Wells scores in pre-season defeat
Nahki Wells netted as Huddersfield Town suffered a 3-1 pre-season defeat at the hands of League 1 Oldham Athletic.
The Bermudian’s well taken second-half goal gave Town hope in the clash before Jonson Clarke-Harris’ spectacular strike ended the contest.
Mark Robins’ men had two excellent openings inside the opening half hour, but on both occasions failed to capitalise. Whereas the home side were clinical, with James Dayton netting their first opening and Liam Kelly scoring from close range after Alex Smithies had saved Clarke-Harris’ penalty.
Town never really troubled Paul Rachubka in the Oldham goal and will need to improve ahead of their final friendly against Newcastle United on Tuesday.
In the continued absence of James Vaughan, Sean Scannell retained his place upfront alongside Nahki Wells. The former Crystal Palace man had a bright opening and used his strength to good effect in the sixth minute when he bullied his way past Timothee Dieng, but his chip towards goal was off target.
The Terriers’ midfield duo of Oliver Norwood and Adam Clayton used the ball well against a five man Oldham midfield as Mark Robins’ men controlled the flow of the game during the opening exchanges. With 21 minutes on the clock, Scannell drove to the by-line and found Norwood with a cut-back whose goal bound effort was superbly deflected wide by former Burnley man Joseph Mills.
Clayton joined Scannell and Norwood in the action a minute later when he played a neat one two with the former Manchester United youngster and then released Scannell into the clear. Ex-Town ‘keeper Paul Rachubka came out to meet Scannell and he did enough to make the striker hit wide when he should really have done better.
At this point in the affair Oldham were struggling, but Scannell’s miss sparked Lee Johnson’s men into the life and they ended the half on top.
However, it wasn’t until the 35th minute that they forged their first opening. Right-back Brian Wilson got in down’s Town left and his low cross found James Dayton in acres of space to smash home past Alex Smithies from 18 yards.
One turned into two in the 37th minute, despite the best efforts of Smithies. Referee Tierney awarded the home side a penalty after Captain Lee Peltier had fouled Jonson Clarke-Harris. The striker saw his penalty saved by Smithies, but Liam Kelly was first on the scene to bundle the ball home.
Danny Ward and Tommy Smith replaced Sean Scannell and Matt Crooks during the interval and the latter had a hand in the first opportunity. Smith’s challenge at a corner saw the ball fall to Wells, but the Bermudian couldn’t keep his volley down from seven yards.
Wells, who had netted just once in pre-season ahead of the match, was always on the shoulder of the last Oldham defender and he reacted sharply to Clayton’s chipped pass on the hour mark, but couldn’t get any purchase on his header.
The striker’s luck eventually turned in the 69th minute when he earned the Terriers’ a lifeline. Dixon’s pace took him past Wilson down the left wing and his neat cut back found the unmarked Radoslaw Majewski. The on-loan Nottingham Forest man fed Wells who fired home low past Rachubka with his left foot.
It took just four minutes for Oldham to silence the 450 travelling Terriers – and they did it in some style. Striker Clarke Harris picked the ball up 25 yards out and smashed home over Smithies and into the far corner of his goal to return the Latics’ two goal cushion.
Robins used his full quota of substitutes apart from ‘keeper Joe Murphy and despite the likes of Duane Holmes and Joe Lolley entering the fray, Town never looked like replying.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch (Murray Wallace, 81), Lee Peltier (c), Matt Crooks (Tommy Smith, 46); Paul Dixon (Jake Carroll, 81), Oliver Norwood, Adam Clayton (Duane Holmes, 81), Radoslaw Majewski (Jordan Sinnott, 70) Adam Hammill (Joe Lolley, 64); Sean Scannell (Danny Ward, 46), Nahki Wells