Huddersfield 1-0 Fulham: Terriers break home duck, send woeful Whites bottom

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Huddersfield Town got its first home goal in nearly 11 hours, and in the process pulled itself off the bottom of the table at the opponent’s expense.

The hosts were disciplined and clinical, and showed a level of desire the visitors couldn’t come close to matching as Huddersfield Town beat Fulham 1-0 at Kirklees Stadium to pull off the bottom of the Premier League table and send the Whites plunging to the basement in the process.

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The early portion of the match was cagey as the teams felt each other out, but Fulham began to pick up the pace. Huddersfield capitalized on a sloppy mistake, winning the ball in the attacking half as Phillip Billing rattled the crossbar with a powerful long-range effort in the 16th minute.

The hosts had the better attacking mentality through the opening half-hour, dominating the midfield. Alex Pritchard forced Fulham goalkeeper Sergio Rico into a fine diving save in the 28th minute that he palmed over. On the ensuing corner, Huddersfield found the back of the net for the first time in front of the home fans in nearly 660 minutes. While the initial delivery was headed back out towards the corner flag, it was sent back in and found the head of Christopher Schindler who rose higher than Timothy Fosu-Mensah and buried the chance. It was later changed to a Fosu-Mensah own-goal after replay showed it clipped the Fulham defender.

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While the Whites failed to show any sort of cohesion, Huddersfield saw out the rest of the first half. Fulham made a pair of changes at halftime as Kevin McDonald and Cyrus Christie came on after the break, and they immediately pressed the issue. Alexandar Mitrovic just missed the top corner with a header on 54 minutes.

Fulham showed some signs of desperation in the final 20 minutes, but struggled to get by the organized Huddersfield defense. Andre Schurrle put the ball in the back of the net in the 75th minute, but it was ruled out as Mitrovic was called for offside. Schurrle then had a two-on-two break in the 81st minute but was indecisive as he got closer to net and shanked his shot well wide.

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The win moved Huddersfield off the bottom of the Premier League table, up to 18th on six points with the season’s first league victory. The Terriers are level on six points with 17th placed Newcastle but owners of a much worse goal differential. Fulham takes their place on the bottom, with just five points this season and a -17 goal differential due in large part to the leaky defense.

Slavisa Jokanovic could be at the end of his tenure in charge of Fulham, as a $128 million investment this summer has been nothing short of a disaster on the field. Jokanovic started Andre-Zambo Anguissa for the fifth time in the Premier League, but left expensive new arrival Alfie Mawson on the bench yet again, choosing Denis Odoi and Maxim Le Marchand as the preferred defensive partnership. He has been unable to mesh the Championship Playoff winning squad with the summer purchases, as the team has shipped 29 goals so far through the first 11 league matches, the most of any team in the Top 5 European leagues.