By N Lawless
Huddersfield got back to winning ways after a two-week break with an extremely tight 19-17 win over Preston Grasshoppers at Lockwood Park.
A three-match losing run had increased the significance of the match for Huddersfield as they looked to maintain their grip on their mid-table position.
The home side looked to be on the attack from kick-off and earned an early penalty in the third minute, dispatched successfully by Joel Hinchliffe.
Preston responded well and began to put Huddersfield on the back-foot, winning a penalty of their own which was missed by Lewis Allen.
They followed this disappointment with a quick try following a period of heavy pressure with the ball coming to Scott Jordan on the right wing to put the ball over, Allen’s conversion missed.
Another Preston penalty was missed by Allen on 13 minutes, allowing Huddersfield to begin to play their way back into the game after a tough ten minutes.
Hinchliffe’s second successful penalty put Huddersfield back in front on 22 minutes, but Preston responded by putting heavy pressure on the home side.
A dangerous scrum for Preston gave Andy Napier to chance to score their second try of the game on 28 minutes with Allen’s kick this time successful for 6-12.
Another Hinchliffe penalty ensured Huddersfield would go in at half-time just three points down, a positive considering they had struggled to seriously threaten the away side’s goal line.
The start of the second half saw a marked improvement from ‘Field as they attempted to make more territory in the Preston half from the off.
However, the game settled down into a lull with several lengthy deliberations from the referee disrupting any flow either side could muster up.
Huddersfield eventually levelled the scores through another Hinchliffe penalty on 65 minutes, the scrum-half’s kicking at its accurate best.
Following this, Huddersfield picked up the tempo again and began to bear down on the Preston defence with time fast running out.
The breakthrough finally came with six minutes left on the clock, good Huddersfield pressure seeing Austen Thompson use his strength to force the ball over, the conversion making it 19-12.
Huddersfield now looked confident in their play as they looked to see the game out, earning another late penalty. With Hinchliffe now off the pitch, Chris Bell kicked and narrowly missed to give Preston one last chance.
With time seemingly up, play went on and a fast move saw Preston score a last-ditch try down the right wing through Pete Altham to seemingly shatter Huddersfield hopes.
However, the resulting kick was positioned too far wide and drifted harmlessly wide as the referee finally blew up to give Huddersfield a narrow but hugely important win in their penultimate home game of the season.
Hodson, Clark, Hodgson, Owen, Knight, Bell, Hinchliffe, Battye, Morrill, Purcell, Rhodes, Thompson, Malthouse, Lewis, Sharpe
Subs: Jeffrey, Thornton, Sanderson, Bradley (L), Bradley (J)
Murray (M), Jordan, Russell, Woof, Kendal, Allen, Moulding, Madden, Mills, Altham, Tomlinson, Murray (A), Moon, Napier, Taylor
Subs: Tuff, Morton, Banks, Lees, O’Donnell