Woods goal in vain at the Goldsands
Calum Woods’ first goal in Town colours wasn’t enough to earn the Terriers a share of the points against Bournemouth.
The full-back fired fiercely past Lee Camp to level matters midway through the second half, but Town failed to either hang on or push on, and it was Tokelo Rantie who delivered the killer touch to earn the home side three points.
Lewis Grabban had earlier given his side the lead from the penalty spot after Tommy Smith was adjudged to have fouled Marc Pugh.
James Vaughan’s troublesome knee meant that he joined Adam Hammill on the absentee list; both players stayed at home ahead of the West Yorkshire Derby on Saturday.
Nahki Wells’ return after being cup-tied on the weekend was timely and he partnered Danny Ward upfront. Elsewhere, Oscar Gobern continued in midfield with Jonathan Hogg still struggling with a hip injury, whilst Calum Woods made his first start since October in place of Hammill.
The conditions in Bournemouth made it a night not to be a goalkeeper, but that wasn’t deterring Alex Smithies, who made a string of fine saves to keep Bournemouth at bay during the opening stages.
A fifth minute double save to firstly deny Elliot Ward and then Harry Artur from the rebound kicked things off before Town’s Academy graduate was at full stretch to keep out Matt Ritchie’s low drive. All three of the efforts came from Town failing to deal with the Cherries’ corners, a theme which ran throughout the first half.
Town weren’t without a threat of their own though, and with Wells and Ward upfront they looked dangerous on the counter.
Wells shot at Lee Camp in the second minute and later spurned a difficult chance when he showed good pace to get behind the Bournemouth defence. Ward also saw a glancing header flash wide, while Paul Dixon had Camp scrambling with a low effort.
The home team finished the half on top though, and forged a good opening down the now boggy right flank, which resulted in Simon Francis firing low at Smithies, with Tommy Smith making the eventual clearance.
Bournemouth’s Marc Pugh barely touched the ball during the first 45, but within ten minutes of the restart had been involved three times, the final of which resulted in the awarding of a penalty for the Cherries.
Pugh shot either side of Camp’s goal before getting ahead of Smith in the area and winning a penalty for his side; Lewis Grabban stood up and despatched past Smithies expertly.
The Cherries’ momentum lasted less than five minutes before Town clawed themselves level, from the unlikeliest of sources.
Calum Woods hadn’t featured in Town’s last seven matches, but showed no signs of rustiness as he smashed the ball home after a neat one two with Wells to open his account for the Terriers.
The advantage was now in Town’s favour, who saw Wells volley a shot at Camp as they looked for a second.
It lasted just a matter of minutes though, and unlike Town, Bournemouth were clinical.
Eunan O’Kane was given too much room in the centre of midfield and found the run of substitute Tokelo Rantie with a neat through ball who finished past Smithies via the far post.
Wells forced Camp into a number of saves and Jon Stead headed over as Town went in search of an equaliser, but the best chance fell to Ward who failed to hit the target with a volley at the far post.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies (c); Murray Wallace, Anthony Gerrard, Tommy Smith; Paul Dixon, Oscar Gobern (Keith Southern, 61), Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood (Sean Scannell, 77), Calum Woods (Jon Stead, 79); Nahki Wells, Danny Ward
Ian Bennett, Peter Clarke, Duane Holmes, Joe Lolley
Bookings Bournemouth: Tokelo Rantie 73,
Bookings Town: Tommy Smith 54, Keith Southern 63