ANOTHER day, another loss, but at least the performance was a marked improvement on their last two run-outs, and they did return from Preston with another precious bonus point despite the 17-13 reversal.
After two undistinguished displays, Huddersfield needed to produce something like the form they showed in the first half of the season, and this was certainly the case as they pushed Hoppers all the way at Lightfoot Green, and indeed, came close to edging it.
Difficult conditions, with a heavy pitch and slippery ball led to a game dominated by the forwards, and it was Preston who took the lead in the first minute thanks to one of many penalties awarded, with Marcus Jackson landing the three-pointer.
And they were soon to extend it, when skipper Darren Wilson picked kup from a scrum just outside Huddersfield’s 22, and after shrugging off the initial tackle broke free and beat two men before setting up Phil Whyte who touched down to make the score 8-0, Jackson missing the conversion.
Huddersfield began to get into the game however, and just before the interval from a line out 30metres out, a powerful break through the centre of the home defence ended with Mark Whitehead scoring under the posts. Chris Johnson converted and the teams went into the half 8-7.
The second half was a scrappy affair, again littered by numerous penalties which hindered either side from playing to their full capabilities.
Preston continued to exertpressure in the scrum and won plenty of ball against the head, and then increased their slender lead when Jackson slotted his second penalty.
Huddersfield answered with three points of their own from the boot of the impressive Johnson, but further infringements including a penalty for a high tackle allowed Hopper’s to pull away to a 17-10 lead with Jackson landing two more penalties.
When the home side were reduced to 14, Lee Imiolek being shown a yellow card, Johnson converted the resulting penalty to bring his side to within four points and give the home fans a nervous end to the game.
But Preston were able to hold out for the win with some strong defence as Huddersfield threw everything at them in the closing minutes.
Huddersfield: Paxman (B), Shaw, Mortimore, Paxman (L), Johnson (M); Johnson (C), Hinchliffe; McPhail, Davies, Stringwell, Harris, Hinchliff, Jacobsz, Whitehead, Sharpe. Subs: Slater, Gough, Sharrock, Ramsden, Tom van Rooyen.
Preston Grasshoppers: Turnpenny, Brady, Whyte, Thomas, Flynn; Jackson, Wilson; Hanson, Stone, Peterson, Steel, Rigbye, Imiolek, Dewhurst, Dockray. Subs: Carleton, Sands, Balshaw, Zivallis-Roebuck, Linekar.