REPORT: Peterborough United 1, Huddersfield Town 1: Returning hero salvages a welcome point for Posh with a late equaliser
The striker, appearing for just the second time since a four-game tweeting ban, netted his first goal from open play of the season with a close range header from a Harrison Burrows cross six minutes from time and just under 10 minutes after Danny Ward had volleyed the visitors in front from a corner.
It was perhaps fitting that in his 500th game as Posh manager Darren Ferguson outperformed his opposite number in the final stages.
Ferguson had made positive substitutions and a change of formation 10 minutes into the second half to try and make something happen in a tepid encounter.
Huddersfield boss Carlos Corberan went ultra cautious after his side took the lead and that helped Posh create pressure. His team also settled for the point after Clarke-Harris struck, not the attitude that will help keep this limited side in the play-off places.
Ferguson resisted the temptation to shove Clarke-Harris into the starting line-up, but did recall Joe Ward in place of Idris Kanu at right wing-back in the only change from the Swansea surrender at the weekend.
Posh didn’t concede in the opening stages and rarely looked like letting one in the entire first-half despite the probing runs of Huddersfield midfielder Duane Holmes.
Holmes came closest to scoring when he rattled the crossbar from 20 yards after being allowed to run unchallenged through the Posh midfield. Ward volleyed home the rebound, but was flagged offside.
Huddersfield concentrated their attacks on the Posh left and found space easy to come by. An accurate cross proved far more difficult.
Posh didn’t pass the ball well enough or with any tempo to cause the visitors any problems, but they should have taken the lead just before the break.
A free kick awarded for the latest assault on Siriki Dembele was delivered low by Burrows and after a couple of kind ricochets the ball fell to Jack Taylor 10 yards from goal. If you could pick a Posh player to have a shooting chance from that distance Taylor would be near the top of the list, but his first strike was blocked and his second hit straight at ‘keeper Lee Nicholls.
The only other Posh shot on target of the half arrived early as Dembele’s overhead kick dribbled into Nicholls’ arms rather tamely after passes from Sammie Szmodics and Joe Ward.
The visitors forced Posh ‘keeper Dai Cornell into action for the first time early in the second-half with Ward stinging his hands following a Burrows error. Holmes then headed a tough chance after Beevers had lost possession.
But Ferguson’s changes changed the flow of the game. Posh suddenly had a physical presence and plenty of attacking players in support. Burrows looked much happier in a forward role and Szmodics’ hassled defenders with some success.
It was a risk or reward switch as Huddersfield created a couple of half chances by freeing wing-back Harry Toffolo on the outside of Thompson.
Posh had moments on the edge of the Huddersfield area, but it looked like it would come to nought when Ward struck. The Terriers score a lot of set-piece goals and one header won by Levi Colwill was enough to find Ward in space.
Coberan immediately hauled off Holmes thus reducing their attacking options considerably.
And Posh are proud of their home record at this level and they deserved their equaliser. Burrows was now playing as an advanced left-back with the need to chase an equaliser and his cross was perfect as was the header from Clarke-Harris.
Posh were the only side to press for a winner and when the ball fell invitingly to Taylor on the edge of the area in the final minute the home crowd held their breath in anticipation.
Sadly he struck the bouncing ball wide, but his team were still applauded off the pitch by the home faithful.
They had after all just drawn with the team in fifth.
Posh: Dai Cornell, Harrison Burrows, Mark Beevers (sub Kwame Poku, 82 mins), Ronnie Edwards, Nathan Thompson, Joe Ward (sub Dan Butler, 55 mins), Jack Taylor, Oliver Norburn, Jorge Grant (sub Jonson Clarke-Harris, 55 mins), Sammie Szmodics, Siriki Dembele.
Unused subs: Will Blackmore, Frankie Kent, Conor Coventry, Idris Kanu.
Huddersfield: Lee Nicholls, Sorba Thomas, Matty Pearson, Tom Lees, Levi Colwill, Harry Toffolo, Jonathon Hogg (sub Scott High, 46 mins), Lewis O’Brien, Daniel Sinani (sub Josh Koroma, 70 mins), Danny Ward, Duane Holmes (sub Ollie Turton, 76 mins).
Unused subs: Nicholas Bilokapic, Josh Ruffels, Ollie Turton, Fraizer Campbell, Naby Sarr.
Posh - Clarke-Harris (84 mins).
Huddersfield - Ward (75 mins).
Posh - Norburn (foul), Thompson (foul), Taylor (foul).
Huddersfield - Thomas (foul), Toffolo (foul), O’Brien (foul).
Referee: Keith Stroud 6
Attendance: 7,982 (813 Huddersfield)