Play-off woe for Huddersfield
From the joy of that night against Bournemouth, and the excitement and delight that we all felt that night, to the absolute anguish and despair that followed the 3-0 defeat in the final to a Peterborough side who have taken a place in the Championship that many believed was ours for the taking.
This was as big a contrast in emotions as you will ever feel, and it perhaps provides a greater insight into the reason people watch football, as it offers a microcosm of emotions, you are only ever seconds from agony or ecstasy,
This was supposed to be our time, the perfect opportunity to reclaim a place in a league that we are more than capable of competing in.
However it was not to be the case, and once again we have to face up to the fact that we’ll be spending at least another season in League one. We outnumbered Peterborough fans 2 to 1 but just like the team, on the day we never truly found our voice. Shattered and drained from all the efforts of the season, Huddersfield Town as a whole couldn’t muster that last bit of energy required to take us over the finish line.
The day as a whole was a flat affair, and I never truly felt that we were actually going to win. The players looked tense, Ian Bennett was fumbling shots in the warm up, the players looked leggy, and we could have been two goals down by half time had the ever dangerous Mackail Smith not fluffed his lines.
The goal actually ignited our passions and we were on our feet waiting for a response, but it never came, and a cruel deflection took the dream away from us. By the third we were distracted by other things, the hope had evaporated and we were just waiting for the final whistle to just put the whole experience to bed.
I don’t want to overly dwell on the game, it was a depressing affair for Huddersfield fans and I don’t want to go over it endlessly, going over the ifs, buts and maybes. Ultimately we lost, this was a great opportunity and we didn’t take it and it obviously wasn’t meant to be.
We didn’t lose to a team who were, despite what the score line suggests, considerably better than us, they just had a very good free kick taker and a striker who is constantly a threat.
We mustn’t dwell on this defeat, we must use the pain to spur us on next season, and come back stronger with a greater determination and a ruthless streak that at times eluded us this year. There are some very good players in this Huddersfield Town team, and although some will come in and others will leave, there is the nucleus of a very good team there, and in Lee Clark we have a young manager who we need to stand by and fully support.
What we do have to return to is the swashbuckling, lethal in front of goal style that we used last season, and that recently we’ve abandoned for a more solid and less spectacular outfit. Pace is required, and we shall need to replace the loan stars that will no doubt leave us over the next few days and return to their parent clubs.
We might struggle to get Danny Ward and Benik Afobe back to the club next season, as they’ll both have aspirations of playing at a higher level to aid their development as players. As for Kevin Kilbane, he has been great for us and I would like to see him return to us next year, along with Damien Johnson, who we have really missed in the second half of the year, as he really made us tick and provided genuine steel in midfield.
However these are debates for another day, and we should all now take a break from football and go and enjoy some time away from the game and lick our wounds and heal ourselves before the next season starts.
Let us not forget that despite the feeling of failure, we made it to the final, we competed at the upper echelons of the league all season, and went 27 games unbeaten, and this all offers us great hope when we come back in August. Until then have a nice break from the game and enjoy the rest we will all need.
Proud to be a Terrier and we will be back!