Three goals in the final 20 minutes condemned the Terriers to a Play-Off Final defeat at the hands of Peterborough this afternoon.
The score line didn't do justice for Town's efforts who dominated the majority of the second-half before Rowe's opener. However, the Terriers never recovered from going behind and were quickly three goals down when Mackail-Smith and McCann both fired home.
Both teams started the game at an impressive pace, with Benik Afobe's pressing forcing Posh 'keeper Jones into a poor early clearance before Ian Bennett had to be alert to collect a looping cross from the left from Grant Basey.
An obvious early ploy from the Terriers was in midfield; Scott Arfield, restored to the line-up in favour of Jordan Rhodes, was closely matching Peterborough playmaker Grant McCann.
The Posh then created the first real chance of the game in the 5th minute when a flick from Tomlin set the dangerous Craig Mackail-Smith clear on goal. The striker raced towards Ian Bennett's goal, but just as he looked to slide the ball past the 'keeper Antony Kay managed to get a vital toe to the ball and deflect it against the outside of the post.
Peterborough were finding a little too much space in midfield in the early stages and the dangerous George Boyd was the next player to try his luck, but his dipping 25 yard drive was easily collected by Bennett.
Town were harassing their opponents hard out of possession, but Peterborough had started the game well and it took a typically brilliant block from skipper Peter Clarke to deny Boyd another clear shot at goal inside the 8th minute.
Good play from Afobe and a deflected cross from right back Jack Hunt gave Gary Roberts a chance to send in his first corner three minutes later, and a defender had to block Lee Peltier's back-post header wide. Peltier got his head to the second set piece too, but under heavy pressure from a defender he could only loop an effort over the crossbar.
'Robbo' went over on his ankle soon after but was ok to continue after treatment from physio Dave Buckby.
A strong challenge between Peltier and Boyd ended with the Posh midfielder on the floor on the quarter hour mark. The Peterborough bench seemed to suggest that Peltier was in the wrong, but the referee awarded the free-kick to Town - and Terry McDermott in particular defended the challenge from the dugout.
Left back Basey covered his centre backs well to clear a dangerous Roberts cross as play continued before a long throw from Kevin Kilbane caused havoc in the Peterborough penalty area. The ball found its way to the back post courtesy of a deflection and Danny Ward intelligently nodded across goal; Peter Clarke headed the ball goalwards, but the custodian managed to claim it beneath his crossbar.
The wind was on the backs of the Peterborough players in the first half, which allowed them to cause the Terriers a few issues with some well-judged long passes.
Roberts was causing issues down the left and one of his crosses looked to be falling perfectly for Danny Ward to volley towards goal in the 28th minute, but Afobe took the ball off his toe ten yards from goal and the chance was gone.
BOOKING - Posh winger Lee Tomlin was shown the first yellow card of the game for a poor challenge on Jack Hunt down the right touchline a minute later.
Roberts then played the overlapping Scott Arfield in down the left, but the Scotsman's left-footed cross drifted too long for Ward - its intended target - and ran out for a throw in.
Gary Naysmith survived a penalty shout against him as the half hour mark passed when midfielder James Wesolowski went over in the box, but from a resulting Posh corner Town broke through the influential Roberts. Unfortunately for the men in blue and white stripes, he looked to pass to Jack Hunt on the right when Danny Ward was streaming down the left flank unmarked.
BOOKING - Lee Peltier was rightly shown a yellow card in the 34th minute for a strong and mistimed challenge on Wesolowski on the edge of the opposition's box.
Another fantastic tackle on Mackail-Smith from Antony Kay prevented the Posh from taking the lead in the 39th minute.
BOOKING - In the build-up Jack Hunt fouled Tomlin, and he was booked by the referee when the ball went dead.
The lively Roberts stung the palms of Jones with a minute of the half remaining after Lee Peltier had been tripped by Boyd on the edge of the area; the set-piece specialist stepped up and bent a curling shot towards the far post, where the 'keeper pushed the ball around the post with one strong hand.
Benik Afobe had a late first half chance from the resulting corner; Roberts' near post delivery was left by Kilbane before Kay nudged the ball into the six yard box, but on the turn the young Arsenal loanee could only power his shot wide of the 'keeper's left-hand post.
