Steve Mounie stunner snatches Huddersfield victory

Steve Mounie was Huddersfield’s hero as they came from behind to claim a fine 2-1 win and beat promotion-chasing Blackburn at home for the first time in 20 years.

The Benin striker grabbed a 71st-minute winner for the Terriers as they bravely fought back to end Rovers’ eight-game unbeaten league run at the John Smith’s Stadium.

It was Huddersfield’s first home league win since victory over Rovers back in August 1999.

Experienced striker Danny Graham headed the visitors into a seventh-minute lead with his second goal in four games.

But Slovenian centre-back Jon Stankovic equalised with a splendid diving header for his first goal since August 2018.

Mounie then took centre stage as he won it with a thunderous strike from distance to delight the home supporters.

Terriers boss Danny Cowley made two changes to his side, with the injured Jonathan Hogg replaced by Lewis O’Brien in the middle of the park, while full-back Florent Hadergjonaj dropped to the bench and Jaden Brown returned from an ankle injury.

And there were five changes for Rovers as manager Tony Mowbray shuffled his pack after Boxing Day’s 1-1 draw at home to Birmingham.

Injured midfielder Lewis Holtby and defenders Derrick Williams and Ryan Nyambe all missed out, while Adam Armstrong and Amari’i Bell dropped to the bench.

In came Joe Rothwell, Stewart Downing, Lewis Travis, Tosin Adarabioyo and Graham as Rovers looked to make it four unbeaten on the road.

The visitors started brightly and Huddersfield goalkeeper Kamil Grabara pulled off a fine point-blank save to deny Sam Gallagher an opening goal after only five minutes.

But the opener was just around the corner when, two minutes later, Travis picked out an unmarked Graham and the striker headed into the bottom-left corner beyond Grabara.

Midfielder O’Brien rifled well wide as the hosts looked for an immediate response, before leading scorer Karlan Grant struck the frame of the goal with a chipped crossed that almost resulted in an equaliser.

Moments later referee Andy Woolmer turned down calls for a penalty after Grant went down in the box after a lunging tackle from Darragh Lenihan.

However, an equaliser came when midfielder Juninho Bacuna fizzed in a dangerous free-kick and the onrushing Stankovic lost his marker to head into the left corner.

O’Brien had a powerful shot charged down in the box by John Buckley as the Yorkshire outfit pushed for a second goal, while at the other end Buckley had a shot of his own blocked by Terriers skipper Christopher Schindler, only just back on the pitch after a head injury.

Rovers goalkeeper Christian Walton thwarted Grant with a superb one-handed fingertip save just before the break.

Grant also had a shot deflected inches wide in first-half stoppage-time as the home side came within a whisker of talking a lead in with them at the interval.

There were no chances in the opening 20 minutes of the second half but eventually Grant went close, his deflected header from a Bacuna header flying agonisingly wide of the back post.

And the game lit up when Mounie lashed a stunning right-foot shot into the top-right corner from distance.

Grabara denied Adarabioyo late on with a fine block from close range, but Huddersfield could have scored themselves.

Grant was thwarted by Walton at his near post and substitute Fraizer Campbell dragged a left-foot shot beyond the far post.

Rovers had nine minutes of time added on to try and snatch an equaliser, but the hosts comfortably held out for three vital points in their battle to avoid relegation.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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