West Bromwich Albion scored twice in the last six minutes to snatch a draw with automatic Championship promotion hopefuls Huddersfield Town.
The Terriers looked on course for a comfortable win after two goals from top scorer Danny Ward, the first of them a nightmare for Albion keeper Sam Johnstone.
But Albion dramatically turned it round with their first two goals in four home games.
First they got a lifeline from Karlan Grant’s fortuitous 84th-minute penalty and, just a minute later, Semi Ajayi crossed for Andy Carroll to head in a dramatic Baggies equaliser.
Huddersfield’s 17th straight league game without defeat lifted them back up to second in the Championship table. But Bournemouth, who have four games in hand, only have to avoid defeat at home by strugglers Derby on Saturday, to go back above them.
Albion are now seven points outside the play-offs – and, depending on Saturday’s results, may be even further behind going into next Tuesday night’s home clash with runaway leaders Fulham. But it looked for most of the evening as if Albion had gifted victory to Carlos Corberan’s Terriers.
After going close in the fourth minute when visiting keeper Lee Nicholls parried Alex Mowatt’s fierce left-foot volley, Albion then handed Town their 24th-minute opener.
Johnstone was way too casual in dealing with a backpass from Kyle Bartley and his attempted clearance cannoned into the advancing Ward as he closed down and flew straight into the back of the net.
The Albion keeper then might have done better when, just after substitute Carroll’s introduction, Ward scored Huddersfield’s second with a low finish which looked to have secured victory.
That looked to be that, but the comeback began when Sorba Thomas was penalised as he attempted to clear on the edge of the box with a raised boot, although contact with Mowatt appeared to be minimal.
Grant stuck away the penalty then, almost straight from the restart in Albion’s next attack, Carroll got on the end of Ajayi’s looping cross and his pinpoint header bounced into the corner of the net.
Even then Grant came close to winning it for Albion when he hit the crossbar, before Carroll came to the rescue at the other end with a brave headed goal-line clearance from fellow sub Tino Anjurin.
West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Bruce told BBC Radio WM:
“When you’re two down at home with five minutes left you’re grateful to get a point. But we’re actually a little bit disappointed as we gifted them two goals. Sam made a mistake but it’s how he reacts that matters. I’m sure he’ll have a sleepless night, but I’m sure he’s made mistakes before and I’m sure he’ll get over it.
“We started well, then made that mistake and you could feel the atmosphere change. We gave them the second goal as well. But it’s how you respond to mistakes that counts. And we showed a bit of spirit and fight. We didn’t give it up, which we did against Swansea. And, in the end, it turned into one of those crazy nights you get in the Championship.
“Andy Carroll took his chance well, as he does, but I didn’t expect it to be Semi Ajayi crossing the ball in for him. That gives us a bit of hope going into next week against Fulham. We certainly can’t be giving the best side in the division a two-goal lead, that’s for sure.”
Huddersfield head coach Carlos Corberan:
“It was very obvious we were better than them during 80 minutes, but the penalty changed the emotion of the game. We could have avoided it.
“From my view from the bench I did not see a penalty. Sorba touched the ball, but it’s not easy for the referee. But that’s why people love football, because these things happen.
“We had defended very well in the previous 80 minutes. But the penalty changed the game and the fact they scored fast could have cost us all the points, but we could even have got all three.”
- 5BartleySubstituted forDianganaat 84′minutes
- 16ClarkeBooked at 72mins
- 2FurlongSubstituted forCarrollat 69′minutes
- 29Gardner-HickmanBooked at 70mins
- 3TownsendBooked at 25mins
- 24SinaniSubstituted forColwillat 78′minutes
- 6HoggBooked at 90mins
- 16ThomasBooked at 82minsSubstituted forAnjorinat 90′minutes
- 25WardSubstituted forRhodesat 90′minutes
Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Huddersfield Town 2.
Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Huddersfield Town 2.
Attempt saved. Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Harry Toffolo with a cross.
Foul by Jordan Rhodes (Huddersfield Town).
Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Matty Pearson (Huddersfield Town) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Lewis O’Brien with a cross.
Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Andy Carroll.
Attempt blocked. Faustino Anjorin (Huddersfield Town) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked. Assisted by Levi Colwill.
Attempt blocked. Tom Lees (Huddersfield Town) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Faustino Anjorin with a cross.
Corner, Huddersfield Town. Conceded by Sam Johnstone.
Attempt missed. Jonathan Russell (Huddersfield Town) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Levi Colwill with a cross following a set piece situation.
Faustino Anjorin (Huddersfield Town) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Grady Diangana (West Bromwich Albion).
Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Jonathan Hogg (Huddersfield Town).
Callum Robinson (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Jordan Rhodes replaces Danny Ward.
Substitution, Huddersfield Town. Faustino Anjorin replaces Sorba Thomas.
Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Callum Robinson with a through ball.
Attempt blocked. Andy Carroll (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Callum Robinson.