Huddersfield 1 Wolves 4: Town’s winning streak against Wolves is ended
AS the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
In this case, namely Huddersfield Town’s peerless run of consecutive victories over Wolves which stretched back seven matches to September 1999 ahead of last night’s gathering.
Town’s club anthem may be set to the tune of Mary Hopkin’s 60s’ classic Those Were The Days, but given the evidence of the past 16 years, ‘Can We Play You Every Week’ is perhaps more appropriate when Wolves are on the same pitch.
That was until last night at any rate, with the 905 Wolves supporters who managed to beat horrendous traffic on the M6 to attend afforded a spot of karma after too many bad days against Huddersfield to mention.
In their wildest dreams, they would not have envisaged singing “We Want Five” amid a party ahead of the final whistle.
Not since the latter stages of the career of the legendary Steve Bull had Wanderers triumphed against Town – when goals from the Molineux goal machine and Steve Froggatt gave them a 2-0 win in Yorkshire in 1997.
Wolves’ first win in 12 meetings against Town arrived on a harsh evening which fates decreed wholly in their favour for once against their bogey side.
An early lead was forged courtesy of an early Nouha Dicko strike, with an unfortunate Conor Coady own goal just 56 seconds into the second half doubling their tally.
A third arrived on 61 minutes from a familiar face to Town fans in former loanee Benik Afobe – with the hosts dissected on the break with surgical precision – before the hosts got the least they deserved when James Vaughan reduced the arrears.
At times, Wolves also rode their luck and survived a few scares, although their pace and quality on the counter also represented a potent outlet, particularly in the second half, summed up at the death when Dicko netted his second of the game with a breakaway fourth.
The sight of Tommy Smith lining up in a Town shirt just 10 days after those alarming scenes towards the end of the derby with Leeds represented the most welcome of sights for home supporters ahead of kick-off.
What they witnessed in the first half was rather more frustrating, although not necessarily to do with their side’s efforts, with Tomasz Kuszczak repelling them on several occasions.
He made telling saves to deny Harry Bunn, Coady – who diverted a Jack Robinson shot towards goal – and Sean Scannell in the lead-up to the break as he manfully helped Wolves protect their precious gains.
Vaughan and Mark Hudson also went close with headers, with the dismay of the Town faithful more to do with the performance of referee David Webb – with their displeasure clearly evident at the interval.
The initial action saw Town set about Wolves with intent, Vaughan’s low daisy-cutter flashing just wide and full debutant Ishmael Miller testing Kuszczak with a stinging shot.
It was shaping up nicely, only for Wolves, out of nothing, to break the deadlock from their first move on 12 minutes.
Rajiv van La Parra slipped in Dicko and he calmly steered the ball low past Alex Smithies.
For the remainder of the half, Wolves posed a defined threat in the sight of the pacy trio of Dicko, Afobe and Bakary Sako, but it was Town who carved out the best opportunities.
But early in the second period, the first definitive indication that it might not be Town’s evening arrived when Coady glanced home through his own net following Sako’s corner.
It represented a turnaround in fortune for the midfielder, whose stunning long-ranger provided the gloss to Huddersfield’s fine 3-1 victory in the Black Country in the autumn.
The Liverpudlian’s look to the heavens after that unwitting error said it all.
But Town refused to feel sorry for themselves with Coady seeing a shot held and Vaughan’s low shot on the turn turned away by Kuszczak.
Afobe may have talked about having a soft spot for Town ahead of the game, but it doesn’t come in the way of business with the £2m striker sealing the deal on the night on 61 minutes after Van La Parra’s shot was blocked by Smithies following a lightning break involving Sako.
Vaughan pulled one back two minutes later following Scannell’s cutback, but it was not the prelude to a grandstand final half-hour.
The last word, inevitably, went to Wolves in stoppage-time when Dickov rounded Smithies and slotted home with Town exposed on the break again.
Huddersfield Town: Smithies; Smith, Hudson, Wallace (Edgar 88), Robinson; Scannell, Coady, Butterfield, Bunn (Lolley 68); Miller, Vaughan. Unused substitutes: Allinson, Holmes, Gobern, Wright, Majewski.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Kuszczak; Doherty, Batth, Stearman, Hause; McDonald, Price, van La Parra (Edwards 78), Afobe, Sako (Golbourne 73); Dicko. Unused substitutes: Flatt, Henry, Evans, Ebanks-Landell, Iorfa.
Referee: D Webb (County Durham).