Huddersfield Town manager Mark Robins sprang to the defence of Alex Smithies after his mistake gifted Derby their second goal as Town suffered a third straight Championship defeat.

The 24-year-old stopper somehow pushed Craig Forsyth’s 50th-minute cross into his own net.

“It was one of those things, and Alex was hugely disappointed, but he also made some superb saves,” said Robins, whose side had defenders Joel Lynch and Peter Clarke sent off.

Both were red carded for second bookable offences, Lynch in the 43rd minute and skipper Clarke in the 57th after conceding the penalty from which Chris Martin notched Derby’s third.

“At 3-1 down and with only nine men, it was game over in terms of the outcome, but we stuck to our task and kept the score down with Alex’s help,” added the manager.

Town had led through Nahki Wells before Johnny Russell levelled in the 28th minute and Robins insisted: “We started brightly and deserved our goal.

Nahki Wells celebrates his goal for Huddersfield Town against Derby County
Nahki Wells celebrates his goal for Huddersfield Town against Derby County
 

“I thought there was a reaction (after last Tuesday’s home defeat by Ipswich) and we were excellent in terms of application, which is a prerequisite every game.”

It’s now nine games without a win and just three points in that sequence, and the manager added: “None of us are happy with the run we are in and we know we have to turn it around.

“The sendings off changed things, but I was encouraged by what I saw before them, and playing like we did for the majority of the first half will go a long way to doing that.”

 

Town have now had four red cards this season, and it was a second for Lynch, therefore bringing a two-match ban as opposed to Clarke’s one game.

The Wales international was also sent off in the 1-0 home defeat by Reading in December.

Currently sidelined top scorer James Vaughan was shown a straight red card, and handed a three-match ban, for violent conduct during the 2-1 defeat at Leicester in October.

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