Substitute Rhys Healey was the Huddersfield hero as his stoppage-time goal was enough to secure a dramatic and potentially priceless 1-0 win against fellow strugglers Millwall.

Healey pounced to head home from close range after Millwall goalkeeper Matija Sarkic could only parry Matty Pearson’s effort into his path.

The three points lift the Terriers out of the Championship drop zone.

Millwall, meanwhile, are now just two points clear of the relegation places, and will still be looking over their shoulders after a fourth match without a win.

The Terriers almost struck inside two minutes at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Some excellent work from Sorba Thomas paved the way through for Delano Burgzorg, but the Dutchman’s firm strike was excellently saved by Sarkic.

There was a swift response from Millwall, however.

Billy Mitchell pounced on a loose ball before seeing his shot saved confidently by Lee Nicholls.

The Lions threatened again when George Honeyman rose well to meet Ryan Longman’s cross, only to then direct a header off-target.

There was plenty of enterprise and endeavour in what proved to be an entertaining opening spell, and that despite a swirling wind.

Huddersfield were next to go close when Thomas’ delivery was flicked wide at the near post by Bojan Radulovic.

With Millwall now pressing for an opener, Michael Obafemi almost struck when his acrobatic effort was deflected behind for a corner by midfielder Alex Matos.

Jake Cooper then ought to have registered for the visitors, but he planted a golden headed chance over the crossbar from close range.

As half-time approached the pendulum was beginning to swing back Huddersfield’s way.

Thomas’ 25-yard blockbuster was saved by Sarkic, while Josh Koroma also fired inches over the top with his effort from the edge of the box.

There was a frantic start to the second period.

After a Millwall attack at one end, the Terriers broke quickly.

Radulovic found space and pulled the ball back into the path of Koroma, but he could not find the target from a great position.

David Kasumu then missed another decent opportunity as he fired wide following a tidy one-two with the impressive Koroma.

Back came Neil Harris’ Millwall in this end-to-end clash, with Ryan Leonard lashing over the top when he ought to have done better with options around him.

As the 70-minute mark passed, both sides then appeared to run out of steam, with tired bodies and heavy legs clearly evident.

Huddersfield’s Polish defender Michal Helik threw himself at a cross from Brodie Spencer, but he was thwarted by a last-ditch block.

After that, Huddersfield sub Healey went close to notching a winner, before then pouncing to finally do the business in predatory style right at the death.

Huddersfield interim boss Jon Worthington insists his side’s “committed performance” earned the Terriers a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the John Smith’s Stadium.

The all-important moment came in the 38th minute when Jack Rudoni’s free-kick was beaten away by Anthony Patterson, only for Matty Pearson to bundle in the rebound to make it 1-0.

Huddersfield had chances to put the game to bed when Josh Koroma hit the near post from a free-kick before Rudoni’s glancing header was cleared off the line by Jobe Bellingham.

The Terriers were almost punished for those missed chances, but goalkeeper Lee Nicholls fantastically denied Trai Hume at the death before stopping Tom Lees’ from putting into his own net.

Worthington thought his side backed up a good performance in their 5-3 defeat to Southampton at the weekend with all three points.

He said: “Another game I really enjoyed – a committed performance from the lads. We had to go again from Saturday’s performance, in terms of the result, and I was happy with the desire the lads showed.

“I think it was a real squad effort to make sure we all dug in together to get over the line and the result.

“From the first minute we were on the front foot, wanting to run forward and support each other. ”

Pearson, operating at right-back instead of his usual position in central defence, scored his third goal of the season with the winner in the 38th minute.

It was his second goal in the last three games to help Huddersfield move five points away from the relegation zone.

And Worthington was quick to praise the all-round performance of the match-winner.

He added: “I know he will definitely run for me and do anything I ask of him. I was delighted for him today, that was an individual duel I was talking about.

“He puts his head and body in where others probably don’t and that’s a rarity when you’re brave like, and that brings you goals.”

Sunderland slipped to their seventh away league defeat of the season and missed the chance to climb back into the play-off places.

Boss Michael Beale thought his side wasted opportunities to claim points from the game and was unhappy to see his side lose from a set-piece.

He said: “To concede off a set-piece away from home is not good enough is it?

“It’s a pretty standard set-piece we’ve conceded from before half-time. We had our moments, but it’s a bad night.

“It’s a disappointing night. I thought Huddersfield made it a physical game and there was a point in the first half when we needed to roll our sleeves up and give a bit back, and I’m not sure we did that.

“On our best day we are slightly better than teams in this league, but I don’t think we are going to blow anyone away. We don’t score enough goals to blow teams away.”

