End-to-End Affair Ends in Stalemate as Both Sides Remain Unbeaten
An intense and end-to-end affair amazingly ended goalless as both Huddersfield and Southampton continued their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.
In a game of two halves, David Wagner's side dominated most of the game's first forty five minutes, but were unable to capitalise on their chances, whilst the Saints were able to recover from a frantic opening half to wrestle back some momentum and secure a valuable point away from home.
A lively and energetic Huddersfield opened proceedings at the John Smith's Stadium
as the early frenzied tempo of the game seemed to have rattled the Southampton defenders as a number of mistakes from Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens almost opened the door for the Terriers to take an early lead.
However, the first clear cut chance of the game fell to the visitors as the Terriers defensive line was cut open as Stephen Davis played Nathan Redmond in behind the right side of defence. The English forward should have found the back of the net, but his finishing let him down as his shot curled wide of the post.
An end-to-end affair resulted in a plethora of chances for both sides within mere minutes of each other, with exceptional blocks from goalkeepers and defenders alike unbelievably keeping the scores level.
How Huddersfield haven't scored against Southampton yet is one of life's greatest mysteries. Sensational tempo & pressure so far— Anfield Anonymous (@AnfieldAnon) August 26, 2017
A coherent Huddersfield side continued to have the half's best chances as their counter attacking style and balls in behind and over the top of the Saints defensive line gave the Terriers a clear sight of goal, with Steve Mounie almost the benefactor as his scuffed shot from the penalty spot took the ball agonisingly wide of the post.
With Southampton unable to relieve pressure through their forwards, Huddersfield's persistence and pressure almost paid off just before the break when Forster made an absolute meal of an in-swinging cross as he fumbled the ball straight to Elias Kachunga, but to the England international's credit, he was able to smoother the shot - which looked destined for the back of the net - with his legs.
It was a stop-start beginning to the second half, as back-to-back fouls prevented the game from following the frantic tempo and intensity seen in the first forty five minutes.
With the Terriers initially unable to replicate their blistering start to the game early in the second, the first chance after the break came to Southampton's Manolo Gabbiadini whose lack of involvement earlier in the game could have been attributed to his heavy touch, which led to his shot being directed straight at Jonas Lossl.
With the Saints arresting back some momentum they were able to nullify Huddersfield's goal threat and disrupt the rhythm that the home side had generated in the first forty five minutes, for at least half an hour.
As the game entered the final fifteen minutes, both the home side and their supporters raised their game and placed the pressure firmly back on Southampton, with Tom Ince gifted a shot on goal with his lethal left foot - which to Forster's delight took a kind deflection safely into his arms.
As Huddersfield piled forward late into the game, the Saints took advantage of their exuberance as they caught them on the counter on a number of occasions.
With the best chance coming from a through ball from Shane Long which led to a penalty shout from James Ward-Prowse after his legs were seemingly taken from under him with less than ten minutes remaining in the game - but the referee waved away all claims, much to the dismay of the English midfielder.
Southampton finishing stronger.— Giroud Bullet Header (@therealthandoe) August 26, 2017
As the game entered extra time, hearts will have been pounding for both sets of supporters as Huddersfield tried to hold on, with Southampton coming as close as having a shot on goal cleared off the line.
With the deadlock unable to be broken, both the Terriers and Saints finish their first three games of the new league season unbeaten - only the second time in Southampton's history, whilst Huddersfield did not concede a single goal in that time.
An international break is now on the agenda for both Huddersfield and Southampton, but on their return to the Premier League a clash with West Ham and Watford awaits them respectively.