TERRIFIC Huddersfield Town made a highly impressive return to the Championship – only to be robbed of a deserved point right at the death.
Even without injured talisman Jordan Rhodes, Town played magnificently only to concede agonisingly to Cardiff captain Mark Hudson right on 90 minutes.
Playing with this sort of determination and precision however, Simon Grayson’s men will win a lot more games than they lose.
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Town received a massive blow before kick-off when striker Jordan Rhodes was ruled out by a hamstring injury suffered while on duty for Scotland in their midweek international friendly against Australia.
It meant Scott Arfield was drafted in on the right of a five-man midfield, while Lee Novak was required to play up front on his own.
Six of Simon Grayson’s summer signings – Paul Dixon, Joel Lynch, Sean Scannell, Adam Clayton, Keith Southern and Oliver Norwood – were in the starting line-up, while Anthony Gerrard was on the bench against his former club, who were playing in their new red home kit for the first time.
Cardiff’s Malaysian owner Vincent Tan was in the crowd to see the second coming of Welsh international and hometown boy Craig Bellamy, who lives just two minutes down the road from the Cardiff City Stadium and he received a massive ovation from the Bluebirds fans.
Rhodes was also in the stand watching Town make a steady start in the steadily falling rain.
The striker has a grade one hamstring tear – confirmed by an MRI scan – an injury which could keep him out a week but which Grayson hopes will have settled down by the time Nottingham Forest are at the John Smith’s Stadium on Tuesday night.
After eight minutes Town had a fantastic chance to take the lead when Novak released Arfield into the right hand side of Cardiff’s penalty box, but advancing keeper David Marshall made a terrific block from the Scot’s effort.
On 13 minutes, from a pass by Jack Hunt, Norwood unleashed a thunderous 25-yard drive which Marshall did well to parry.