The Dutch winger capped off a first half mainly dominated by the home side, and his 50th league start for the club, with a 40-yard screamer just a minute before the break.
It was chilly, yet gleaming with sunshine, at the John Smith's Stadium as West Yorkshire prepared to host its 6th Premier League fixture of the 2017-18 season on Remembrance Weekend, and Huddersfield certainly had a weekend to remember last time they played here.
Players were greeted on the pitch by soldiers from the British Army Dishforth and another rapturous atmosphere produced by the (attendance) fans in attendance hoping the game would play out differently to how you’d expect it to on paper.
A minute’s silence to pay respect to the Armed Forces took place in front of an immaculate poppy display courtesy of the Britannia Rescue Stand before kick-off, and it was West Brom who were on the front foot as soon as proceedings got underway.
van La Parra marks 50th start with a stunner
The Baggies flew straight out of the blocks and could’ve gone ahead early on if Lady Luck was on their side. Jay Rodriguez won a corner after a quick break down the right side of the pitch, and the resulting set-piece ended in a small scramble inside the danger area.
Huddersfield had to deal with another corner while still in first gear, but shortly after showed signs of life through Scott Malone who won the home side a corner of their own, Mooy’s delivery from the left didn’t get past the front post though and Evans cleared without fuss.
Malone was proving to be a tough antagonist down the left flank and helped the hosts grow into the game by utilising the attack-minded full-backs available to them. The first real chance of the game came in the 11th minute, as another corner won by Malone reached Christopher Schindler at the back post and the German prodded just over the bar.
Huddersfield started to take control and had a big penalty claim waved away in the 14th minute. Rajiv van La Parra raced towards a strayed ball on the right side of the West Brom penalty box and looked to be taken down by a late Kieran Gibbs – but referee Roger East was having none of it.
Pressure continued to mount on the visitors, however, it was Tony Pulis’ side who had a glorious chance to take the lead on 22 minutes. Hal Robson-Kanu threaded a precise ball through the defence to Jay Rodriguez, who only had Schindler to beat as he rushed into the box, but the English forward’s tame effort was blocked rather comfortably by the last man.
A string of yellow cards then followed – Christopher Schindler first for The Terriers before Allan Nyom and Ahmed Hegazi followed suit promptly afterwards. Thomas Ince missed a huge opportunity for Town in between, wastefully firing over the bar after an Aaron Mooy corner rebounded off Gareth Barry and fell almost perfectly for him from 10 yards out.
The noise from the home stands began to dim in the dying embers of the first half, but Rajiv van La Parra decided to make that chance one minute from the break.
A clever quick free-kick from Aaron Mooy led to a few passes before play reached Malone on the left, and the no. 3 laid the ball off for the winger to curl an exquisite strike past the rooted Ben Foster and into the top right corner – not a bad way to mark your 50th league start for the club.
Huddersfield play the final 35 minutes a man down
A subtle start turned very interesting, very fast, as Christopher Schindler’s careless challenge 10 minutes into the second half on Baggies centre-back Hegazi on the left side earnt him a second yellow, and subsequently an early shower – there should’ve been a long 35 minutes ahead for David Wagner’s men.
Pulis instantly reacted to the dismissal by using all three of his substitutions on the hour mark – Salomón Rondon, James McClean and Matty Phillips replacing lacklustre trio Gareth McAuley, Hal Robson-Kanu and Gregor Krychowiak.
Danny Williams and Martin Cranie took the places of goalscorer van La Parra and Elias Kachunga to bring defensive stability for the rest of proceedings. The former collected an irresponsible bookings 10 minutes after entering the field though, kicking the ball away as the away side prepared a free-kick inside the Huddersfield half.
Play was predominantly, and unsurprisingly, stale between a home team defending the lead and a, quite frankly, deflated West Brom. However, the visitors kicked it up a notch with 15 minutes left on the clock and really started the compress the hosts into their own third with testing passing.
Salomón Rondón headed agonisingly wide from a corner in the 73rd minute after brilliant persistence from fellow substitute James McClean before Jay Rodriguez attempt to test Jonas Lössl from 25 yards out ended, well, as you would imagine at this point.
Chris Löwe acted as Wagner’s final new introduction close to the 80-minute mark – Scott Malone made way to a well-deserved standing ovation after a tremendous showing in his home league debut.
Minutes ticked down as Town held on for dear life, David Wagner did his bit by jeering up the fans behind him to roar on the side as a hefty six minutes were added on. But despite the deafening response from the Huddersfield followers, the Baggies continued to press, press, press.
Two moments of goalkeeping genius from on-loan Mainz ‘keeper Jonas Lössl kept the hosts ahead excruciatingly late on, first denying McClean twice and then Matty Phillips. And after the heart-piercing events in stoppage time had passed, referee Roger East blew the full-time whistle, leading to jubilation and relief in every single filled seat.
West Brom’s failure to claim all three points, now for the ninth league game in a row, could very well spell the end of Tony Pulis’ two and a half-year spell at the helm – the away side have accumulated their lowest points tally after 11 games since the 2005-06 campaign when they were relegated.
Huddersfield Town are now incredibly just four points outside the top four despite all five leading sides being in action later on this weekend. It’s surely sinking into everyone associated with the Terriers now, this football club isn’t just in the top flight of English football to make the numbers.
The Terriers face a trip down to AFC Bournemouth once the interantional break is over before hosting Manchester City and travelling back down south to play at the Emirates, while West Brom have the daunting task of Tottenham Hotspur straight after Chelsea are hosted at the Hawthorns - quite possibly Pulis-less.