Rhodes the hero as Terriers reach play-off final


Jordan Rhodes returned to Huddersfield in the summer, nine years after leaving for Blackburn

Jordan Rhodes scored a late winner to send Huddersfield Town into the Championship play-off final with a 2-1 aggregate victory over Luton Town.

The visitors dominated the first half but Harry Cornick shot straight at Terriers goalkeeper Lee Nicholls from just six yards out.

Cornick was thwarted by Nicholls again after the break.

However, Rhodes converted a free-kick from fellow sub Sorba Thomas at the back post to win it.

The Terriers will play Nottingham Forest or Sheffield United, who meet at the City Ground in their second leg on Tuesday, in the final at Wembley on Sunday, 29 May.

The West Yorkshire side had two seasons in the top flight between 2017 and 2019 and their fans spilled onto the pitch as the final whistle went.

They rode their luck in a game where they struggled to really find their fluent best, but their season will now end at English football’s grandest stage.

The two sides had drawn 1-1 in an even first leg on Friday but it was the Hatters who enjoyed the better of things at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Nathan Jones’ men, who had finished seven points and three places behind the Terriers, will certainly look back and regret their first half profligacy, with Cornick’s shot at Nicholls the best of a number of chances they carved out against the hosts.

Carlos Corberan’s Terriers improved after the break and after Nicholls had saved well from Cornick’s fierce strike they should have had a penalty when goalkeeper Matt Ingram took out full-back Harry Toffolo.

With extra-time looming the home side won it when Wales international Thomas, only recently back from a knee injury and not fit enough to start the game, sent over an inviting free-kick that Rhodes slid in from close range after escaping his marker.

The goal totally deflated Luton and they were unable to create a meaningful opportunity in the final minutes as Huddersfield saw the game out in relative comfort.

All Rhodes lead to Wembley

It has been a remarkable season for Huddersfield, who finished 20th in the Championship a year ago and suffered a 5-1 defeat by Fulham in their first home game of the season.

Despite working with a limited budget, boss Corberan, previously an assistant to Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds, has masterminded a complete turnaround in their fortunes thanks to astute signings and quality coaching.

Goalkeeper Nicholls, signed on a free from MK Dons, has been outstanding all season, while Thomas, who now has 15 assists, joined from non-league Boreham Wood in January 2021.

Rhodes had scored 73 goals in 124 league appearances in his first spell with the Terriers between 2008 and 2012 but the last five years were difficult ones for him, culminating in being a member of the Sheffield Wednesday team relegated to League One last season.

He returned to the club where he made his name on a free in the summer and, having been brought on before half-time when 14-goal top scorer Danny Ward was forced off with an injury, showed that his predatory instincts remain with a clinical finish from Thomas’ cross.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Huddersfield

Formation 3-5-2

  • 21Nicholls
  • 32Lees
  • 6Hogg
  • 26Colwill
  • 2Ávila
  • 19HolmesSubstituted forSarrat 86′minutes
  • 37Russell
  • 8O’Brien
  • 3Toffolo
  • 24SinaniSubstituted forThomasat 61′minutes
  • 25WardSubstituted forRhodesat 41′minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Anjorin
  • 9Rhodes
  • 14Ruffels
  • 16Thomas
  • 18Blackman
  • 23Sarr
  • 48Eiting

Luton

Formation 3-5-2

  • 27Ingram
  • 16BurkeSubstituted forMendes Gomesat 86′minutes
  • 5Bradley
  • 4NaismithBooked at 64mins
  • 2Bree
  • 22Campbell
  • 12Snodgrass
  • 18ClarkBooked at 59mins
  • 29Bell
  • 7CornickSubstituted forAdebayoat 90′minutes
  • 9HyltonSubstituted forJeromeat 65′minutesBooked at 81mins

Substitutes

  • 3Potts
  • 11Adebayo
  • 14Mendes Gomes
  • 15Lockyer
  • 20Kioso
  • 21Isted
  • 35Jerome

Live Text





Source link

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: