Carlos Corberan inspired Huddersfield to a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Luton to give them the edge in their Championship play-off encounter.
Corberan, who was number two to Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds United, helped the Terriers earn a valuable draw at Kenilworth Road which in turn will give them a strong platform the the tie’s second leg at the John Smith Stadium on Monday evening.
Danel Salini gave Huddersfield the lead in front of their traveling fans early in the first half, before Sonny Bradley leveled for Nathan Jones’ side after half an hour.
Corberan’s side then showed their quality as they dictated play and nullified the threat of the hosts, ensuring that they came away from the first leg the happier of the two camps.
The clash got off to a frantic start when Huddersfield had a genuine case for a penalty as Harry Toffolo was bundled over in the penalty area after just 40 seconds of the game.
Luton took the game to the Terriers with James Bree forcing an excellent save from Lee Nicholls with a powerful drive from range, before the visitors hit the Hatters on the break leading to Danel Sinani to slot home past Matt Ingram.
Luton star delays honeymoon for Championship play-off clash against Huddersfield
How much is the Championship play-off final really worth?
HAT IN HAND
Luton's 'hostile' ground will be one Ronaldo will want 'to tick off his list'
Forest have woeful play-off record and must bounce back at in-form Sheffield United
Bristol Rovers' Barton and new Fleetwood boss Brown to reignite Old Firm feud
Why Man United vs Nottingham Forest FA Youth Cup Final is bigger than Spurs vs Arsenal
David Connolly was on commentary duty with talkSPORT and believes that the loan-signing should have done better.
He said: “It’s a class finish, a really good goal but Naismith slips at the absolute wrong moment. He loses his footing, and then he’s away, Sinani.
“Naismith’s just had a go at his goalkeeper, Ingram. He feels he certainly shouldn’t be beaten at his near post and I’m inclined to agree.
“If it’s across goal then fair play, but at his near post, it’s a combination of errors there.”
Jones’ side continued to play their natural game as Huddersfield sat back, and they got their reward after half an hour as a whipped free-kick met the head of club captain Bradley who powered an effort home to draw the game level, with Connolly hailing it as a ‘fantastic finish’.
Cameron Jerome went close before the break with a wonderful curling effort from range, but there’s no doubt that the visitors will have been the happier side at the break.
That continued into the second half as Huddersfield altered their counter-attacking game into a more possession-based approach as they stroked the ball around the field, albeit without creating much.
However despite failing to get a winning goal, Huddersfield boss Corberan will be pleased to take the tie back to west Yorkshire and the John Smith Stadium on a level footing.
Bet Of The Weekend
Sky Bet: Man City, Aston Villa & Leicester all to win – boosted to 5/1 (from 4/1)
18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org.