Huddersfield edge Leeds but brawl and red cards overshadow Hefele’s winner
This article titled “Huddersfield edge Leeds but brawl and red cards overshadow Hefele’s winner” was written by Richard Gibson at John Smith’s Stadium
, for The Guardian on Sunday 5th February 2017 14.10 UTC
Garry Monk accused his promotion-chasing rival David Wagner of a lack of class after an unbecoming end to a frenetic Yorkshire derby spilled into a post-match war of words.
Both managers were sent to the stands in the aftermath to Michael Hefele’s winning goal a minute from time that leapfrogged Huddersfield Town over Leeds United into fourth place in the Championship. Wagner hurtled more than 60 yards down the touchline to celebrate with his players, incensing Monk, who made physical contact with Wagner as the German passed through the visiting technical area on his way back to the home dugout.
After Monk leant towards Wagner, connecting with a shoulder, to spark a grapple between them, players from both teams raced towards the fracas. Things escalated rapidly, with substitutes and backroom staff from both clubs involved in an unseemly mêlée. It is not unreasonable to think that the Football Association will consider charges for the clubs for failing to control their staff.
The referee, Simon Hooper, on regaining order after two minutes of pushing and shoving, instructed the managers to leave their usual positions and cautioned Leeds’ Pontus Jansson and Huddersfield’s Elias Kachunga, the two most agitated of the players, as well as the Leeds captain, Liam Bridcutt.
“I can only speak for myself but my world and the world I was brought up in, you have to show humility and respect and a little bit of class,” Monk said. “When I don’t see that, I take it upon myself to put that right. I hold those values dear, I live by my values and I expect my players to uphold those values too. If someone else doesn’t show that, it doesn’t mean you have to accept it.”
Of Wagner’s intrusion Monk added: “My technical area is my technical area and, if someone goes across and runs into you,, or something, what can you do? I can only speak about the values I have in my life.”
Wagner, after watching his team come up with a winner after monopolising chances created in a high-intensity affair, claimed his actions were simply emotion getting the better of him, took a pot shot back at Monk and vowed to curb his tendency to celebrate in such a manner.
“I have a different opinion,” he said. “This is because I grew up in a different football culture. In Germany it is not disrespectful if you celebrate with your players. But I am in England and I have to respect British football culture. What, for me, is disrespectful in Germany and in England as well is if you try to battle the other manager. This is a lack of respect.
“I will try to make it better in the future but I cannot promise it and, if there was a moment when this could happen, it was this moment when everything came together. It was an emotional game.”
This was the most keenly anticipated meeting between the clubs in years given their respective places in the play-off positions. Indeed, both have opened their doors to Premier League delegation visits in recent weeks for an assessment of facilities in anticipation of status upgrades.
Huddersfield hit the front with a goal worthy of the top flight. The captain, Tommy Smith, produced an instinctive cross, after Jansson’s precision slide tackle halted Kachunga’s surge towards the area, and Izzy Brown, off the bench seconds earlier to replace the hamstring victim Kasey Palmer, flashed the ball into the top corner with his first touch.
But in Chris Wood Leeds possess the division’s in-form forward and he pulled them level 10 minutes before half-time when he seized on a Kyle Bartley knock-down, poked beyond the advancing Huddersfield goalkeeper, Danny Ward, and walked in his seventh goal of 2017 to a crescendo of boos from a home support erroneously claiming offside.
Huddersfield, who scored three goals in a league match for the first time in 11 months in defeating Brighton on Thursday, scented another culling of a promotion rival and Collin Quaner, the £500,000 January acquisition from Union Berlin, should have marked his full Championship debut by converting Brown’s 64th-minute assist but produced an embarrassing air shot.
Instead it was another German, Hefele, who sparked the flashpoint by arriving to meet a fortuitous deflection at the far post. Huddersfield fans – who saw last season’s tally of 51 points surpassed on Thursday – are now daring to dream that a 45-year exile from the top flight may soon come to an end.
However, in an isolated moment of calm, Wagner doused such expectations: “If the question is: is it realistic that we can get promoted? No. Look at our budget. Look at the size of this club. This is not realistic. Is it possible? Yes. In football everything’s possible. Leicester won the league. But this is totally unrealistic.”
Brighton make a dramatic point against Brentford
Tomer Hemed equalised late on as Brighton came from two goals down to grab a point in a 3-3 draw at Brentford.
Brighton had clawed themselves level after trailing 2-0, only for substitute Konstantin Kerschbaumer to put Brentford ahead at the start of seven minutes of stoppage time. But in a thrilling finale, Chris Hughton’s side somehow hit back again through Hemed, although they missed the chance to go back to the top of the Championship.
Brighton were staring at a third straight defeat when they trailed to goals from Jota and Harlee Dean and faced a penalty from Brentford striker Lasse Vibe. But David Stockdale saved it before Solly March and Shane Duffy hauled them level.
Brighton knew a win would lift them above Newcastle, but in the first half they found Spanish winger Jota simply too hot to handle at a chilly Griffin Park.
The player, back with the Brentford having spent a year on loan at Eibar, opened the scoring with a 14th-minute backheel. Seven minutes later, Brentford doubled their lead after Jota’s corner was flicked on by Glenn Murray to Dean, who stooped to convert a simple header at the far post.
After the break, the visitors felt they should have had a penalty when Tom Field blocked Anthony Knockaert’s shot. The referee, Jeremy Simpson, ignored those claims but did point to the spot when Uwe Hunemeier hauled down Jota, only for Stockdale to save Vibe’s effort with his legs.
Substitute March then pulled one back with a long-range drive in the 75th minute, and two minutes later Brighton were level, Duffy charging into the area to meet a Knockaert cross with a bullet header.
Brighton poured forward in search of a winner but with normal time up Kerschbaumer looked to have condemned them to defeat when he converted a pass from Vibe. However, there was more drama to come as Hemed rose to meet another Knockaert cross to equalise six and a half minutes into injury time. PA
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