Nahki Wells and his Huddersfield Town team-mates were denied a golden opportunity to close the gap on second placed Newcastle United in the Sky Bet Championship yesterday after being held to a 1-1 draw away to Derby County, whose promotion play-off hopes were dashed with the result.
The visitors went into the match knowing that victory would enable them to move to within five points of Newcastle United following the Magpies’ 3-1 away loss to Ipswich Town earlier in the day.
And they were well on course leading 1-0 through Collin Quaner’s ninth minute strike until Jacob Butterfield equalised for the hosts in the 88th minute with a right-footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner.
Wells, who came on as a 67th minute substitute, dragged a shot wide deep in stoppage time after being played through by Aaron Mooy.
The Bermuda striker suffered a nasty knock shortly after coming off the bench which caused a two minute game delay.
The result sent Championship leaders Brighton back up to the Premier League for the first time in 34 years and left Huddersfield seven points behind Newcastle.
Brighton can clinch the Championship with victory away to Norwich City on Friday.
Fourth placed Huddersfield have a game in hand over all of the teams above them and mathematically can still secure the remaining automatic promotion spot.
Huddersfield made a dream start when German striker Quaner, one of four changes manager David Wagner made to his squad from the previous match against Preston North End, scored his second goal in as many matches with the faintest of touches to Martin Cranie’s cross.
The hosts had the ball in the back of the net shortly after, but Darren Bent’s effort was ruled offside.
Derby enjoyed swathes of possession throughout but were forced to wait until late when former Huddersfield player Butterfield struck with a long range effort that took a deflection and put a dent in the visitors’ ambitions of reaching the top two.
Huddersfield are at home to sixth placed Fulham in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.
n Rai Simons’ Chesterfield were relegated to the Sky Bet League Two after losing 3-1 away to promotion hopefuls Scunthorpe yesterday.
Bermuda international Simons started but was substituted in the 34th minute after picking up an injury.
The home opened the scoring in the 21st minute via Paul McGinn’s own goal.
Ivan Toney doubled Scunthorpe’s lead with a header eight minutes before the break.
Toney bagged his second and his team’s third in the 73rd minute before Tom Anderson headed in Chesterfield’s consolation goal in stoppage time.