Huddersfield Town 1-0 Fulham
It had to happen on the most significant day in the club's history since our promotion from League One in 2012.
For those who didn't know, it was on the 5th November 2015 that Huddersfield Town announced the appointment of David Wagner from Borussia Dortmund II. Wagner was the given the role as head coach replacing Chris Powell who was dismissed days earlier. Powell's exit didn't go down well with many from the football establishment, citing racism as one of the reason which I think was pure rubbish.
Even for a “small club” like Huddersfield Town, playing a brand of football which, you can be proud of is essential/ Powell's pragmatism didn't sit well with the fans even he had his moments. Of course, there was a lot skepticism about Wagner's appointment, but I guess that the rest is history.
Fast forward three years later, Huddersfield Town are set to play the most important game of their season. On the same date that Wagner arrived, this was game was going to pretty much define our season.
For being the only club in the Football League yet to register a win, beating Fulham became something pivotal. This wasn't just going to be another game, this was THE game of the season so far.
The timing couldn't more perfect for me either. The kick off time at 4am, Malaysian time. I had a day off from work because today was a national holiday. It’s the auspicious Festival of Lights for all the Hindus. All I could hope, there was a shed of light for us at the end of the game.
In a must win game, I would have expected Wagner to opt for gung-ho approach against a side with the most horrendous defense in the league. Instead, he went for a 5-3-2 formation which didn't look to promising for me. But as the game progressed, I could see a transformation from the team playing in a 3-4-3 formation.
They were everything right on the field. Zanka, Schindler and Kongolo were commanding well at the back. Both Hadergjonaj and Löwe were playing with an extra lung on the flanks, covering both ends.
In midfield, Hogg, Mooy and Billing were winning the battle in every aspect. Winning the ball from every attempt by Fulham and pushing forward at the same time. Pritchard looked a bit off today though he had provided some creative moments.
If there is one disappointment, it is again the strikers being unable to make their mark in this game. I will admit that both Mounie and Depoitre were trying their best. Especially the latter whose industrious game-play gave more trouble to Cottagers defense.
Having said all that. this will be irrelevant if we are unable to take our chances. It’s depressing to think that we haven't scored at home for 659 minutes. The fans have been in full force and it would be unfair to them if we didn't have nothing to cheer.
It had to come from the man, whose penalty that took us to the promise land. A Schindler header that went in after Sergio Rico looked a bit frozen during that moment. Of course, it was later on been confirmed as an own goal from Fosu-Mensah. Nevertheless, we will take it.
Deep down I knew a one goal lead is equivalent to treading with fire. This Fulham side still have plenty of quality names that could change the game. It is strange to see that a side with Seri, Vietto, Mitrovic and Schürrle are struggling this bad. They didn't look like a team that spend £100m during the summer to help them stay up.
As the clock was ticking down, came a moment where my heart stopped for a second after Schürrle put the ball in for the equalizer. To my relief, it was given offside. The light was indeed shining on us in this game.
Another heart stopping moment took place when substitute Mbenza nearly made an immediate impact. Being put through on goal after a sublime pass from Billing, he could have sealed it for us. Instead he shot well wide much to the visiting team's reassurance.
Finally, as the referee blew the final whistle, I couldn't finally breath in sight relief that we have finally burst the egg. Our first three points was accomplished in the most conspicuous time of the season. Had we not achieved this, I must admit that it would have been high time to throw in the towel and say hello to the Championship next year.
Tonight, as a club we again reaffirmed that self-belief that made us a Premier League in the first place. It wasn't just about the players hard pressing and pummel display. The fans in the ground again have cemented their place as the most boisterous in the league.
Given the fact today was also Monday Night Football, we have also be spoken again just how momentous it is to have a great atmosphere in your home ground. I couldn't ask more of the club today.
Now we look forward to the game against West Ham. It doesn't worry me about their current form and all that stuff. We just need to rekindle that self-belief and philosophy that we brought today. The rest will just fall into place.