In a midtable clash, it was Birmingham City who ran out eventual winners following a hard fought contest with Huddersfield Town at St. Andrews. Gary Gardner opened the scoring for the hosts, with Isaac Mbenza firing in a free kick to equalise for The Terriers. However, The Blues scored a winner in injury time as ex-Huddersfield man Lukas Jutkiewicz came off the bench to give the home side their second win of the season in the Championship.
Story of the game
In a tight opening affair, Huddersfield dominated possession but Birmingham stood firm without letting Town get into their stride. A neat interplay between Fraizer Campbell and Juninho Bacuna set Josh Koroma away down the left wing, but his driven cross was headed away well by Harlee Dean.
After 20 minutes, The Blues began to take the game to Huddersfield and saw their first real chance as Jérémie Bela played in Scott Hogan, who created enough room on the turn to fire a shot from 25 yards, narrowly wide of Ben Hamer's goal.
Minutes later, Birmingham had a big chance on the break. Christopher Schindler completely miscued an attempted long pass to Harry Toffolo, and Mikel San José played in Hogan but his shot was screwed wide with Richard Stearman and Schindler trying to recover.
Huddersfield hit back with Carel Eiting winning a 50-50 challenge with George Friend, who managed to square the ball to Campbell, who hit a hammer of a shot from 25 yards which fizzed just over the crossbar.
The game was becoming more and more opening with both sides exchanging chances, but it was Birmingham who drew first blood in the 27th minute. Bacuna brought down Iván Sanchez towards the touchline, 30 yards away from the Town goal. Bela's inswinging delivery was hit to the back post with Gary Gardner the quickest to react, placing his header past Hamer.
Huddersfield then had a penalty turned down as they turned on the pressure after the restart as Bacuna went down trying to connect with Campbell's low cross, but referee Leigh Doughty was having none of it.
At the other end, Birmingham twice came within a whisker of extending their lead. Pipa brought down Bela on the right edge of the box, whose low free kick cannoned back off the post straight to Friend, whose effort was cleared off the line by Stearman.
During the half time interval, Huddersfield made a change as manager Carlos Corberan brought on Alex Pritchard to replace Bacuna.
Soon after, it was Huddersfield's turn to have a goal denied by the woodwork. A sustained period of pressure ended with Koroma turning onto his right foot inside the box before smashing a powerful effort off the crossbar.
Huddersfield made an other change in the 57th minute, with Lewis O'Brien replacing Jonathan Hogg. Birmingham reacted with the introduction of former Town loanee Lukas Jutkiewicz, who recovered from illness this week, replacing Scott Hogan up front.
Huddersfield began to see a lot more of the ball than the home side, but lacked anything in the way of clear cut chances as Birmingham's defensive prowess began to show. Pritchard worked the ball to Campbell, who was eager to add to his impressive seven career goals at St. Andrews, but his shot from the edge of the box was arrowed wide, with Adama Diakhaby in a much better position on the overlap.
As the game approached the last 10 minutes, both sides made changes. Isaac Mbenza replaced Diakhaby for the visitors, while the home side replaced goalscorer Gardner with Jonathan Leko.
An excellent run from Pipa drew a foul from Harlee Dean, giving the away side a free kick from 19 yards out. Play was delayed as Birmingham's Clayton was down injured from an earlier incident, who limped heavily while leaving the field, leaving The Blues with 10 men having used all three of their substitutions.
Huddersfield made full use of the dangerous position of the free kick, as Mbenza scored his first goal of the season, hitting his shot over the wall and into the corner.
While clearly injured, Clayton came back on for Birmingham, but Huddersfield almost snatched the lead shortly after equalising. Koroma ran into the box from the right but his shot was claimed down low by Neil Etheridge.
The game was wide open with possession exchanging rapidly as both sides chased a winner, but it was Birmingham who got the winner in the first minute of injury time. Leko ran clear down the left following a fast Birmingham counter attack, whose shot hammered the crossbar before falling to Jutkiewicz who controlled his volley impressively to give the home side the lead.
There were nine minutes added on due to the delay for Clayton's injury and it was all Huddersfield in the closing stages. A flurry of corners for The Terriers almost brought an equaliser, as Pritchard's well worked short corner was returned to him, driving the ball low and hard across the goal, but somehow evaded everyone before the referee blew the final whistle.
There is no sweeter feeling than scoring an injury time winner and Lukas Jutkiewicz did just that for Birmingham. It was probably even more enjoyable for him as he got one over his former club, but it could have been so different. Despite Birmingham's sound defensive display and how much they were frustrating their opponents, it was Huddersfield who looked the more likely to grab a winner fresh off the back of their equaliser in the 85th minute. To say it was undeserved would be harsh on Birmingham, but Huddersfield will feel hard done.
Birmingham City: Etheridge, Sunjic, Dean, Roberts, Colin, Sanchez, Friend, San Jose, Gardner, Bela, Hogan
Subs: Preito, Pedersen, Jutkiewicz, Leko, McGree, Cogley, Clayton
Huddersfield Town: Hamer, Koroma, Schindler, Stearman, Pipa, Bacuna, Hogg, Eiting, Toffolo, Diakhaby, Campbell
Subs: O'Brien, Pritchard, Duhaney, Mbenza, Crichlow-Noble, Brown, Pereira