TOWN 1 WOLVES 4
Town succumbed to the Club’s first defeat against Wolves since 1997 in the Sky Bet Championship this evening.
Nouha Dicko scored a brace, with former Town loanee Benik Afobe and a Conor Coady own goal providing the visitors’ other goals; James Vaughan grabbing Huddersfield’s solitary reply.
Manager Chris Powell opted to switch to a 4-4-2 formation for the game, with Ishmael Miller making his full debut in place of the suspended Nahki Wells alongside Vaughan up front.
And it was Vaughan who produced the first attempt on goal after just two minutes – sending a low drive just wide of Tomasz Kuszczak’s left-hand post. Sean Scannell – on his 100th League appearance for the Club - was next to threaten with a menacing run at the heart of the Wolves defence; but his goal bound effort was well blocked.
Then, against the run of the play, the visitors took the lead thanks to Dicko. Rajiv van La Parra found space on the right hand side before playing a neat through ball in to the former Wigan striker who calmly slotted the ball beneath the advancing Alex Smithies.
Kenny Jackett’s side then took control of the game, with Dicko, Afobe and Bakary Sako causing problems in particular to the Town back line. Afobe then drew a foul from Harry Bunn which resulted in the winger receiving the first yellow card of the match on his 50th League appearance for the Terriers.
The returning Tommy Smith was next to go in to referee David Webb’s book when he brought down Dicko as the away side looked to break in a dangerous looking two-on-two situation.
As the first-half drew to a close Town started to create some goal scoring opportunities of their own. Bunn was the first to test Kuszczak after being released by Miller and then just before the break Scannell produced a fine stop from the former Manchester United ‘keeper after his crashing drive was tipped wide following a sweeping move.
Wolves came racing out the blocks at the start of the second-half and established a two-goal cushion before most of the crowd had even returned to their seats. Sako’s dangerous near-post corner could only be diverted in to his own net by the unfortunate Coady.
Huddersfield nearly replied immediately – with Kuszczak having to be at his best to tip a rasping long range effort from Butterfield over his cross-bar. Danny Batth then made an outstanding last ditch tackle to deny Bunn as he slalomed his way through the visitors’ penalty area.
Former Town striker Afobe then established Wolves’ lead even further to cap off a free flowing move. The ball was worked to van La Parra who shifted the ball on to his left and Afobe was there to tap home the rebound as Smithies could only parry.
Vaughan then replied moments later to give Town some hope of a comeback. The ever dangerous Scannell produced a clever cut back, and Vaughan caressed the ball in to the corner with a neat finish.
The goal lifted the Town faithful, but Wolves defended resolutely to quash any hope of a late fight back. Wolves Captain Batth and Richard Stearman were notably impressive dealing well with everything Town tried to throw at them.
Joe Lolley came on for Bunn as Huddersfield looked to breach the Wolves back line, but it was to no avail and in the closing moments the outstanding Dicko was released by strike partner Afobe, and he rounded Smithies before slotting the ball in to an empty net.
The defeat comes as a set-back for Town following Saturday’s 3-1 win against Millwall, and they will look to bounce back when they visit promotion hopefuls Bournemouth on Saturday.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Jack Robinson, Murray Wallace (David Edgar, 87), Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Harry Bunn (Joe Lolley, 68), Jacob Butterfield, Conor Coady, Sean Scannell; James Vaughan, Ishmael Miller
Lloyd Allinson, Duane Holmes, Oscar Gobern, Joe Wright, Radoslaw Majewski
Harry Bunn (15); Tommy Smith (28); Jacob Butterfield (78)