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Huddersfield battle for deserved point at Blackburn

Barnsley v Huddersfield Town – Sky Bet Championship – Oakwell
(Image credit: Isaac Parkin)

Blackburn missed the chance to move within a point of the Championship summit after Huddersfield battled to a deserved 0-0 draw at Ewood Park.

With promotion rivals Bournemouth and Fulham both out of action due to postponements, Rovers had a chance to apply pressure in the race for the Premier League but were thwarted by the resolute Terriers who were able to withstand early pressure from the league’s form side which saw Reda Khadra hit the woodwork.

Substitute Sam Gallagher saw an effort cleared off the line late on and Rovers could not find the breakthrough to extend their six-match winning run. They are unbeaten in nine and move up to second, a point ahead of Fulham who have played two fewer games.

The visitors had the best chances through Duane Holmes and survived a late onslaught to remain in sixth place. They are now unbeaten in six and four points on the road at Blackburn and Nottingham Forest will have cheered manager Carlos Corberan, who is isolating after testing positive for Covid.

Rovers named an unchanged XI for the third consecutive game while the Terriers drafted in Josh Koroma ahead of the unwell Danny Ward, and Tom Lees returned after passing concussion protocols.

A torrential downpour before the game made conditions difficult but Rovers adapted quickest, settling into their pressing game which engineered a chance for John Buckley in the opening minutes, who saw his shot blocked, before Khadra was sent clear in the seventh minute, only to see his ferocious effort clatter the crossbar.

But the Terriers weathered the storm and Holmes should have opened the scoring midway through the half but directed his close-range diving header straight at Thomas Kaminski. The game became disjointed thereafter, though Blackburn were incensed that Ben Brereton Diaz’s 30th-minute penalty claims were waved away by referee Keith Stroud, who subsequently booked Tony Mowbray for his continued protests.

Despite Blackburn’s early dominance, they did not register a shot on target in the first half and set about trying to change that early on, though Harry Pickering could only head Joe Rothwell’s corner over.

The game increasingly felt like it would be settled by a single chance and Huddersfield’s best came for Holmes in the 63rd minute when he brilliantly controlled a long ball before surging beyond the Blackburn defence but the angle was against him and he struck the side netting.

Blackburn finished strongly, as Rothwell’s curling free-kick drifted just over before the final frenetic minutes saw Gallagher’s flicked header cleared off the line by Sorba Thomas, and in stoppage time, the big striker got on the end of a low cross but his shot was blocked and eventually collected by grateful goalkeeper Lee Nicholls.

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