Huddersfield Town 1 Stoke City 1
There could be few complaints from the crowd about the points being shared in a game that offered lively St Stephen’s Day excitement throughout, though both managers will be able to come up with one or two.
David Wagner will feel his side's indifferent finishing cost them a win their superiority deserved while Mark Hughes, not for the first time this season, will be unhappy about a couple of decisions that did not go Stoke's way: a disallowed goal in the first half and a penalty that was not awarded in the second.
For the neutral though the entertainment was first rate. Hughes might have earned some breathing space with the win against West Bromwich last week but if Stoke are to pull decisively away from the relegation zone they need to stop giving away so many goals. Already the only Premier League side to concede 40 in the first half of the season they were a goal down after 10 minutes here, with Tom Ince finally getting off the mark for the Terriers. After a good run down the right by Tommy Smith and determination shown by Colin Quaner in holding off Geoff Cameron to cut the ball back from the goal line, Ince could hardly miss from close to the penalty spot.
That was just the start Huddersfield needed, and Aaron Mooy spent the next few minutes threading passes into space behind an uneasy Stoke backline. Quaner should perhaps have made more of one breakaway but his cross was too strong for the unmarked Steve Mounié, before Huddersfield survived an incredible goalline scramble following a corner. Jonas Lossl initially made a diving save from Ryan Shawcross's header, but when the ball was returned to the goalmouth the goalkeeper had to make an unsighted stop when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting attempted an overhead kick from a couple of yards out.
Lossl just about managed it, with the aid of a benign rebound from his right upright, and though the handily placed Peter Crouch claimed the ball had crossed the line Anthony Taylor’s wristwear indicated otherwise. Replays showed Stoke had been unlucky. The decision was correct though extremely marginal, with only 10 per cent of the ball failing to cross the line.
More bad news for Stoke came when Shawcross pulled up injured after half an hour, with Cameron moving back to take his place in central defence. Though Rajiv van la Parra twice went close before the interval, Stoke were unlucky again at the other end when Choupo-Moting put the ball in the net from Xherdan Shaqiri’s pass, only to be recalled for the narrowest of offsides. Again the decision was probably correct, yet the margin must have been almost as tight as the one that required goalline technology.
Stoke might have slightly stronger grounds for feeling they should have won it
By the second half the game had become an entertaining and even encounter. Mounié was just too high with an overhead kick that had Jack Butland scrambling at one end, then Shaqiri went just as close with one of his trademark curling shots from the angle of the area.
The powerful Quaner made a couple of surging runs towards goal, scattering Stoke defenders as he did so, without managing to summon the necessary end product once he got within shooting range. When Mounié missed from close range from a Smith cross it began to look as if Huddersfield might rue their failure to add a second goal during a period when they were on top, and sure enough, when Joe Allen found space on the left after an hour, his low cross was tucked away by Ramadan Sobhi for an equaliser that came against the run of play.
Stoke should have had a penalty when Christopher Schindler brought down Mame Biram Diouf as the game entered its final quarter, but the referee waved appeals away, just as he had when Allen wrestled Mooy to the ground a few minutes earlier. While the first incident had been debatable, there was no doubt Schindler's trailing leg was what caused Dioiuf to lose his footing. While neither side particularly deserved to lose this match, Stoke might have slightly stronger grounds for feeling they should have won it.