REPORT: TOWN 3-0 NORWICH CITYThree goals in a frantic seven minute period mid-way through the second half ensured Huddersfield Town returned to winning ways after a thoroughly convincing win at the expense of Norwich City.
Contributions from Elias Kachunga, Aaron Mooy and Nahki Wells wrapped up what was a superbly confident performance in a match which so desperately needed a positive response following Saturday's disappointment against Burton; completing a first league double over the Canaries for the time since the 1967/68 season.
Four changes were made by David Wagner for Wednesday evening's televised encounter; there was a welcome return for Jonathan Hogg, who anchored the centre of the park with the returning Philip Billing. Elias Kachunga and Nahki Wells earned re-calls to the starting 11, with Aaron Mooy pushing forward into the number 10 role in place of Jack Payne; a role that Aaron similarly took up during his time with Melbourne City.
18,706 lined the John Smith’s Stadium terraces for the visit of a side who had only won on a single occasion in their last eight outings; Scotland international Steven Naismith did his utmost to reach a short Michael Hefele backpass within the opening passages, with Danny Ward luckily being agile enough to avert any possible chance of a visiting opener.
From then on, 'The Yorkshire Club' would begin to assert some sort of control upon the fixture; Philip Billing the first Terrier to go about setting the ball rolling by thundering an effort off the upright following Tommy Smith's adventures down the right-flank.
A rejuvenated Wells had also took to the field determined to make amends for a shut-out against the Brewers; the Bermudian showed a lightening turn of pace to breach a static Norwich back-line, but the resulting cross failed to find a target in the relevant coloured strip.
Waves of positivity looked to have swept through the whole of the Huddersfield changing room; Rajiv van La Parra the next player to display qualities of flair and silky style by breezing past two markers into the area; however, Rajiv's hard work only ended in a corner for the Blue and Whites, which wasn't taken advantage of.
Caretaker boss Alan Irvine and his Canaries side wasn’t keen on coming quietly; Cameron Jerome attempted to use his physicality to get the better of the Huddersfield defence, only to find a stubborn rock in the shape of fan favourite Hefele crucially in his way before any shot on goal could be mustered.
Unlike the previous game, chances came and went instead of being at a premium; Elias Kachunga saw a cushioned header palmed away by a scrambling McGovern following Billing's inventive centre, before another cross - this time by an energetic over-lapping Chris Loewe - sailed just over the head of a buoyed Wells, ending in Kachunga yet again being foiled only this time by a failure to adjust his feet to control the delivery whilst in space.
The bombardment of McGovern's net seemed to have no let-up; built upon a foundation of solidity at the back stretching throughout the midfield, shots would continue to rain down on the visiting Northern Irish international shot stopper.
Aaron Mooy let fly from the edge of the box after being sought out by Tommy Smith's surge inside, before a hungry Kachunga saw a powerful low effort thwarted after a crisp assist from a positively relaxed Billing.
The half would fizzle out into a close and cagey stalemate, with neither side wanting to go in at the break a goal down; the only chance to go ahead shortly before the break very nearly fell the way of Norwich. Christopher Schindler had to adapt well to a risky Jonathan Hogg back-pass despite being under pressure from Yanic Wildschut - who in turn has already notched a goal this season on Town's home turf in the colours of Wigan Athletic.
Many would've expected the home side to push on and seize full control of a match which had all the hallmarks of a season-recognisable positive display; but not a large majority would have correctly predicted how a valuable three points would be achieved.
In truth, the floodgates could well have opened just minutes in to the second 45; Aaron Mooy's perfectly timed and weighted through ball found a lurking Nahki Wells who sprung the offside trap. However, Michael McGovern got down well to thwart the Bermudian, who's wait for a first goal in nine attempts had to wait just that little while longer.
Being a side that contains a large proportion of players who have competed at the highest level, a response from the Norfolk outfit was more than inevitable. In fact, the Skipper Russell Martin and co managed to grasp somewhat of a hold of the proceedings with a flurry of chances.
Yanic Wildschut began the spell of visiting pressure by blasting over following a direct surge to the edge of the Town box, before Cameron Jerome bundled home only to be denied by a foul on a recovering Chris Schindler after Alex Pritchard worked some space on the Norwich right.
Pritchard switched from provider to shot-taker himself seconds later; Danny Ward more than equal to the attacking midfielder's advances.
Any feelings of anxiousness were quashed in devastating fashion by a rampant Elias Kachunga; the German more than switched on the afterburners to excel past a hesitant Ryan Bennett in the Norwich defence before sweeping home in clinical fashion.
Kache's perseverance to score his first goal since the victory at Rotherham back on Valentine’s Day set the tone for a mind-blowing seven minute spell.
Many hadn't even taken to their seats following the first goal when Aaron Mooy side-footed home after some exceptionally intricate passing. A clever pass into the feet of Wells by van La Parra was met with a cheeky back-heeled flick to an advancing Aaron Mooy; the Australian tucked home past a helpless McGovern to double Town's lead and continue to the dazzle the John Smith’s Stadium faithful with a mesmerising performance of skill, flair, passion and an outright determination to arrest the partial slide in form.
If that wasn't enough, both the terraces and the thousands watching live on Sky Sports were treated to another magnificent, flowing Huddersfield Town move resulting in a third goal.
Rajiv van La Parra's range of passing had been worthy of praise for the majority of the opening 70 minutes; the Dutchman linked up yet again with Wells, with this time a slotted through ball being despatched by an evidently confident Wells; albeit McGovern admittedly being able to do slightly better with the effort, nonetheless a powerful accurate attempt by Nahki to more than seal maximum points.
The Terriers' third goal saw Bermudian Wells become just a goal away from booking a place in Huddersfield Town folklore, as the strike placed him on 49 goals for the Football Club, the same as former legends Frank Worthington, Duncan Shearer and Dave Cowling.
The same player came very close to booking that place shortly after the final Town netting; Mooy found the striker in a dangerous position around the box, ending in McGovern's post being heavily rattled from a typically ferocious Nahki thunderbolt.
Professional application of game-management summed up the Town performance to ensure that the two defeats suffered previously were well and truly eradicated from the memory, as Town got back on track in convincing style.
TOWN'S LINE-UP (4-2-3-1):
Danny Ward; Chris Loewe (Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, 82'), Christopher Schindler, Michael Hefele (Mark Hudson, 89'), Tommy Smith (c); Jonathan Hogg (Joe Lolley, 80'), Philip Billing; Rajiv van La Parra, Aaron Mooy, Elias Kachunga; Nahki Wells
Joel Coleman, Martin Cranie, Jack Payne, Collin Quaner
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