THIS SEASON has not been kind to Nahki Wells.
Not only has the striker had to endure a frustrating spell on the bench in recent weeks but he has also been out of luck in front of goal, as was underlined in the weekend draw at Ipswich Town when a last-gasp clearance denied him what would have been a morale-boosting strike.
How timely, therefore, Kyle McFadzean’s blunder last night proved for not only Wells but also the Terriers.
With proceedings still to spark into life despite almost an hour having been played, the former Sheffield United trainee was in no danger at all when he inexplicably passed the ball straight to Wells.
The Town man still had much to do, but the former Bradford City striker was not going to pass up the chance and a fierce shot proved too much for David Martin.
Wells had his first goal since August 22 and only the third of a frustrating season.
Town, meanwhile, had the platform to push on in the final half hour and claim a deserved victory with Jamie Paterson clinching all three points with a stoppage-time strike.
Coming on the back of a first clean sheet of the season at Portman Road three days earlier, another shut-out – the club’s first at the John Smith’s Stadium in 13 games, a run that stretched back to February – meant all but the 243 MK Dons fans in a 11,471 crowd went home happy.
Not that those same supporters could exactly claim to have been royally entertained. Instead, for almost an hour, the brightest thing on show was the visitors’ luminous yellow shirts.
Both teams had sufficient possession to make an impact, the Dons, in particular, seeing plenty of the ball. But a stray pass here and a wrong decision there meant most promising moves broke down long before either goal came under serious threat.
Amid the mediocre fare of those opening 59 minutes, there was the odd flash of quality such as when Ishmael Miller collected the ball following a lusty Dean Whitehead challenge and tore forward before hitting a low shot that David Martin did well to turn round a post.
Sean Scannell also showed a great turn of speed inside the opening 60 seconds to race past Dean Lewington only to fire over a cross that was just too high for Miller.
Milton Keynes’ best opening came on 11 minutes when Jordan Spence’s pass was diverted into the path of Nicky Maynard.
The former Bristol City striker looked up, saw Jed Steer slightly off his line only to slightly under-hit the chip and the Town goalkeeper collected comfortably.
Those few attempts apart, there was precious little to keep the crowd entertained on a cold night and the half-time whistle came as a blessed relief.
The opening exchanges of the second half were not much of an improvement and as the game approached the hour mark it badly needed a spark from somewhere.
Fortunately for the Terriers, McFadzean did the honours with his woeful attempted pass that simply played Wells through on goal and a fine finish did the rest.
Suddenly, Town were up and running. A wonderful turn on halfway by Wells left Antony Kay trailing before a neat pass released Miller only for the striker to fire way wide of the target.
Miller, whose tireless running played a key part in the victory, tried to make amends on 69 minutes with a run and drilled cross that just evaded Wells in the centre.
MK Dons were struggling to contain the hosts by this stage and Martin had to get down smartly at his near post to keep out Scannell’s shot.
The visitors’ frustration led to a brief melee that had been sparked by Jake Forster-Caskey knocking Joel Lynch to the ground in an incident that the officials clearly cannot have seen due to both players subsequently receiving a yellow card from referee Peter Bankes.
Town refused to be knocked off course, however, and the slightest of touches from Martin denied Paterson what would have been a tap-in from Scannell’s cross.
The Nottingham Forest loanee, though, would not be denied a first goal in Huddersfield colours as he sealed the points with a deft finish after a lovely pass from debutant Flo Bojaj.
Huddersfield Town: Steer; Cranie, Hudson, Lynch, Davidson; Scannell (Smith 90), Whitehead, Huws, Bunn; Wells (Paterson 76), Miller (Bojaj 90). Unused substitutes: Murphy,Holmes, Billing, Boyle.
MK Dons: Martin; Spence, McFadzean, Kay, Lewington; Carruthers (Reeves 59), Poyet, Forster-Caskey; Baker (Powell 64), Murphy, Maynard (Church 75). Unused substitutes: Burns, Hodson, Hall, Gallagher.
Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).