Huddersfield Town ended their nine-game losing streak with a goalless draw at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.
Referee Lee Mason is in the headlines following the conclusion of the game though after awarding a penalty to the visitors when Hadergjonaj went to ground after a Joe Bennett tackle. However, with the interference of the assistant referee, he reversed his decision.
The Terriers dominated the game in Wales, controlling possession and creating more chances yet they failed to make their pressure count. The home side failed to register a single shot on target and didn’t really have a foothold in the game and may count themselves lucky to come away with a point.
A match short of quality and chances reflects the scoreline and the position of the two teams as Huddersfield remain in the relegation zone with Cardiff sitting in 17th.
Lee Mason could have provided a platform for Huddersfield to stage a relegation escape, but he reversed his penalty decision. He initially judged the arm of Bennett to be illegally obstructing Hadergjonaj and pointed to the spot. However, after avid protest from the home side and much deliberation with the assistant referee, Lee Mason changed his decision. If the decision had stood it would have been a weak penalty but Mason made it worse than it had to be, pointing to the spot and then changing his mind, which really wound up the away fans. This is the reason why VAR is critical in the Premier League. Not only would it promote correct decisions, it would also reduce the controversy and animosity after games.
Despite not scoring, the visitors seemed to have the strongest foothold on the game. The Terriers were defensively solid and their midfield seemed strong, having 61% possession. However, it was again their lack of attacking creativity and finishing that stopped them from coming away with the three points. Town managed to have 14 shots during the game, and limited Cardiff to just three, all of which were off target. Huddersfield’s best chance apart from the controversial penalty came from the new man, Jason Puncheon. Puncheon hit an excellent effort from 25 yards, catching it nicely but it skidded a foot wide of the far post – more to come from the on-loan Palace midfielder.
Hope for Cardiff
Huddersfield stopped Cardiff from putting any distance between themselves and the relegation zone. This weekend’s results won’t have helped the table either. Both Burnley and Southampton picked up wins, which pushes Cardiff ever closer to the bottom three – level on points with the Saints and one point ahead of the Magpies.
However, they should be able to pick up some points in their coming games. Four of their next three games are all against opposition that Neil Warnock should feel his side could beat. Two massive games against Newcastle and Southampton await before a trip to Bournemouth, three crucial games in which they need to pick up points in if they are to remain in the English top flight.
Terriers in Trouble
A good performance this weekend from Wagner’s side means that they have put an end to their losing run. But, their next set of fixtures will most likely determine their season. It all begins next weekend against reigning champions Manchester City, followed by Everton, Chelsea and then Arsenal – huge games if they want to remain in the Premier League.