Loach penalty save helps Town earn a share of the spoils
Town were held to a 2-2 draw by Huddersfield, in an entertaining game at Portman Road.
Adam Clayton fired the visitors in front midway through the first-half, before goals from Luke Chambers and Michael Chopra saw Blues draw level.
James Vaughan then pounced to level the scores late on before then seeing a penalty kick superbly kept out by Town’s Scott Loach.
Paul Jewell handed debuts to two of his new signings, with Paul Taylor lining up on the right-hand side of midfield and Daryl Murphy occupying a role on the left.
Jack Ainsley also started for Town in place of injured skipper Carlos Edwards, with Chambers taking the armband.
The game started brightly with both sides having chances within the first five minutes. First Scott Loach had to be aware in the Town goal to keep out an Oliver Norwood free-kick, before Chopra dragged a shot just wide for Town at the other end, after initially pouncing on a defensive mistake.
The visitors were looking a threat on the attack and Joel Lynch flashed a header just wide after connecting with a Danny Ward cross from the left.
But the best chance of the half fell to Town after 14 minutes and Blues really should have opened the scoring. Good work from Lee Martin saw him drive into the box and pull the ball back to Murphy, but the Celtic loanee dragged his effort wide of the goal from ten yards out.
Taylor was looking lively on his Town debut and a good driving run from him almost saw him get a shot in but for a last ditch tackle from Peter Clarke, although the ball dropped for Andy Drury but the midfielder fired over the bar.
Vaughan, a loanee signing from Norwich, then headed over for Huddersfield after meeting a Paul Dixon cross ahead of Chambers.
Taylor then lifted the Town fans off their seats with an explosive run past three defenders before unleashing an effort that Smithies kept out well after 22 minutes.
However Town were nearly caught out two minutes later, as Clayton ghosted his way past Tommy Smith into the penalty area but could only fire into the side-netting.
But the visitors- and Clayton- were soon to make amends for that miss as the former Leeds man fired into the bottom corner after 35 minutes.
A corner from the right wasn’t cleared by Town and after a series of ‘ping-ball’ in the box, the ball fell to Clayton who shot low beyond Loach and into the corner.
Town did go close to drawing level just before the break though, with Chambers heading just over following a Drury corner.
Into the second-half and Town were the first to attack, with Aaron Cresswell letting fly from range and seeing his effort sail just over the bar with Smithies well beaten.
But Simon Grayson’s side responded well and Vaughan went close twice in quick succession for the visitors.
First the striker was denied by a great reaction save from Loach, before then firing over the bar from the edge of the box after turning Smith with an hour on the clock.
But two minutes later Town were back on level terms, with Chambers scoring his first goal of the season. A cross to the back post was headed across the six yard box by Murphy and Chambers was on hand to bundle the ball over from close range.
And it wasn’t long before Town were in front. A speculative ball forward from Drury caused havoc for the Huddersfield defence and Chopra was onto it like a flash before cooling lifting the ball over Smithies and into the back of the net after 72 minutes.
But eight minutes later the game was back to square one, as Vaughan leveled things up for the Terriers. An energetic run from Ward saw him go past Jack Ainsley before crossing across the six yard box for Vaughan who tapped home from a yard out.
The drama wasn’t finished there though, as a minute later Chopra was denied a second goal of the afternoon by the inside of the post, after reacting to Taylor’s scuffed shot.
However Huddersfield counter-attacked immediately and won a penalty after Jack Hunt was hauled down by the retreating Murphy. Vaughan stepped up to take the spot-kick himself but saw his shot expertly tipped onto the post and behind by Town stopper Loach.
The striker was then again denied by Loach in injury time after he broke away from Smith, before the referee called time on the game and both sides had to settle for a point.
Town: Loach, Ainsley, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Taylor (Scotland 90), Luongo, Drury, Martin, Chopra, Murphy. Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, N'Daw, Carson, Emmanuel-Thomas Hyam, Murray.
Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Clarke, Lynch (Woods 84), Dixon (Gerrard 68), Ward, Clayton, Norwood, Southern, Novak (Hammil 77), Vaughan. Subs not used: Bennett, Arfield, Lee, Spencer.
Att: 16, 843 (830 away fans)