Huddersfield Town crashed out of the Carabao Cup last night with a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Bakary Sako netted the only goal of the game in the 13th minute as a much-changed Town side failed to recreate their emphatic opening-day Premier League victory at the same venue.
Indeed, despite pushing for an equaliser late on it was a generally a lacklustre showing from David Wagner’s men in front of a travelling support of 490.
But what can Huddersfield Town take away from the result? Below Examiner’s Football Writer Blake Welton assesses the defeat.
1) Palace wanted and needed the win more than Town
The last time the two sides met David Wagner’s men dealt the Eagles a humiliating defeat on the opening day of the season.
It set the two clubs on different trajectories so far this campaign – Huddersfield Town adapting well on their Premier League debut while Crystal Palace were embarking on the worst top-flight start ever.
Palace’s results saw former England boss Roy Hodgson replace Frank de Boer and, in just his second game in charge, taste his first victory at the helm.
With the majority of Palace players having a point to prove, the Carabao Cup clash was as an ideal opportunity to kick-start their campaign whereas Town could be safe in the knowledge there’s is already successfully up and running.
2) Martin Cranie will never let you down
It was a welcome return to action for both Cranie and Jonathan Hogg but it was the former who deserves all the plaudits at Selhurst Park.
Playing a full 90 minutes after just a week back in full training after a long lay-off with a hip injury, the 30-year-old didn’t put a foot wrong.
But the thing is, he never does – regardless of the circumstance or opposition he is Huddersfield Town’s ‘Mr Reliable’.
Nothing fancy and playing the percentages game to perfection, Cranie covered defensive lapses of his teammates a number of times with his safe positioning and reading of the game, and is such an important squad player to have around.
3) Town’s back-up artillery is looking worryingly thin
Both teams may have made nine changes from the weekend’s Premier League games but it was Huddersfield Town who struggled to adapt – particularly in the first-half.
Whatever David Wagner may say, this was very much a second-string XI with too many of them failing to deliver when given the opportunity to shine.
With niggling injuries piling up, Town perhaps are still short of one or two bodies that could be seen as real Premier League quality – particularly up front.
4) Lack of cutting edge still an overall concern
Thankfully it didn’t cost them last season but there is a worry Town’s inability to convert dominance and possession into goals will eventually come back to bite them.
Despite all the last-ditch bluster, Crystal Palace stopper Julian Speroni was hardly forced into a meaningful save throughout the entire 90 minutes.
And with the margins of error much tighter in the Premier League, Town will really need to start creating more chances – and taking them.
5) It’s only the Carabo/Carling/Coca-Cola/Worthington/Rumbelows Cup
So it was a bad night at the office but let’s face it, Huddersfield Town have much bigger fish to fry with Premier League survival the main objective.
Without trying to sound bitter after the result, this is a much-derided competition which has seen a lot of credibility disappear this season.
Can anyone really take it seriously when it sells its soul to the highest bidder and then goes about making further mockery of the competition by conducting bizarre and farcical draws?