Huddersfield 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1: Forestieri is spot on to inflict defeat on Terriers

Sheffield Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri celebrates after scoring alongside Liam Palmer.
Sheffield Wednesday's Fernando Forestieri celebrates after scoring alongside Liam Palmer.
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HE definitely heard the drums, did Fernando...

After being very publicly urged by Carlos Carvalhal to come to the party after a quiet start to the season with Sheffield Wednesday, the mercurial forward finally hit the right notes at a venue where he invariably takes centre stage.

For the second season running, Huddersfield Town were left to lament a match-winning contribution from the lad from Rosario and the boos that Forestieri received from Town supporters when he was substituted late on will have sounded as sweet as any Latino music.

After his winner in last season’s fixture at the John Smith’s Stadium, the Owls talisman provided an encore, along with one sublime piece of skill which was worth the admission fee alone.

That came four minutes into the second half following a wondrous first touch to control Adam Reach’s punt forward, which was followed by the most delicate of dinked shots that struck Danny Ward’s left-hand post.

It was just under 20 minutes later that Forestieri was completely on the money, with a coolly-taken penalty which sent Ward the wrong way to extend Wednesday’s unbeaten run at Town to six matches.

All told, it was Forestieri’s fourth successive goal in four separate visits to Huddersfield, having previously netted in victories for former club Watford in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

And you can bet your bottom dollar that fastidious Carvalhal will have known fully about Forestieri’s history in the West Yorkshire town before delivering his pre-match message of cajolement to the striker.

On his memorable afternoon, Forestieri, hailed as the best player in the Championship after the match by team-mate Sam Hutchinson, said: “It was amazing. We have more confidence and maybe we have found a team. I am so happy for the players.

“I was unlucky before the penalty when I hit the post in the one-on-one with the keeper and I took my second chance.

“It was more important that we won more than anything else.”

While Wednesday – well-drilled across the park with Forestieri at the hub of their threat on the counter-attack – were left to savour their most noteworthy road win for some time, Town were provided with food for thought on home soil for the first occasion for a good while too.

Watched on by a record league attendance at the John Smith’s Stadium, which was packed out with expectant home supporters, the hosts had their moments, particularly in the first half.

But Town ran out of ideas and faded on the restart and Wednesday took the initiative, with their highly competent away day rounded off by Forestieri’s winner after Rajiv van La Parra was penalised for handling Tom Lees’s shot on 68 minutes.

It represented a bit of a lesson in the final analysis for Town, but probably a useful one as defender Chris Schindler sagely observed.

He said: “The performance was alright. You can lose, but it is about the way you lose.

“We know we can do better, but I feel we can learn from this defeat as well.

“Sometimes, a defeat is also valuable for teams to learn from.

“We had some opportunities in the first half. But in the second half, it was more difficult and they played quite smart.”

The events illustrated that teams who take on Huddersfield are now clearly paying them their dues and see David Wagner’s side as a bona fide scalp to take, given their stellar start to the campaign which had seen them win all five Championship games at home, heading into Sunday lunch-time.

Carvalhal spoke of his respect for Wagner and Huddersfield’s early-season feats ahead of the game, with those sentiments reciprocated from the Town head coach regarding Wednesday, who he felt would represent the biggest threat yet to his side’s 100 per home record.

Wagner’s feeling undoubtedly proved a shrewd one.

With the mutual appreciation society evident between both coaches, it was perhaps no surprise that a tight first half ensued with both sides having done their homework on each other.

Wednesday, who were without Steven Fletcher, made a quickfire start with Chris Lowe blocking a shot from Kieran Lee in the nick of time and David Jones clipping the crossbar with an early cross following a spell of pressure from the visitors.

Town gradually asserted themselves and finished the half well with the fit-again Kieren Westwood forced to make two smart saves to keep the scoreline goalless at the break.

First, he gathered Kachunga’s deflected shot at the second attempt and then make a smart full-stretch save to parry Kasey Palmer’s low strike, which was destined for the far corner.

Generally, the margins between both sides was minimal, but it was Wednesday who upped it on the resumption.

Forestieri’s moment of exquisite early skill lit up proceedings before the deadlock was finally broken following Van La Parra’s handball indiscretion and Town could have few arguments with the decision.

Their response lacked true conviction, although Daniel Pudil had to be alert to divert substitute Jack Payne’s near-post shot and Gary Hooper was well stationed to clear Kachunga’s effort.

But the closest both sides came to a second goal came from an unlikely source in Liam Palmer, who bore down on goal only to see his shot blocked by Ward.

It was Wednesday’s day and Town could not have too many complaints.