Huddersfield Town were held to a 1-1 draw by Birmingham City this evening, with Marc Roberts cancelling out Fraizer Campbell’s second-half strike.
A largely dull first-half became a distant memory after half-time, with Campbell (63) firing Huddersfield into the lead.
That advantage would last only four minutes, though, as Roberts capitalised on poor defending from a corner to secure Blues a point on the road.
Points are precious at the bottom of the Championship. Both will have wanted 3 tonight, but that might prove to be a decent result given the lack of quality on show. #HUDBIR
— AGB (@BurnsAlfie) March 2, 2021
Richard Stearman was back for Huddersfield and making his first start since November’s win over Middlesbrough. Carlos Corberan was getting exactly what he would want from the centre-back: vocal and showing strong leadership on his return to the defence.
An early clash with Harlee Dean’s elbow brought a yellow card for the Birmingham skipper and long treatment for Stearman.
That challenge set the tone for the opening exchanges, with Huddersfield’s football and willing running going up against a typically physical Aitor Karanka outfit; it was the type of test that Corberan has failed a number of times in his first season in the Championship.
Jeremie Bela was causing problems for Rarmani Edmonds-Green down the left and almost found the corner of Ryan Schofield’s goal with a mishit cross. Meanwhile, Stearman was now in the book for a strong challenge through Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Hardly out of the thick of things, Stearman headed Ivan Sanchez’s shot clear after tricky play from the Birmingham winger, who was carrying all his side’s attacking threat. After a darting run into the penalty area, he moved the ball onto his left foot, but curled off-target from a good position.
At the other end, Pipa failed to really test Neil Etheridge with a tame shot after cutting in from the left. Then, Isaac Mbenza wasted a good free-kick position with a wild attempt after Kristian Pedersen prevented Campbell breaking into the penalty area.
Ultimately, two sides tussling in the bottom six of the Championship were lacking the quality to break the deadlock in the first-half.
A scrappy start to the second-half followed, with both committing fouls in the midfield to stunt the flow of the game. Birmingham grew into things quicker, though.
Alen Halilovic scooped a shot towards goal that Schofield had to tip over, Ivan Sunjic’s lazy effort cleared the crossbar and a Pedersen drive fizzed into the arms of the Huddersfield goalkeeper via a Stearman deflection.
Karanka exchanged a few words with the Huddersfield bench as the game opened up ticking beyond the hour, but then Birmingham would be punished for missed chances shortly after.
Naby Sarr’s cross proved difficult for Dean to clear, with the Birmingham captain only finding Campbell, who finished emphatically beyond Etheridge to open the scoring.
The response from Birmingham was good and must have pleased Karanka. Halilovic won a corner out of Stearman, which forced the equaliser.
Sanchez’s delivery from the right caused problems for Huddersfield, who passed up the opportunity to clear their lines. Roberts stormed onto the loose ball to lash the ball beyond Schofield from yards out.
Stearman’s solid return to the starting line-up continued as he blocked a shot from Bela, with space opening up for Blues on the counterattack as Corberan rolled the dice by replacing Alex Vallejo with Scott High.
Duane Holmes’ set-pieces were causing problems for Birmingham, with Roberts and Etheridge forced to deal with the delivery of the former Derby County midfielder as Huddersfield piled bodies forwards.
However, that willingness to search for a winning goal came at a cost and substitute, Scott Hogan, saw his late shot blocked as the Huddersfield defence – led well by Stearman still – scrambled to prevent a shot on Schofield’s goal. Hogan then failed to capitalise after a long throw-in found his run on the edge of the six yard box.
That proved to be the game’s last meaningful chance, with the valuable points on offer shared between two of the Championship’s struggling sides.
FT: Huddersfield Town 1-1 Birmingham City.