Huddersfield 0-2 Town
Tuesday, 8th Apr 2014 21:40
A stunning sixth-minute goal from Paul Anderson and Daryl Murphy’s 12th of the season just after the half hour saw Town to a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium. The Blues could have been several goals further in front at the break and saw out the second half comfortably.
Town boss Mick McCarthy made two changes from the side which lost 2-0 at Blackburn on Saturday with Paul Anderson and Stephen Hunt coming back in place of Anthony Wordsworth and Frank Nouble, who were on the bench.
The Blues were otherwise unchanged with the back four together for the 25th league game in succession. On-loan Manchester City winger Alex Henshall was on the bench for the first time with Paul Green left out of the 18 along with Jay Tabb and Paul Taylor, who also travelled.
Huddersfield keeper Alex Smithies was forced into a save in only the second minute, Daryl Murphy crossing from the left and Anderson diverting it to the Terriers’ skipper’s right but without the power to cause the former England U19 international a problem.
In the sixth minute the Blues probably should have gone in front when Hunt cleverly flicked on Murphy’s ball in from the right and found Williams in space. The on-loan Crystal Palace man took his time but hit his shot straight at Smithies.
However, moments later Town were ahead. The ball was cleared after Williams’s chance but returned to Anderson on the right just outside the area. The winger brought it inside before curling a superb left-foot strike beyond Smithies and into the corner of the net.
The Blues were well on top following Anderson’s fourth goal of the season and certainly the best, and Murphy should have done better when breaking down the right with several team-mates in the centre, but the opportunity was snuffed out.
Huddersfield’s Bermudian striker Nakhi Wells, who had a trial at Town back in 2010, struck the home side’s first effort of the game over the bar in the 12th minute after a cross from the right had been half-cleared to him on the edge of the box.
But aside from that opportunity it was all Town and they went close to adding to their lead again three minutes later when Cole Skuse picked out Williams’s run and the Wales international came inside and struck a shot just over from 25 yards.
Luke Chambers also almost made it 2-0 in the 18th minute following an Anderson corner on the left. The ball was eventually returned to the wideman whose cross was nodded down to the Blues’ skipper by Christophe Berra. Chambers hooked goalwards from eight yards and was unfortunate to see a diving Anthony Gerrard divert the ball over.
The visitors enjoyed a spell of pressure around the 20-minute mark but with Adam Clayton’s long distance effort which flew well over their best chance. On 25 Murphy broke quickly and cut the ball back from the right but with Williams not yet having arrived in the area.
Anderson should have scored his second of the game in the 31st minute when Williams stabbed him through one-on-one with Smithies from the edge of the box. The keeper came out quickly and blocked.
But two minutes later, the Blues did double their lead. Chambers failed to get his head to Anderson’s corner from the right, Town having been a threat from set pieces throughout. Huddersfield were unable to clear and Berra nodded the ball back in towards Murphy on the left of the area, sending the Irishman through to slip his 12th goal of the season past Smithies.
Town were by now rampant with the Huddersfield defence all over the place, particularly from set pieces.
Williams went close to making it 3-0 when the ball fell to him on the left after the home side had again been unable to clear the danger from a set play, this time following a Hunt freekick on the left. The loanee’s effort was claimed by Smithies at his near post.
Moments later, Chambers sent over a low cross from the right but just ahead of Anderson at the far post.
Huddersfield created a rare opportunity a minute before the break, Wells beating Aaron Cresswell and cutting the ball across to Danny Ward but he could only deflect the ball back out wide.
The end of the half was greeted with loud boos from the home support, whose side were lucky to be only two goals behind.
Town had created so many chances that they could easily have found themselves four or five up at half-time.
The Terriers’ backline was in disarray at times with Murphy and Williams causing them different but equally significant problems throughout and every set piece appearing likely to yield a goal.
Huddersfield switched Adam Hammill for Sean Scannell prior to the restart with Town starting the second half much as they ended the first. Anderson curled a 50th minute shot wide after Murphy had broken quickly, although the Irishman probably should have found Williams in space to his left.
As the game moved towards the hour mark the home side began to take the game to Town but without causing Dean Gerken any serious problems. Right on 60 Cresswell was replaced by Mings, the Blues’ left-back appearing to have picked up a groin niggle.
Town were largely happy to sit back on their lead but on 65 Hunt wasted an opportunity to get the ball into the danger area from a freekick on the left after Williams had been fouled by Gerrard, the Irish international’s flying beyond the far post.
Three minutes later Hunt was booked for an earlier foul as Huddersfield prepared to take a freekick after Mings had been harshly penalised for what looked a good tackle, then Smith blocked Wells’s shot on the turn inside the Town box.
On 72 Murphy escaped on the left and sent over a low ball which Anderson flicked goalwards, however, Smithies did well to get down to his right to save.
At the other end, Ward shot over from a tight angle following a freekick with the Terriers yet to get a shot on target. Soon after, Wordsworth replaced Hunt, then Huddersfield switched Ward for Harry Bunn to the biggest home cheers of the evening.
Gerken made his first serious save of the evening in the 79th minute when Oscar Gobern was played in on the right of the area. The Blues keeper came out and blocked the midfielder’s on-target shot with his toe, Wells nodding the rebound well over.
With five minutes remaining sub Scannell shot not far wide on the turn before the again hugely impressive Williams was replaced by Frazer Richardson. A minute later Gobern was booked for a foul on Mings.
Neither side threatened again before referee Mark Brown’s whistle confirmed Town’s first ever win at Huddersfield’s current home, their most recent victory on Terriers turf having come at Leeds Road in 1988.
The victory was never really in doubt once Anderson had brilliantly opened the scoring. The Blues could and probably should have added to their lead prior to Murphy’s 12th of the season, then had chances to increase their lead further before half-time. The second period was largely one of containment but the West Yorkshiremen never looked like getting back into the game.
With sixth-placed Reading losing 3-1 away against form club AFC Bournemouth, the Blues are back to where they were going into Saturday’s game at Blackburn, in eighth, two points from the play-offs but now level on points with Brighton and the Cherries, with only five games left to play.
Huddersfield: Smithies (c), Lynch, Gerrard, Smith, Dixon, Gobern, Clayton, Norwood (Holmes 57), Hammill (Scannell 46), Ward (Bunn 76), Wells. Unused: Bennett, Woods, Clarke, Hogg.
Town: Gerken, Chambers (c), Berra, Smith, Cresswell (Mings 60), Skuse, Hyam, Anderson, Hunt (Wordsworth 74), Williams (Richardson 85), Murphy. Unused: Loach, Henshall, Nouble, Ebanks-Blake. Referee: Mark Brown (East Yorkshire). Att: 11,857 (Town: 560).
Photo: Action Images
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