REPORT: TOWN 3-1 READING
Second-half goals from Nahki Wells, Jamie Paterson and Flo Bojaj ensured a comfortable 3-1 victory for Huddersfield Town over Reading at the John Smith’s Stadium tonight.
The Terriers turned on the style as Wells grabbed his 15th goal of the season, before Paterson and Bojaj made sure of the victory, with the latter getting his first ever professional goal.
Ola John found the net in injury-time to notch a late consolation, but that’s all it would be for the Royals who couldn’t stop Town’s delightful football in the second period.
Head Coach David Wagner made no changes to the side that were defeated by Derby County at the iPro Stadium last week.
Meanwhile, Sean Scannell was named on the bench after missing 11 games with a knee injury and there was a first appearance in the First Team’s match day squad for Regan Booty, who has impressed in Frankie Bunn’s Under-21s, with Karim Matmour falling ill earlier in the day.
Town began more purposefully than their Berkshire opposition and had first half-chance after five minutes from a corner. Joe Lolley whipped one in and Captain Mark Hudson sneaked towards the near-post, but couldn’t get a clean enough contact on the ball to test goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi.
But it didn’t go totally the way of the hosts in the opening stages. Yann Kermorgant has been a frequent nemesis to the Terriers before, having scored on three of his previous starts against Town, and the experienced target man had the ball in the net after pouncing from close range - only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for offside, much to the relief of the majority inside the John Smith’s Stadium.
As the half progressed, the game was mirroring the still, mild weather conditions as it struggled to really get going, despite Town supporters creating a lively atmosphere in the Chadwick Lawrence Stand.
However, on-the-pitch matters came to life when Nahki Wells had the first golden sighter to give his side the advantage. His willing run saw him latch onto the ball from Kyle Dempsey and race past Michael Hector. He took his time and struck the ball left-footed towards goal from inside the 18 yard-box, but Al-Habsi denied the Bermudian with his legs.
Wagner’s side were playing their typical attractive football in the midfield, but finding the killer touch was in the attacking third was the only factor missing. Jamie Paterson was looking energetic behind Wells
With the first half nearing its conclusion, the Royals began to impose themselves a little more, without getting beyond the stubborn Mark Hudson and Martin Cranie at the back.
But Town had one of the best chances of the 45 minutes moments before the whistle, when the ever-threatening Paterson slid in Wells who tried to caress it in with his left foot, but Al-Habsi was his foe once again as he dived to his left to deny.
On 51 minutes, the Terriers took a deserved lead. Wells chased the ball down ambitiously and got his reward when left back Andrew Taylor played his back-pass short; the striker nipped in to grab his fourth goal in five appearances against Reading.
Brian McDermott’s outfit went down the other end and came close to getting the leveler though when Jake Cooper lept highest to meet a corner, but his header dropped well past of the post.
As Reading came out of their defensive shell and tried to probe, Huddersfield’s quick counter-attack would frequently have them backtracking with wingers Harry Bunn and Lolley both pulling wide when the ball found itself central.
McDermott introduced Ola John to proceedings from the bench in a bid to spring his attack into life, while Wagner brought on Scannell to pin the Royals back; and he did just that, to help double Huddersfield’s lead.
After 11 games out with a knee injury, Scannell's first run led to the game's second goal. He collected the ball, put his head down and menacingly ran towards the opposition’s defence before curling a beautiful floored cross perfectly on to the run of Paterson to score in his fourth game against Reading this season.
Scannell’s presence back into the side was upping Town’s urgency, buoying the supporters as the players were finally being rewarded for their dominance, unlike against Ipswich Town in the previous home game.
But Reading weren’t going out with a whimper, and they came close to halving the deficit when Garath McCleary nodded a left-wing cross to Simon Cox, but the former West Bromwich Albion forward’s attempted bicycle-kick was well blocked by Kyle Dempsey tracking back.
McCleary and John out wide for the visitors weren’t having the success that their counterparts Lolley and Scannell were having on the flanks, as Husband and Tommy Smith were regularly alive to harry them back.
Town’s next chance came from that route, when Reading’s wide attack was relieved and the Terriers broke with speed; Dempsey threaded Wells through who fired it fiercely on target but Al-Habsi stood up to this particular test.
And Huddersfield got the third with three minutes left on the clock. Neat approach play from Paterson and the impressive Dean Whitehead saw substitute Flo Bojaj get fed from about six yards out and the youngster made no mistake, stroking home at the far post to ensure jubilant scenes in the ground.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; James Husband (Jason Davidson 89’), Martin Cranie, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Kyle Dempsey, Dean Whitehead; Joe Lolley, Jamie Paterson, Harry Bunn (Sean Scannell 59’); Nahki Wells (Flo Bojaj 81’)
Lloyd Allinson, Ishmael Miller, Duane Holmes, Regan Booty