A HEROIC performance from goalkeeper Steve Hardwick and a double-goal salvo from Craig Maskell led Huddersfield Town to an exciting 3-2 victory over Sheffield United.
Town’s biggest home league gate of the season, 10,400, were treated to a footballing feast with chances aplenty and a courageous performance from Eoin Hand’s side.
The opening minutes would prove to set the tempo for the enthralling encounter as both sides netted – and the game was end-to-end.
United took the lead in the third minute as the explosive Tony Agana grabbed the first of his two goals on the day.
Martin Pike seized on a Simon Trevitt throw-in before playing in Agana who fired past the unlucky Hardwick.
Incredibly, within just five minutes Town had turned the game around, drawing level through Mick Byrne and taking the lead thanks to leading marksman Maskell.
Goalscorer Byrne turned provider as he put Maskell through with the deftest of flicks.
The striker, who had been lacking confidence, thumped the ball past Graham Benstead, giving Town a quickfire lead.
The home side looked to increase their lead as Chris Hutchings and Trevitt both tested the Sheffield United defence to the limit.
However, it was United who grasped a stranglehold on the game, searching for the leveller.
Up stepped Hardwick.
The Town stopper reacted instantly to turn an Agana volley over the bar, tipped a blistering drive from Brian Deane around a post and surged again to deny Chris Downes in a first-half flurry.
Billy McEwan’s side continued to have the better of the chances in the second half.
Town were lucky to escape in the 59th minute when Peter Duffield scooped Agana’s cross over the open goal.
Andy May’s perfectly-timed pass to Maskell would punish the away side for their lack of efficiency.
The striker finished with aplomb, rounding the keeper before coolly slotting into an empty net.
Even then the drama wasn’t over – Agana raised United’s hopes of a point when in the 85th minute he scored his second of the day, and that brought a late Blades onslaught.
Again, it was left to some Hardwick heroics to keep the Sheffield attack at bay, saving an 18-yard volley deep into stoppage time when the strike looked destined to find the back of the net.
Town: Hardwick, Trevitt, Hutchings, May, O’Doherty, Mitchell, O’Regan, Winter, Withe, Maskell, Byrne.