HUDDERSFIELD Town produced a really solid show to clinch home advantage in the second leg of their play-off semi-final against MK Dons.
Now it’s time to make it count!
Nobody’s doubting there’s a tough task ahead, but as well as securing a final League I placing of fourth as MK surprisingly slipped up at home to Walsall, this performance provided plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
There was a deserved clean sheet for starters, and an exciting display of overlapping full-back play by energetic Jack Hunt.
Meanwhile Damien Johnson and Tommy Miller used their experience well to ensure Town took a firm grip in midfield and provide a platform for some slick phases of passing.
Then there was Lee Novak netting for the third game running and taking his tally for the season so far to 17, his best return yet in Town colours.
Danny Ward provided a reminder of his shooting prowess with the other goal (and he could have had three).
And we haven’t even talked about 38-goal Jordan Rhodes, the country’s most prolific marksman who having been rested after a play-off place was made certain, came off the bench for a quick tune-up.
It all adds up to an intriguing two-match test, starting down in Buckinghamshire on Saturday.
The richly-deserved ovation given to the Pedal For Pounds 3 cyclists as they lapped the stadium after completing their four-day fundraising journey from Yeovil – and it was great to see visiting manager Gary Johnson joining Town boss Simon Grayson in acclaiming the riders – provided an upbeat start to the afternoon.
And Town started at a good tempo to take control of a first half in which they forced six corners and eventually made the breakthrough in the 45th minute.
Kallum Higginbotham, making a second successive start since returning from his loan stint at Barnsley, and Scott Arfield might both have done better with shots in the opening 25 minutes.
And Ward, having been set free by Miller’s neat pass in the 34th minute, unleashed a stinging shot to bring a fine save from tall Chelsea keeper Sam Walker, one of five loan players in the Yeovil matchday 16.