Pow­ell worry for stricken Smith

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

BILLY Sharp’s 90thminute win­ner gave Leeds their first win in 11 away games, but the clash was over­shad­owed by a se­ri­ous in­jury to Hud­der­s­field de­fender Tommy Smith – and it left Ter­ri­ers boss Chris Pow­ell vis­i­bly shaken.

Smith was flown to hos­pi­tal in a York­shire Air Am­bu­lance he­li­copter af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle fol­low­ing a heavy col­li­sion with his own goal­keeper Joe Mur­phy.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred while Sharp was in the process of nod­ding home the late Leeds win­ner and, af­ter a lengthy de­lay in which Smith was ini­tially stretchered off the pitch, Pow­ell could barely bring him­self to dis­cuss the match it­self.

Pow­ell said: “I went to see him. It’s ob­vi­ously a very se­ri­ous in­ci­dent but he’s in good hands now.

“I thought ev­ery­one with re­gards to his wel­fare – the med­i­cal depart­ment at my club and Leeds, and ob­vi­ously the peo­ple on standby here – dealt with him very ef­fi­ciently and quickly.

“He’s con­scious now but I be­lieve he wasn’t at the start of the in­ci­dent, so clearly there’s been a ma­jor trauma with re­gards to his head or neck, I’m not en­tirely sure. But he’s gone off to Leeds Gen­eral In­fir­mary now and hope­fully he’s in good hands and they’ll look af­ter him and get him right as rain again.

“The he­li­copter landed on the pitch af­ter the game be­cause they couldn’t land out­side be­cause of the traf­fic, and that’s where I man­aged to see him and his fam­ily briefly.

“I know it’s been a dis­ap­point­ing day for us with re­gards to the game, but I’ve got to say my thoughts are more with him than with what hap­pened over the course of the 90-odd min­utes.”

In other cir­cum­stances, the at­ten­tion would be on Leeds, who book-ended a phys­i­cal game with two good spells. Sam Byram got things un­der­way on seven min­utes by dink­ing over the on­rush­ing Joe Mur­phy from a through ball from Luke Mur­phy.

Hud­der­s­field drew level through sub­sti­tute Harry Bunn on 26 min­utes, with the striker head­ing into an open goal af­ter Marco Silvestri made a hash of Ja­cob But­ter­field’s cor­ner.

Both sides missed late op­por­tu­ni­ties, with Sean Scan­nell miss­ing But­ter­field’s tan­ta­lis­ing ball across the goalline and Leeds sub Mirco An­tenucci blaz­ing over from a good po­si­tion.

But An­tenucci made amends, cross­ing for Sharp to con­vert just three min­utes af­ter com­ing off the bench af­ter Byram did su­perbly to keep a long ball alive.

New boy Sol Bamba, on loan from Palermo, was ex­cel­lent for Leeds.The 30-year-old ex-Le­ices­ter man had been an out­cast at the Ital­ian club, play­ing just one se­nior game since rep­re­sent­ing Ivory Coast at the World Cup.

But he showed no signs of rust here as he helped United hold Hud­der­s­field at bay be­fore their late win­ner.

Leeds manager Neil Red­fearn said: “I thought Bamba was ex­cel­lent. What he gives you is phys­i­cal pres­ence and lead­er­ship at the back.

“He’s quick and ob­vi­ously he’s an ex­pe­ri­enced guy. He played his part and we looked more as­sured with him at the back.

“The win just takes a bit of pres­sure off ev­ery­thing. It’s a long sea­son and ev­ery­one down the bot­tom of the league usu­ally starts win­ning at this stage.”

TRAUMA: Hud­der­s­field manager Chris Pow­ell looks on as his stricken de­fender Tommy Smith is taken to hos­pi­tal in an air am­bu­lance

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

JOY: Sam Byram cel­e­brates his goal

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