Huddersfield Town have just entered their first season in Premier League history, it is their first season back in the top flight of English football for 45 years. Not since 1972 have the Terriers played a first division game, but now the self-proclaimed beautiful game, and the best league in the world has Huddersfield involved in it.
Last Saturday was not just an historic game for the club, but for the Town too, when Christopher Schindler scored the winning penalty at Wembley, life in Huddersfield changed forever.
A total of nine coaches set off for the long journey south on Saturday morning down to Selhurst Park. That many coaches alone had not been seen to travel to a regular away game for a very long time. However this is no regular away game and no regular season in Huddersfield Town history.
Backed by nearly 3,000 vocal support, the Terriers were entering the cauldron of what has been described as one of the best atmospheres in English football. While the Palace fans tried to raise the noise, they were simply drowned out by the Yorkshire sound in the stands.
Town stared ok, and the first 15 minutes of the game flew by, Palace under new management of Frank de Boer have been set the new challenge of playing to a new style. A passing game, a slow possession game, something so far from the previous management it could be described as chalk and cheese.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner has honed a style of play which is a quick pressing game, this worked in the Championship for many reasons. However it was going to be interesting to see if this worked in the Premier League. A division known for its ability to chew new teams up and spit them back out again at the first attempt.
Huddersfield started to dominate the play, with Elias Kachunga and Tom Ince causing all kinds of problems on the wings. The dynamic and rather surprising selection of Aaron Mooy and Phillip Billing in midfield protected the backline brilliantly.
The first goal came from a Town corner, Mooy whipping a ball into the box for £11.5m record signing Steve Mounie to flick the ball towards the back post with his head for Joel Ward to plant the ball in the goal. The Terrier’s first goal in Premier League history would be an own goal, not that the travelling fans cared one bit.
There was a stunned silence in Selhurst Park at that moment but for a small section of Town fans. It was to get worse for the Eagles three minutes later when Mounie latched on to a cross from Mooy, to bullet a header home in the 26th minute.
There was a disbelief in the stands, and with the news coming from Stamford Bridge that Burnely were leading Chelsea it felt like football had been tipped on its head. Ok some people say Huddersfield were only beating Crystal Palace but it was the manner in which the team were winning.
Palace did have their chances in the first half, Wilfried Zaha in particular having one brilliant moment. A good run on goal and a shot wide that was saved by Town keeper Jonas Lossl brought in on loan from Mainz 05. The Eagles kept on pressing Town back and striker Christian Benteke headed a shot just wide of the right hand post from a Palace corner.
The second half began much like the first half ended with Palace coming out of the traps quickly. Zaha once again making a nuisance of himself, with the Town defence sometimes stretched to breaking.
Palace centre back Scott Dan had a great chance blazing over the bar from a corner midway through the half. The Town keeper had to once again pull off a good save when a Benteke’s header looked all but in.
The game was wrapped up though on the 78th minute when Mounie got his second of the day. Collin Quaner grabbed the ball on the right wing, getting level with the Palace penalty area he rolled the ball to Mounie who curled it past Wayne Hennessey the Eagles keeper.
It was a successful opening day for Town who did sit top of the table until Manchester United beat West Ham 4-0 on the Sunday. However for Town fans sitting second in the Premier League table going into the second game wasn’t something they were expecting.
Next up for the Terrier’s is a home game against also newly promoted club Newcastle United. Crystal Palace have an away trip to Anfield and to face David Wagner’s best friend Jurgen Klopp.