But the Terriers were back on the attack moments later, with captain Lewis O’Brien’s rising 10-yard drive hitting an upright after more probing from Toffolo.

Just past the half-hour mark, Brereton Diaz curled narrowly wide from 25 yards after being teed up by Harry Pickering.

Moments later, a back-pedalling Pickering could not repel a right-wing burst by Thomas and his pass was swept clinically into Thomas Kaminski’s bottom-right corner from 20 yards by Vallejo.

In response, an edge-of-the-box Pickering effort flashed wide and Lee Nicholls did well to hold on to a Brereton Diaz header, but Toffolo also went close for the hosts from distance at the end of an entertaining half.

The game continued to ebb and flow after the interval with Sinani forcing a strong near-post parry from Kaminski after charging on to Koroma’s through ball.

It was the visitors that struck next, however, when a terrific run through the left channel saw Joe Rothwell ghost past O’Brien and Matty Pearson before reaching the byline and pulling the ball back for Brereton Diaz to net from five yards.

On the hour, Carlos Corberan’s men were back in front with Thomas again claiming the assist, this time sending in an inviting right-wing delivery that Ward climbed high to meet with a downward header past Kaminski from six yards.

But, five minutes later, Rovers had restored parity when Sarr’s reckless sliding challenge felled Brereton Diaz, who confidently despatched the resulting spot-kick into Nicholls’ bottom-left corner, albeit via one of the home keeper’s fingertips.

Undeterred by surrendering the lead twice, Huddersfield charged forward and Ward tested Kaminski with a stinging drive while Tom Lees was denied twice in quick succession by smart saves.

The hosts were subsequently rewarded for such character in the 84th minute when Toffolo rose highest to meet Ollie Turton’s right-wing cross and Ward won a second header to beat Kaminski from four yards.