Alarm bells ring for Huddersfield Town after worrying display

TEPID Huddersfield Town endured a rotten resumption as they barely laid a glove on a Wigan Athletic side who dispelled any worries that their momentum had been checked following football's shutdown in mid-March with a comfortable 2-0 win at a deserted and eerie John Smith's Stadium.

Huddersfield Town forward Karlan Grant on the attack against Wigan. PICTURE: TONY JOHNSON.

In fine fettle back in early Spring following a six-match unbeaten streak, the Latics displayed the poise and conviction on show and it was Huddersfield who were left to mull over a low-key afternoon and performance.

Subdued in their previous outing in their West Yorkshire derby at Leeds, Town produced another insipid performance almost three and a months on with a 26th minute opener from Jamal Lowe and an own goal from Lewis O'Brien, who diverted a shot from ex-Terriers winger Anthony Pilkington past Jonas Lossl early in the second half sending Town to defeat on a dismal day.

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For those Huddersfield supporters who tuned in, it would have been all a bit of a worry - and the league table will not do too much to console them.

In contrast to their powerhouse showing against another struggling rival in Charlton in their previous home match at the end of February, Town were decidedly flat in comparison.

Aside from a brief flurry around the half-hour mark, Danny Cowley's side find it tough to get going in the first half, with Wigan posting the main elements on danger down the right.

It was that avenue which led to their breakthrough on 26 minutes when good work by the threatening Nathan Byrne supplied ex-Barnsley forward Kieffer Moore, with his low cross taking a deflection off Harry Toffolo before gravitating to the lurking Lowe, who bundled the ball home.

Earlier, more adeptness from Byrne found Pilkington in a dangerous position in the box and strongly hinted at an opener, but his low shot was fortunately straight at Lossl.

At the other end, Town's attacking quartet of Karlan Grant, Emile Smith-Rowe, Juninho Bacuna - operating in a number ten role - and Chris Willock found it hard to impose themselves.

Grant did see an early goalbound effort blocked by Daniel Fox, while Smith-Rowe dragged a low shot wide, but there was not too much fluidity on show.

The hosts' best moment by a distance arrived on 33 minutes when a fine set-piece delivery on left from Bacuna enabled Chris Schindler to ghost into the box unchecked and his flicked header drew an excellent and instinctive reaction save from former Hull City custodian David Marshall.

Despite his side's low-key first half, Cowley resisted the temptation at the interval to make changes, even though that feeling would surely have been present.

A tactical change did see Smith-Rowe move into the number ten position, with Bacuna moving across to the left.

Unfortunately, the second half got off to the worst possible start when Wigan doubled their advantage.

Another decent move involving Byrne saw the ball find Pilkington, who showed neat close control before firing off a shot which took a wicked deflection off O'Brien before sailing past the helpless Lossl.

It was a dire development for the hosts and Wigan soon went close to wrapping up the victory when Lowe got away down the right before seeing his rasping shot clip the woodwork.

Town desperately needed a spot of hope, but it was Wigan who possessed the vestiges of fluidity.

A curling shot which floated just off target from Alex Pritchard, who had entered the fray for Smith-Rowe, was the best they could muster while the quiet Grant fired a pot-shot well wide.

Town rang the chances, but nothing came to fruition on a difficult afternoon, all told.

Harry Toffolo stung the palms of David Marshall late on, but there was no hint of a grandstand finish with Huddersfield and Danny Cowley left with a fair bit to ponder.

Substitutes Lee Evans and Joe Garner went close to adding a late third for Wigan, who sauntered to victory.

Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Simpson (Duhaney 72), Stearman (Stankovic 59), Schindler, Toffolo; Hogg (King 72), O'Brien (Kachunga 59); Willock, Bacuna, Smith-Rowe (Pritchard 51), Willock, Grant. Substitutes unused: Coleman, Chalobah, Quaner, Daly.

Wigan Athletic: Marshall; Byrne, Kipre, Fox (Pearce 86), Robinson; Morsy, Williams; Pilkington (Jacobs 60), Dowell (Evans 74), Lowe (Naismith 86); Moore (Garner 86). Substitutes unused: Jones, Macleod, Gelhardt, Mlakar.