Huddersfield Town 1-0 West Bromwich Albion: Rajiv van La Parra strike proves the difference
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 10/11/17 11:12am
Rajiv van La Parra's wonder strike saw 10-man Huddersfield Town beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 at the John Smith's Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts opened the scoring a minute before half-time when Van La Parra curled an unstoppable 35-yard effort into the top right-hand corner of the net, the winger's first goal since March.
David Wagner's team had to play more than the final half an hour with 10 men after Christopher Schindler's red card for two bookings, but held on to record successive top-flight home wins for the first time since November 1971.
Huddersfield: Lossl (8), Hadergjonaj (7), Zanka (7), Schindler (6), Malone (7), Hogg (7), Kachunga (7), Van La Parra (9), Mooy (8), Ince (8), Depoitre (7)
Subs: Cranie (6), Lowe (6), Williams (6)
West Brom: Foster (7), Nyom (6), Hegazi (6), Gibbs (7), McAuley (6), Evans (7), Krychowiak (6), Livermore (6), Barry (6), Rodriguez (7), Robson-Kanu (6)
Subs: Phillips (7), McClean (6), Rondon (6)
Man of the match: Rajiv Van La Parra
As a result, Huddersfield have moved up to 10th in the table, while the visitors are just two points from safety in 15th after a ninth Premier League game without a win, a dreadful run stretching back to August.
In a tight and cagey first period, it was Huddersfield who went in ahead at the break after a rare moment of brilliance from Van La Parra, starting after recovering from the groin problem that saw him subbed at Anfield last weekend.
Aaron Mooy took a quick free-kick just inside Huddersfield's half, catching West Brom out, with the hosts then launching a swift counter-attack that ended with the Dutchman beating a motionless Ben Foster from distance with one of the goals of the season so far.
The home team's control of the contest diminished on 57 minutes though after Schindler - already on a yellow for pulling back Hal Robson-Kanu in the first half - was given his marching orders following a late tackle on Ahmed Hegazi.
West Brom threw everything they had at their opponents for the final half an hour, but the closest they actually came to drawing level was in stoppage time when Jonas Lossl produced two sensational saves to earn his team all three points.
The Denmark international's first stop kept out substitute James McClean's close-range header and then after the visitors recycled the ball, the 28-year-old did even better to dive full length to touch fellow substitute Matt Phillips' low drive behind for a corner.
Huddersfield made three changes from last weekend's 3-0 loss at Liverpool, with captain Tommy Smith, Chris Lowe and Danny Williams all dropping to the bench to be replaced by Scott Malone, Elias Kachunga and Florent Hadergjonaj.
The Baggies made just one alteration from last Saturday's 3-2 home defeat to Man City, with Hal Robson-Kanu coming in for Salomon Rondon up front.
At the full-time whistle, the entire Huddersfield bench, including Wagner, ran straight over to Lossl to thank the goalkeeper for securing the precious victory.
- Huddersfield have now won 11 points at home in the Premier League this season - only Arsenal (15), Manchester United (15) and Manchester City (13) have won more.
- Despite playing against 10 men for 33 minutes of this match, West Brom (49.7 per cent) still held less possession than Huddersfield (50.3 per cent).
- West Brom have lost all eight of the competitive matches that they have conceded the first goal in since May 2017.
- This is West Brom's lowest points tally after 11 games of a Premier League season (10) since 2005-06 (8), when they were relegated.
Rajiv van La Parra ended a run of 23 successive appearances in all competitions for Huddersfield without a goal, with his first-half strike in this game.
West Bromwich Albion made a triple substitution in this match - this first time it's happened in the Premier League this season and the last time a team did it was in March (Man Utd v Bournemouth).
This was the first red card that Roger East has given in the Premier League in over a year (September 2016) - he hadn't given one in any of his last 12 games in the competition.
David Wagner: "The players have shown today that they are capable of both - they played good football in ball position as long as they were even," said Wagner.
"After the suspension of Christopher Schindler they have shown as well that they are able to defend and to show the right team spirit and fighting spirit what you have to show.
"I think they have done it brilliant, I am absolutely delighted with the effort the players have shown today. This for sure is one of the biggest wins for us as a team in this season."
Tony Pulis: "I expect that (booing from the West Brom fans)," said Pulis, who took charge at the Hawthorns in January 2015.
"Every club, every group of supporters, if you have gone on a run like we have, and it is a poor run, will criticise.
"And the person who gets it is the manager. I am not stupid enough to think they are going to look anywhere else. I have been at the club nearly three years now and having joined the football club, the club is in a much better position now.
"Although the results have not gone well, the club is in a much better position than it was when I first took over by a country mile. But we need some breaks and we have not had those breaks.
"And like I say, am I worried? I do not like it, but I am more worried about the players than anything else."
The pundit - Matt Le Tissier
"It was a very gutsy win. West Brom had made it fairly comfortable up until that point (the sending-off) because they were not particularly ambitious in the game.
"But that final half an hour, I thought Huddersfield were very well organised, kept their shape pretty well and it was only really the last few minutes where West Brom exerted any constant pressure on the defence.
"Other than that, they coped admirably and when Jonas Lossl was needed, he came up with two terrific saves."
Man of the Match - Rajiv van La Parra
In a game of few chances, it was the Van La Parra's magnificent long-range effort just before the interval that proved the difference between the two sides at the John Smith's.
There appeared little danger when the 26-year-old picked possession of the ball some 35 yards from goal, only for the player to bring the house down with a sumptuous effort that flew past a helpless Foster into the top corner of the net.
That wonder strike - the player's first-ever Premier League goal - capped off an impressive display from the all-action wide man.
After the international break, Huddersfield travel to the south coast to take on Bournemouth, while West Brom entertain champions Chelsea at The Hawthorns.