Huddersfield rescue a point but Wagner furious with ‘ugly’ elbow
Sometimes, the pain is worth the prize. Christopher Schindler would certainly have felt that way as he nursed a sore head last night.
The Huddersfield centre-back (right) headed his first Premier League goal, and only Huddersfield’s fourth of the season, to secure their third point and lift them off the bottom of the table.
Yet it looked, for a few worrying moments, as if his afternoon would finish on a stretcher, as he suffered a nasty head wound after being caught by Sam Vokes’ flying elbow. After several minutes of treatment, a bloodied Schindler was able to complete the game. David Wagner, Huddersfield’s head coach, described the challenge as “ugly”. He added: “Opponents have to have better control over their bodies. This is not something I like to see in football.”
That was not the game’s only talking point. Sean Dyche, Burnley’s manager, was fuming over a second-half dive by visiting striker Laurent Depoitre, who was booked for falling under James Tarkowski’s challenge on the hour mark, and was substituted almost immediately. “That is embarrassing,” Dyche said. “Remember the blood incident in rugby? Do you remember the outrage about that? People dive all the time in the Premier League and nobody bothers. It’s just accepted. Today was cringeworthy.”
While Dyche’s complaint was valid, it could not disguise the poor quality of his team’s display. They somehow led at half-time; Vokes jumped above Schindler from a standing start to head in Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross after 20 minutes. Otherwise, they spent a large part of the match on the defensive, not helped by some very poor distribution. The warning signs were there in the minutes before Vokes scored; Ben Mee’s loose pass allowed Aaron Mooy to roll a square pass to set up Laurent Depoitre, but Tarkowski got across to block.
It was Tarkowski’s deflection on Alex Pritchard’s cross that just took the ball slightly behind Depoitre, who volleyed wide.
Pritchard was a lively presence in the Huddersfield moments earlier, his lovely return pass had played in Rajiv van La Parra, who steered well wide from a tight angle. It summed up the best and worst of Huddersfield; fine build-up work let down by profligate finishing.
It looked as if it would be another painful day for a team who have still yet to win this season, and for the 165 supporters who had walked the 26 miles to Burnley for charity. That group, which included chairman Dean Hoyle, set off from the club training ground at 3am to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the Alzheimer’s Society, and to pay tribute to their England World Cup-winning full-back Ray Wilson, who died in May.
“Our performances are good,” Wagner said. “I am confident that we will get the points we need if we perform like we have in recent weeks.”