No-nonsense northerners determined to put the London glamour-boys in their place; this was the sort of game from which Queen's Park Rangers, on their first visit for more than ten years, needed to take a point or three. Kevin Bond, standing in for Harry Redknapp on media duty, felt it should have been the latter, but despite having abundant possession and almost all the chances, a draw to follow last week's home victory over Sheffield Wednesday was all there was to take home.
The home side, living up to their nickname, were Terrier-like without giving Robert Green a shot to save and had an impressive performer in the midfielder Oscar Gobern, who held his own against those of more illustrious reputation. Among them, Joey Barton, excellent against Wednesday, found it hard to influence the game while out on the right in the first 70 minutes, before moving inside alongside his one-time sparring partner Karl Henry.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, one of five former England internationals in Rangers' squad of 18, came on at that point and had could have won the game right at the finish, only to be denied by a steadfast goalkeeper in Alex Smithies.
Huddersfield had led, for three minutes, with a goal from James Vaughan, the former Evertonian who scored 14 goals on loan from Norwich last season and has now joined on a permanent basis. But his fine header apart, he was quiet, and the whole team found it difficult to find a way past Clint Hill and Nedum Onuoha.
Rangers have been exchanging the exotic for the energetic; losing Loic Remy, Adel Taarabt, Park Ji-Sung and Chris Samba while gaining solid citizens like Karl Henry, Charlie Austin, Richard Dunne and Gary O'Neil. If paying up to £1m for the 31 year old Henry suggested not all financial lessons had been learnt, the current squad does look better suited to the realities of the Championship than last season's.
The home club's announcer had sounded quite in awe of revealing the list of visitors' substitutes, who included Dunne, O'Neil and former internationals Jermaine Jenas, Bobby Zamora and Wright-Phillips. He would have been concerned too as Rangers made the early openings, starting when the expensive signing Charlie Austin went to the byline and cut the ball back for Andy Johnson, whose shot required a brave block by Anthony Gerrard.
Martin Paterson's clever turn past a defender onto Adam Clayton's pass, the shot fizzing just past Green's far post, brought the home crowd to life. From an even first half-hour the game then came up with a goal to each side in the space of three minutes. Poor defensive work was the cause of Rangers falling behind in the 35th minute. Oliver Norwood was unmarked inside the penalty area when found by Adam Hammill, and from his cross the hitherto subdued Vaughan propelled a firm header past Green.
An equaliser was not long in materialising. Yun, the Korean left-back, received a fortunate rebound to lob a cross towards Hoilett, also not well marked and able to score with a gentle poke past the possibly unsighted Smithies.
Austin emerged for the second half with a bandaged head that almost restored the lead for the London side. He rose highest to Johnson's cross and Smithies was beaten, but was saved by the crossbar. With Rangers looking much the more likely to claim a late winning goal, Barton put Wright-Phillips in, to be foiled by Smithies, who then punched out his drive and blocked Nedum Onuha.
In a are break at the other end, the substitute, Londoner Sean Scannell, seemed to have forged a way fractionally in front of the defenders but could only manage a toe poke just the wrong side of the post.
“I’m made up with what we’ve done today,” said Huddersfield’s Mark Robins. The home crowd’s reaction suggested they were too.
Huddersfield 3-5-2: Smithies; Clarke, Gerrard,Lynch; Hamill, Norwood, Clayton, Gobern, Carroll; , Paterson,Vaughan.
QPR 4-4-2: Green; Simpson, Hill, Onuoha, Yun; Barton, Granero, Henry,Hoilett; Austin, Johnson.Reuse content