Huddersfield 1-0 Sunderland: Matty Pearson scores to secure Terriers critical win in championship relegation battle – and give caretaker boss Jon Worthington further reason to smile amid strong start

15 February 2024 0 By Total Football News
  • Matty Pearson bundled the ball home in the fist half and Huddersfield clung on
  • Jon Worthington has two wins from three but alarm bells ring for Sunderland
  • Chris Waddle and Gareth Bale are IN but no David Beckham… CHRIS SUTTON reveals his top 5 Brits to have played abroad – It’s All Kicking Off podcast

Huddersfield’s battle-weary players and caretaker boss Jon Worthington soaked up the warm acclaim on a lap of honour – and how richly deserved it was.

This felt like a hugely significant three points as the Terriers opened up a five-point cushion between themselves and QPR in 22nd.

Worthington has overseen two wins in three matches since taking up the reins following Darren Moore’s sacking and breathed new life into a season that was heading towards oblivion.

The tenacity of this performance gave the greatest optimism the West Yorkshire club will still be in the Championship next season with Matty Pearson scoring the decisive goal.

But Sunderland‘s travel sickness continues – that’s just seven points from their last 11 away games – and while they remain just a point off the play-offs, some alarm bells are ringing.

Matty Pearson bundled the ball home to give Huddersfield a critical win as they moved five points clear of QPR

Matty Pearson bundled the ball home to give Huddersfield a critical win as they moved five points clear of QPR 

Pearson bundled home from close range after Jack Rudoni's free-kick was pushed out to him

Pearson bundled home from close range after Jack Rudoni’s free-kick was pushed out to him

Jon Worthington has won two of three games as caretaker boss and has heaped more pressure on Sunderland manager Michael Beale

Jon Worthington has won two of three games as caretaker boss and has heaped more pressure on Sunderland manager Michael Beale 

Michael Beale’s side struggle to put back-to-back wins together and he was irked by the nature of the winning goal.

It stemmed from a 37th-minute free-kick conceded by captain Luke O’Nien, who screamed at left-back Leo Hjelde for being in the wrong position as he was booked.

That anger only grew when Josh Koroma touched the ball to Jack Rudoni, whose low, skiddy shot was pushed out by keeper Anthony Patterson, but only to Pearson, who bundled it home.

‘We conceded again off a set-play and there’s a little bit of deja-vu,’ said Beale.

‘They made it a physical game, we had to roll our sleeves up and give a bit back and we didn’t do that. Our away form isn’t good enough for a team that has the aspirations we have.’

Huddersfield's Sorba Thomas and Jack Rudoni celebrate an important win for their side

Huddersfield’s Sorba Thomas and Jack Rudoni celebrate an important win for their side

But it was another miserable away trip for Sunderland as their play-off hopes took a blow

But it was another miserable away trip for Sunderland as their play-off hopes took a blow

Sunderland could have snatched a point late on when Trai Hume was denied by Lee Nicholls after racing through and Nicholls then spared the blushes of Tom Lees, who diverted a cross towards his own goal.

But Huddersfield were worthy winners and would have been more comfortable had Jude Bellingham not cleared Rudoni’s header off the line.

‘It was a really committed and passionate performance from the lads,’ said Worthington. ‘From the first minute, we were on the front foot.’

Match facts 

Huddersfield Town (4-2-3-1): Nicholls (c); Pearson, Lees, Balker (Nakayama 60), Spencer (Jackson 80); Kasumu, Matos (Hogg 74); Thomas, Wiles (Burgzorg 80), Rudoni; Koroma (Ward 74)

Substitutes not used: Maxwell (GK); Radulovic, Diarra, Jones

Caretaker manager: Jon Worthington

Scorer: Pearson 37  Booked: Matos, Nicholls

Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Patterson; Hume, Ballard, O’Nien (c), Hjelde (Pembele 61); Neil (Burstow 81); Ba (Roberts 61), Ekwah, Bellingham, Clarke; Rusyn (Mundle 72)

Substitutes not used: Bishop (GK); Semedo, Aouchiche, Seelt, Rigg

Manager: Michael Beale

Booked: O’Nien, Ba, Mundle

Referee: Gavin Ward  Attendance: 19,550