QUALITY goals from Miguel Llera and Nile Ranger saw Sheffield Wednesday bolster their hopes of automatic promotion from League One and all but end disappointing Huddersfield’s chances.
A marvellous 25-yard left-footed free-kick from centre half Llera put the Owls ahead on 54 minutes before on-loan Newcastle striker Ranger showed his Premier League class, applying a clinical finish from a ruthless counter-attack in the 72nd.
It means Wednesday – whose prolific run since Dave Jones took over continues - replace Sheffield United in the top two putting pressure on their city rivals who face Bournemouth at Bramall Lane this afternoon.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, could be eight points adrift of those automatic places by the end of today’s action and now seem destined for a play-off berth.
They can have few complaints today having created little during a typically frenetic derby affair in front of a seasn best crowd of 18,646.
Wednesday had hit the bar inside two minutes when Gary Madine’s header was flicked onto the bar by Terriers keeper Alex Smithies and Llera posted his warning of what was to come with a wickedly curling free-kick that just missed the Huddersfield post with Smithies rooted.
Town had a couple of chances through the dangerous Danny Ward but 36-goal Jordan Rhodes was well contained and did not have a chance until the 82nd minute when his tame header was easily dealt with.
By that point, Llera and threatening striker Ranger had put Owls in control - with Michail Antonio missing a glaring opportunity in between - as their greater pace and directness up front caused Huddersfield too many problems.
Wednesday manager Dave Jones said: “All we can do is keep winning, keep believing and keep doing our jobs.
“We were excellent all over the pitch today. I take just as much satisfaction had that been a team we had beaten at the bottom of the league as the top.
“It’s all about the three points at this stage of the season.”
Huddersfield Town boss Simon Grayson said: “I am hugely disappointed that we have lost a game at this crucial time of the season and against a team in and around us.
“I didn’t think there was much in the game, I thought they started better than us but we were the dominant side by the end of the first half.
“We gave away a soft free-kick which their lad finished very well.
“But we need to learn how to respond to certain situations in a game; we had plenty of time to get an equaliser but we tried to do it straight away and they almost capitalised.
“Our hopes of automatic promotion have been dented but we still believe we can do it with five games to go.”
Huddersfield: Smithies; T Clarke, P Clarke, Morrison, Woods; Novak (Roberts 66), Arismendi, Kay (Arfield 66), Ward; Rhodes, Lee (Cadamarteri 85).
Sheff Weds: Bywater; Buxton, Batth, Llera, R Johnson (Beevers 17); Antonio (Sedgwick 95), Lines, Semedo, J Johnson (Treacy 85); Madine, Ranger.
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