Late in first half added time Hunt's attempted clearance took a fortunate deflection off Boyd and the ball ran into the path of Mackail-Smith in the area, but uncharacteristically he spurned the opportunity - prodding the ball wide of the post from 12 yards.
HALF-TIME: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 0 PETERBOROUGH UNITED 0
Town kicked off in the second half, but Peter Clarke had to be on hand early doors to block a vicious looking drive from Boyd on the edge of the box.
Grant McCann then sent a free-kick narrowly over Bennett's crossbar from a similar position that he scored against MK Dons in the second leg of Peterborough's Play-Off semi-final second leg.
Town attacked well in the 53rd minute, taking full advantage of a throw-in won deep in the Peterborough half down the right. Peltier laid the ball back to Hunt and his excellent deep cross looked to be falling to Roberts and Afobe at the back post, but Jones managed to claw the ball away.
Barely a minute later Afobe found Ward in space on the edge of the Posh box with a low pass, but the Bolton loanee scuffed his shot miles wide of goal. Still, it was enough to further encourage the Town fans behind that goal.
Another deep cross from the right - this time from Peltier - found Roberts at the back post, but his volley back across goal was expertly headed to safety by impressive centre back Ryan Bennett.
Ward then showed incredible pace to fly past left back Basey down the Town right before cutting onto his favoured left foot on the dead ball line, but unluckily for him his powerful shot from the narrowest of angles struck the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten before bouncing to safety.
Hunt's excellent cross was inches away from falling on Afobe's head as the Terriers continued to make the running.
SUB - Peterborough made their first substitution in the 64th minute, with Charlie Lee replacing Basey at left back. Basey looked injured, favouring his right hamstring as he left the field of play.
BOOKING - Substitute Lee was immediately booked for a high-footed challenge on Peltier!
The 'keeper fisted away another dangerous Roberts corner as the final 20 minutes approached before the winger hit the wall with a 30 yard free-kick.
Roberts was involved again soon after, nicking the ball off Bennett and dribbling towards goal; he looked for a square pass to set Afobe into the area, but over-hit the effort and the chance was gone.
BOOKING - Antony Kay was booked by the referee in the 75th minute for a scything challenge on Mackail-Smith as he ran towards goal. The Posh fans wanted a red, but Peter Clarke was clearly covering had Mackail-Smith broke through.
GOAL - Peterborough then took the lead in the 78th minute through midfielder Tommy Rowe. Posh were awarded a free-kick on the left edge of the Town box when Boyd was felled and when McCann expertly whipped in the ball, Rowe got in front of his man to nod an unstoppable header past the stricken Bennett.
SUB - Danny Cadamarteri was introduced to the game immediately by Lee Clark - he replaced Danny Ward.
GOAL - Posh made it two with ten minutes to go when Craig Mackail-Smith netted from the left edge of the penalty area. The ball was pulled back to him from the by-line by Boyd, with the side-footed effort taking massive deflection off the heel of Antony Kay to leave Ian Bennett stranded in the Town goal as the ball rolled agonisingly into the corner of the goal.
SUBS - Town made their final throw of the dice with a double sub - Alan Lee and Jordan Rhodes replacing Scott Arfield and Benik Afobe.
SUB - Peterborough made their second change in the 84th minute, with goalscorer Rowe replaced by Chris Whelpdale.
GOAL - Peterborough made it three in the 85th minute when their Captain Grant McCann netted a superb free-kick from just under 25 yards out. Peter Clarke was adjudged to have fouled Mackail-Smith outside the area, allowing the midfielder to step up and bend the ball past Bennett's left side.
SUB - Lee Tomlin was replaced by David Ball in injury time.
FULL TIME - TOWN 0 POSH 3
Town's Team (4-3-3):
Ian Bennett; Gary Naysmith, Peter Clarke (c), Antony Kay, Jack Hunt; Kevin Kilbane, Lee Peltier, Scott Arfield (Alan Lee 81); Gary Roberts, Benik Afobe (Jordan Rhodes 81), Danny Ward (Danny Cadamarteri 79)
Unused Subs: Nick Colgan, Joey Gudjonsson, Jamie McCombe, Lee Novak
Town Bookings: Lee Peltier (34), Jack Hunt (39), Antony Kay (75)
Peterborough Bookings: Lee Tomlin (29), Charlie Lee (65)