Matty Pearson’s first-half goal pulled Huddersfield five points clear of the Championship relegation places with a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Huddersfield were 5-3 beaten by promotion-chasing Southampton at the weekend and their confidence in front of goal showed when Pearson put them in front eight minutes before the break.

The Terriers have not lost on their own patch this year and were good value for a second successive home win – they could have had more than the solitary goal but for the woodwork and a goal-line clearance – but needed goalkeeper Lee Nicholls’ heroics to secure three points.

Huddersfield’s first chance came when Sorba Thomas dispossessed Daniel Ballard on the last line of defence and Luke O’Nien’s challenge recycled the ball out to a waiting David Kasumu who sliced wide of the target.

O’Nien brought Kasumu down outside the area which presented Huddersfield with a good set-piece opportunity on the edge of the area.

Jack Rudoni’s vicious strike from the free-kick was palmed by Anthony Patterson into the path of Pearson who bundled home from close range.

Huddersfield held their breath on the stroke of half-time when a short corner was worked out to Dan Neil, who fired an effort on target which looked to be a routine save for Nicholls, only for it to slip through his grasp out for a corner.

Sunderland were making a habit of giving Huddersfield dangerous free-kicks, this time Trai Hume brought Koroma down and the Huddersfield striker picked himself up and curled the resulting free-kick onto the near post.

Sunderland went in search of an equaliser and their first effort on target of the half came when Jobe Bellingham drilled into the gloves of Nicholls.

Huddersfield came within the width of the goal-line of doubling their advantage when Rudoni’s glancing header was cleared by Bellingham before appeals for handball were swiftly waved away by referee Gavin Ward.

Michael Beale rolled the dice with his substitutions in search of a leveller and Patrick Roberts’ strike from outside the box looked to be heading in before it was deflected over the bar.

The visitors thought they had earned a last-gasp equaliser when Hume was put through on goal only to be denied by the outstretched Nicholls as he magnificently tipped behind.

Nicholls was once again the hero in the final minute of added time when O’Nien’s cross was diverted towards his own goal by Tom Lees but the Huddersfield keeper sprung well to tip over the bar and earn another vital home win.

Huddersfield manager Darren Moore praised the “massive team effort” as his side played out a 0-0 draw against Watford.

The Terriers had 11 squad regulars out through injury, but Sorba Thomas and Matty Pearson’s low strikes tested the gloves of Dan Bachmann, on an otherwise comfortable afternoon for the Hornet’s skipper at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Yaser Asprilla came closest for the visitors. Shortly into the second half, the Colombian international struck low and hard at goal, from a tight angle. A smart stop from Town’s Lee Nicholls tipped the ball around the post.

Jamal Lewis and Jeremy Ngakia both had promising shots blocked by the sturdy Town defence. This was the first draw in 17 meetings between the two sides.

After the rain-soaked game short of clear-cut opportunities, Moore said: “The main thing for me was the clean sheet today. We worked incredibly hard in getting that clean sheet and having that mentality.

“I know the goalkeeper and defenders will get the plaudits, but it was a massive team effort today to get the point.

“We had three solid sessions in training last week to implement our shape and really nullify Watford in the areas that we know they operate well in. The concentration levels were spot on today, as well as the drive from everybody. We showed a lot of desire to work for one another.

“What we saw in the last 24 hours. We lost two players in the immediate build-up to this game, so that’s why our bench was so sparse today. These were unforeseen circumstances that can happen in football, and we just have to get on with it.

“Credit to the players, the group adjusted really well and I’m really pleased for them, the way we worked collectively as a group.

“For the last 15 to 20 minutes it was the energy from the crowd that really spurred the boys on to show everything that they’ve got.”

Watford have now stretched their unbeaten run to five.

Head coach Valerien Ishmael said: “I told the players it’s nice to see we’re getting disappointed after not winning away. This shows real improvement from the team over the past few weeks.

“The game was difficult today. The game plan from Huddersfield was tough. I understand, they had many injured players and conceded eight goals in two games, the first task is to defend. And they did that well today.

“From our point of view, we were in complete control. We dominated the game and won our duels well. We defended set-pieces well.

“The problem today was our work in the final third. Our last passes, we needed to use the pitch better, and work the keeper more. We needed to believe in one-v-one situations and needed more quality in our crosses. It’s the first time we’ve faced a game plan like that, but it will help us improve in the future.

“Another clean sheet is a positive to take today. We want more of course, but five unbeaten now shows that we’re moving in the right direction.

“We need to learn from the game to find new solutions. We played too many square balls today so it would be nice if next time we can take a few more risks in the final third.”

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