Wells (2) and Scannell score
- Nahki Wells nets two in the pre-season defeat at Rochdale
- Poor first-half performance costs the Terriers
- Sean Scannell nets Town's other goal
A poor first-half display from the Terriers resulted in a defeat at League 1 Rochdale in the latest friendly ahead of the 2015/16 campaign this afternoon.
Town conceded four goals in the opening 45 minutes thanks to a performance that told there is still work to do ahead of the Sky Bet Championship opener at Hull City on 8 August, despite some good individual attacking performances at the other end, with Nahki Wells grabbing a brace to add to Sean Scannell’s strike.
Things improved in the second period as Town finally got the upper hand on possession after Rochdale’s impressive opening 45 minutes, but Chris Powell will know his side cannot afford to give the opposition a head start the likes that Rochdale got on the day.
Powell deployed his side in the same 4-2-3-1 formation that was employed in the midweek friendly at Grimsby Town, with Tommy Smith at left back in the continued absence of Jason Davidson through paternity leave and Joe Lolley operating centrally behind striker Nahki Wells.
Rochdale had plenty of the ball in the opening stages and took the lead as early as the seventh minute. Afforded too much time down the Town right, Tom Kennedy whipped a good cross into the box for tall striker Calvin Andrew – who had stolen half a yard on Joel Lynch – to plant a good header past the diving Alex Smithies.
Two minutes later the Terriers’ first decent passage of play saw Jacob Butterfield slide Harry Bunn into the left channel, but when Sean Scannell met his low cross he could only prod it tamely into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Josh Lillis.
Butterfield had the ball in the net barely a minute later after collecting a reverse pass from Lolley inside the area, but he was well offside in doing so.
Instead, the League 1 side made it 2-0 just before the quarter hour mark. Smith popped out of the left back slot to approach the man in possession and Andrew cleverly knocked a pass into the vacated space for impressive midfielder Callum Camps to run onto and cross low into the area, where summer signing Lewis Alessandra gleefully swept home.
Town got on the scoresheet in the 23rd minute through more good play from Player of the Year Butterfield. He robbed Michael Rose of possession and dribbled at the back four before sliding Bunn in on goal, where home Captain Joe Rafferty brought him down right on the edge of the box. Up stepped Nahki Wells to comprehensively curl the free-kick into the top corner to reduce the arrears.
Calvin Andrew worked Smithies with another shot soon after before Camps scored a stunner to restore Rochdale’s two goal lead. The young midfielder showed a willingness to make third man runs all afternoon and when he drifted past poor attempts at challenges from Lolley and Butterfield, he took aim before drilling a spectacular effort past Smithies’ right side from 25 yards out.
Barely a minute later, Town scored again. It was Butterfield once again who slipped a ball down the left for Wells and the Bermudian’s deep cross was perfect for Scannell to run onto and fire past Lillis into the top corner.
As impressive a strike Rochdale’s third goal was, the home side’s fourth was a very poor one to concede. Andrew’s run down the Town left was picked out and he crossed into the box, where Dean Whitehead’s attempted clearance struck Mark Hudson and fell perfectly into Camps’ path; he made no mistake in sliding the ball under Smithies from close range to make it 4-2 at the break.
The amazing rate of goals showed no signs of slowing up when the second-half started as Wells grabbed his second for the Terriers just three minutes after the restart. After Lynch dispossessed Alessandra, a ball into the left channel released Nahki into space; he entered the edge of the penalty area, cut the ball back onto his favoured right foot and fired the ball low between Lillis and the near post.
Town’s performance was improved after the poor first 45 minutes and they enjoyed most of the second-half possession. Next it was Lolley who burst past two into the area in typical fashion, only to send his clip over the goalkeeper inches wide of goal – just as was the case at Grimsby on Tuesday night.
Nahki Wells’ impressive afternoon continued when he span neatly past a defender just over 20 yards out and sent a powerful drive straight at Lillis.
However, the striker should have probably netted a third on the hour mark. Scannell found Lolley on the right and his early cross was perfectly into the path of the unmarked forward, but rather than try to head home he opted to chest the ball down and the ball was nicked away.
A couple of poor challenges crept into the game in the latter stages – first Joel Lynch launched into a tackle on Kisimba Kisimba and then Rochdale sub Nyal Bell clattered into Alex Smithies as he headed a through ball clear.
Kyle Dempsey was lively again on his late appearance as a substitute and he created the best chance of the latter stages with 10 minutes left. His slide-rule pass for Wells was perfect and Lillis did excellently to tip his shot against the post before the covering Kisimba’s outstretched leg stopped Jordy Hiwula from converting the rebound.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Alex Smithies; Tommy Smith, Joel Lynch (Murray Wallace, 71), Mark Hudson (c), Martin Cranie; Jacob Butterfield, Dean Whitehead (Jonathan Hogg, 80); Harry Bunn (Jordy Hiwula, 67), Joe Lolley (Kyle Dempsey, 73), Sean Scannell; Nahki Wells (Adam Hammill, 83)
Lloyd Allinson, William Boyle