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Wagner hails team’s battling spirit

David Wagner hailed his side's battling qualities as Michael Hefele's late goal salvaged a draw against Aston Villa and extended Huddersfield Town's unbeaten start to their Sky Bet Championship season.

Wagner, the Huddersfield coach, said the result was “more important” than the win his side managed at Newcastle United on Saturday.

“In four days we have had two special moments,” Wagner said.

“For me personally, this was more exciting than Newcastle and maybe more important as well. To confirm your performance after playing well the previous game is difficult.”

Wagner made several changes to the side that beat Newcastle, with Nahki Wells back on the bench for the start of the game at Villa Park.

Wells, who scored his team's opener on Saturday came on early in the second half as replacement for Jack Payne, the midfielder as Huddersfield pushed for an equaliser after Ross McCormack's 25th minute strike gave the home side the lead.

However, Hefele's bizarre late equaliser denied Villa a second straight win and maintained Huddersfield's fine start to the league season.

Hefele chased down Pierluigi Gollini's clearance and the ball bounced off his back straight into the empty Villa net.

The hosts had been on course to win after McCormack headed in his first Villa goal after his £12m move from Fulham. Rudy Gestede had chances to extend the lead, before Wells struck the post as Huddersfield rallied late on.

When McCormack headed in Jack Grealish's skimmed cross before half-time, Villa were good value for their lead on a emotional night for the club following the death of former player Dalian Atkinson.

Ashley Westwood had fired over from a corner early on, after Jordan Ayew's decent effort was saved.

Gestede should have made it 2-0, but Huddersfield more than matched the hosts after the break and Elias Kachunga almost scored from an overhead kick, before a combination of Hefele's persistence and hesitant Villa defending saw the German level in unusual circumstances.

“We totally deserved this point, because the players were brave and aggressive and we trusted in ourselves,” Wagner said.

The result left Huddersfield level on points with leaders Brighton and Hove Albion, Norwich are third, three points ahead of Villa.

Meanwhile, Bermudian striker Rai Simons came on as a second-half injury-time substitute for Ched Evans in Chesterfield's 2-0 win over Walsall, the club of another Bermudian, Milan Butterfield. Evans scored the two goals in the 75th and 79th minutes.

Reggie Lambe's new club, Carlisle, drew 1-1 with Cheltenham in League Two, with Lambe replaced in the 58th minute, a minute after Cheltenham took the lead. However, Carlisle earned a valuable point after equalising through Jason Kennedy in the 89th minute.

Quiet night: Wells came on as a second-half substitute (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 17, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 17, 2016 at 1:55 am)

Wagner hails team’s battling spirit

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