Crystal Palace 1-0 Huddersfield: Roy Hodgson earns first win
Last Updated: 19/09/17 10:11pm
Crystal Palace earned their first victory of Roy Hodgson's reign as manager and their first over Premier League opposition since May with a 1-0 home defeat of Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup.
The Eagles' progress into the competition's fourth round also represented the first victory Hodgson has experienced since England defeated Wales at the European Championships in June 2016.
The 70-year-old's first match in charge at his latest club ended in a 1-0 home defeat to Southampton - but a much-changed team significantly improved from the point Bakary Sako's headed the Eagles in front.
Both teams made nine changes to the XIs they had last selected in the Premier League, but if Hodgson was rewarded with desire from those eager to impress, David Wagner's Terriers were disjointed and lacked belief.
Huddersfield have made a fine start to the season which included a 3-0 victory at Palace in their opening league game, the first of five Palace have experienced, but Mamadou Sakho's influence helped the hosts excel.
Sakho arrived for £26million on a permanent basis from Liverpool shortly before the conclusion of the summer transfer window and his composure in central defence brought much of the stability they have missed since his injury in April.
Palace chairman Steve Parish this week acknowledged his club were short of competition for striker Christian Benteke, but Hodgson experimented with Sako and Lee Chung-yong up front in his favoured 4-4-2 formation.
After the hosts won a 13th-minute corner, at the end of a period in which Sako's work-rate had impressed, Andros Townsend crossed to the forward and he took advantage of static Huddersfield defending to routinely head beyond Joel Coleman for the decisive breakthrough.
By half-time, Townsend had again threatened with a shot that went wide of the target, and Elias Kachunga struck over for Huddersfield before Tom Ince tested Julian Speroni with another shot - but on neither occasion did a goal appear likely.
The hosts were given further cause to be positive at half-time when Pape Souare, whose career was threatened when he suffered a broken jaw and thigh bone in a car crash 12 months ago, came on for his first appearance since his recovery.
As the second half progressed Huddersfield enjoyed greater spells of possession but the hosts' newly-organised defence - demonstrating Hodgson's influence - refused to be stretched in the final third.
The crucial question became whether, as has so often been the case during the past 12 months, Palace's confidence would erode and they would make a mistake.
Huddersfield's poor execution, however, combined with the Eagles' belief ensured the hosts finished on top and Sako had another header, from Townsend's 82nd-minute corner, scrambled clear.
Substitute Yohan Cabaye also tested Coleman with a strike from 25 yards in stoppage time as Hodgson got a welcome win - crucially, ahead of Premier League fixtures with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea in the coming weeks.