Perhaps the linesman who overruled Lee Mason’s decision to award a penalty to the visitors decided that this artless, clunking encounter didn’t deserve the gloss of a winning goal, and he would have had a point.
Neither side really troubled either keeper in 90 minutes of grunting, soul sapping dirge – even when Lössl was called in to action, an offside flag made it redundant – and the lack of quality on show was stark.
As ever, Town were competent until in sight of goal but woefully inadequate thereafter. Largely nullifying Cardiff’s more direct style for much of the game, though Hadergjonaj had to make a last gasp challenge in the first half to prevent Morrison’s head down being converted by Hoilett, the visitors dominated possession but simply could not find the right pass, that elusive moment of quality or applied ruthlessness to capitalise.
Up top, Mounié performed manfully but his efforts were not reciprocated by team mates who failed to provide him with a single good opportunity despite working decent positions out wide in both halves. When three consecutive corners pick out the same first defender, sympathy for the Terriers’ miserable scoring record disappears.
The closest Town came to a goal was when Puncheon – who had a decent league debut – fed Kachunga in the area, only for the German to be closed down as he shot. Puncheon himself had an early shot which flew narrowly wide but these were rare moments in a game which barely elevated above dismal.
While the first half managed to hold some interest for both sets of fans, the second descended in to largely unwatchable attrition. Town were slightly the better of the two teams on the ball but decent periods of pressure simply failed to produce any opportunities.
With 15 minutes to go in a game Town simply had to win to reduce the chasm which eight successive league defeats has opened, a raking pass by Billing found Hadergjonaj raiding down the right. Tussling with Bennett, the Swiss was brought down and after a moment of consideration, Lee Mason pointed to the spot for Town’s first penalty of the season.
Encouraged by several Cardiff players to seek a second opinion from his linesman, the decision was overturned for reasons unknown. At least we were spared the ignominy of someone missing it.
A win would have been undeserved and, in any case, would have made little difference to the inevitability of relegation but the complete absence of good fortune continues to plague the season, piling on the agony and deflating what vestiges of confidence remain.
A point at Cardiff on the back of a good December would have been more than acceptable, but that disastrous month sealed our demise. With no solutions to our desperate scoring record anywhere in sight, the next few months promise to be bleak to say the least.