IT’S another point towards Championship survival, but Town really have to play better than this if they are to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.
IT’S another point towards Championship survival, but Huddersfield Town really have to play better than this if they are to avoid being sucked into a relegation battle.
Both the persistence of Simon Grayson’s side and the overall pattern of the game meant this draw – the fourth in a row on home soil – was deserved.
But against a stronger and more confident side than Birmingham, Town’s sluggishness would surely have been more heavily punished.
As it was, Lee Clark came mightily close to collecting all three points on his first return to Huddersfield since his sacking last February.
His side led through tenacious teenage midfielder Callum Reilly’s first goal for the club in first-half stoppage time.
The clock had ticked three minutes beyond the 90 when substitute Adam Hammill, with possibly his last kick for the club, curled home a glorious shot after twisting and turning his way into some space on the right-hand side of the penalty box.
Hammill’s loan from Wolves ended after Saturday’s frustrating game, and it remains to be seen whether he will return to Town, head elsewhere, or get a chance under new Molineux manager Dean Saunders.
This was certainly among the best of his 16 appearances under Grayson, who brought the 24-year-old on as a 57th-minute replacement for Oliver Norwood.
If it is to be his last Town outing, Hammill looked determined to go out on a high, but his inconsistency mirrors that of a number of Grayson’s players, and that could yet prove costly.
Grayson accepts the need for extra experience, and went some way to addressing the issue by landing Leicester midfielder Neil Danns on loan last week.
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The 30-year-old was handed a full debut, and certainly put in a shift, first on the right hand side of midfield, then after the departure of Norwood, who started reasonably but lost his way, in the centre.
Adam Clayton grafted away in the engine room, and while this wasn’t his best display, stuck doggedly to his task, and Sean Scannell showed plenty of glimpses of his trickery down the left, but struggled to produce a telling end product.
The outcome might have been far different had highly-rated Birmingham keeper Jack Butland not been equal to his first-half scissors kick.
The 19-year-old stopper also thwarted Alan Lee, another substitute, from close range in the 89th minute as Town finally managed to put together some concerted pressure.
Birmingham might well have been two to the good by that point, with Alex Smithies making a vital save from Nathan Redmond, another teenager given his chance by Clark, who has had to deal with a string of injuries.
As far as home frontmen James Vaughan and Jermaine Beckford were concerned, this was a game to forget.
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So effective when Town won 1-0 down at St Andrews in October, neither made much of an impact this time, with Beckford unable to count with a trio of headers and the ineffective Vaughan replaced by Lee with a good 20 minutes still to go.
Captain Peter Clarke and Jack Hunt were the pick of the back four, but like the team as a whole, Paul Dixon, the left-back who caught the eye for Scotland earlier this season, looks to be having a tough time at the moment.