REPORT: TOWN 0-1 SHEFF WED
A second half Fernando Forestieri penalty condemned Huddersfield Town to their first home defeat of the season as visitors Sheffield Wednesday extended their impressive run of results at the John Smith’s Stadium on a mild Autumn afternoon in West Yorkshire.
David Wagner made two changes to his starting XI as Rajiv Van La Parra and Kasey Palmer replaced Dean Whitehead and Sean Scannell respectively, still maintaining the usual 4-2-3-1 formation.
The atmosphere was electric before the start of the game which unusually saw Town play towards the Fantastic Media Stand from the off; the pre match buzz was to be received well on the pitch as the opening
passages were frantic. Forestieri had his first go at the Town backline as he turned Mark Hudson before Kieran Lee fired wide early doors for the Owls. Daniel Pudil kept early pressure on the home side as his cross-come-shot evaded everyone, only to hit the top of the crossbar. Gary Hooper rounded off the early Owls chances by fluffing a chance from inside the six yard box, only to be denied by some tenacious
defensive work from Elias Kachunga.
Kachunga would then go on to see some action at the other end; Christopher Schindler threaded an inch-perfect ball through for Nahki Wells who subsequently found the German, but his effort was to be blocked by an on-rushing Sam Hutchinson six yards out.
Town began to settle, retaining possession and knocking the ball out with purpose. Wednesday had an organised set-up with chances for both sides few and far between. Aaron Mooy saw his cross easily collected by Westwood, before Kachunga and Wells linked up once again after a neat one-two on the edge of the box to win a corner. The resulting corner saw the ball drop to a waiting Aaron Mooy who saw his powerful strike fly straight over.
Wednesday were finding it hard to work their way up the pitch but kept solid at the back, with the Terriers’ next real chance falling the way of Kachunga again, whose effort was fumbled by the Irish stopper Westwood after positive play by Kasey Palmer.
Rajiv Van La Parra, who by this time had changed to the right hand side, attempted to cut in on his left foot but to no avail, his effort yet again sailing over the crossbar.
The opening of the second period saw the visitors’ best chance of the game so far. A long ball forward from the back was expertly brought down by the dangerous Forestieri whose dinked effort only managed to strike the post after beating a stricken Danny Ward.
‘The Yorkshire Club’ would come back strongly though; firstly Van La Parra’s effort went wide before a threatening cross from Tommy Smith was diverted away by visiting skipper Tom Lees. Chris Loewe’s free kick could only find the roof of the net, before Loewe was called into action at the other end to block Ross Wallace’s attempt at finding a team-mate close to the Town goal.
The resulting corner brought about the game’s defining moment; Van La Parra was adjudged to have handballed in the box which saw the referee point to the spot, albeit a few moments after the alleged incident. Ex-Watford man Forestieri made no mistake putting the Owls a goal to the good with just over twenty minutes remaining.
From then on Wednesday managed the game efficiently enough to nullify any Town response in search for the elusive equaliser. Substitute Jack Payne fired over and Elias Kachunga saw his goal-bound attempt cleared inches from the line, but David Wagner’s men could feel the home unbeaten record slipping ever further away as Wednesday’s resilience held firm.
Gary Hooper had an open net to double the visitor’s advantage late on but found a determined Tommy Smith in the way that diverted his headed effort wide for a corner.
An afternoon where Town had lots of possession but were frustrated by an organised Sheffield Wednesday who limited the Terriers to a scarce amount of chances with which none were taken.
Town line-up (4-2-3-1):
Danny Ward; Chris Löwe (Michael Hefele 83'), Christopher Schindler, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Aaron Mooy, Jonathan Hogg; Rajiv van La Parra, Kasey Palmer (Jack Payne 70’), Elias Kachunga; Nahki Wells
Joel Coleman, Dean Whitehead, Harry Bunn, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Martin Cranie,