Huddersfield Town 0 Cardiff City 4: Terriers turn poodles in feeble performance

Feeble, timid, short of ideas, Huddersfield Town put in the kind of performance against Cardiff City that makes Championship chairman pick up the phone to Neil Warnock. Cardiff City, 11th at kick-off, were made to look like world beaters.

It finished 4-0 because that was how many Cardiff had scored when they decided, after an hour, that their over-generous guests had suffered enough.

If someone had told you the team in blue-and-white stripes had lost once in their last eight games, you would have thought they were pulling your leg. If this was what a weekend win does for your confidence, goodness knows how the poodles masquerading as Terriers would have performed on the back of a victory.

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If you just looked at how many shots each side had – 19 to 15 in Huddersfield's favour – you might have thought the scoreline flattered Cardiff. It flattered Town, booed off at the end of each half.

DEJECTION: Huddersfield Town got 2-0 down in the 11th minuteDEJECTION: Huddersfield Town got 2-0 down in the 11th minute
DEJECTION: Huddersfield Town got 2-0 down in the 11th minute

The atmosphere at kick-off was strangely flat but Huddersfield's football could not even rise to that.

Their defending was statuesque, their possession play just as feeble, tapping the ball across the back three, into a midfielder dropping in, then out to the defenders again as if they were terrified of attacking.

At one point Huddersfield passed back to goalkeeper Lee Nicholls from 35 yards up the pitch as boos rang out.

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The game was not two minutes old when the unfortunate tone was set.

FEELING THE PAIN: Huddersfield Town's Sorba Thomas goes down with Jamilu Collins at his backFEELING THE PAIN: Huddersfield Town's Sorba Thomas goes down with Jamilu Collins at his back
FEELING THE PAIN: Huddersfield Town's Sorba Thomas goes down with Jamilu Collins at his back

Josh Bowler was released down the right, Yuta Nakayama graciously stood off him and when Callum Robinson backheeled the cross, it bounced in off Matty Pearson.

Most of the next 10 minutes or so were played at the other end but Kian Harratt was not quite able to force a shot past Jak Alnwick from a tight angle, Delano Bugzorg could not make clean contact with a Ben Wiles delivery, and dragged his shot wide after making space for himself.

But Bowler forced a diving save and 11th-minute corner and from it, Huddersfield forgot they were supposed to mark those in maroon, watching Dimitrios Goutras bury a free header from the middle of the six-yard box.

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Already it felt like game over and the outbreaks of booing were regular and understandable.

FOUR: Cardiff City's Perry Ng celebrates scoring a curling free-kickFOUR: Cardiff City's Perry Ng celebrates scoring a curling free-kick
FOUR: Cardiff City's Perry Ng celebrates scoring a curling free-kick

More patient passing from Town achieved nothing when Wiles lost the ball as soon as it went forward in the 25th minute, the move ending with Karlan Grant's shot deflecting wide of the Town End goal the home fans used to enjoy watching him hit. It was just one in a series of chances.

Only a low save from Nicholls stopped Bowler making it three in the 33rd minute. Not directly, but the chance had come from Jaheim Headley failing to claim a bouncing ball that should have been his all day. It summed up Huddersfield's performance.

It was three in the 43rd minute as the ball and Yakou Meite came loose from a crowd scene at a corner and the forward thumped it home.

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"Is there a fire drill?" mocked the away fans as their counterparts headed downstairs. No, but it was certainly alarming.

All the while Jack Rudoni had done his best to get into goalscoring positions but granted a cast-iron one at the end of the first half, he bulleted a header wide. He had two similar headers in the opening 15 minutes of the second half but one was straight at Alnwick, the other bounced off him like he had a 50p-shaped head.

Again, you would never know he had scored three days earlier.

Manager Darren Moore made four of the five substitutions available to him at half-time and switched formation from 3-5-2 to 4-4-2 but it made little difference.

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When Rudoni fouled Robinson 10 minutes into the second period. Perry Ng curled a free-kick outside of the wall and inside of the post to make it 4-0.

Bowler ought to have added a fifth but could not keep his half-volley down in the space he found himself at the far post shortly before Erol Bulut began resting players, the winger included.

Huddersfield began singing songs about the stars of David Wagner's Premier League team in an attempt to entertain themselves.

Their team began massaging the stats, Sorba Thomas forcing a tip-over, Rudoni shooting wide, Kyle Hudlin off target too and half-time substitute Josh Koroma putting a shot beyond the far post from out wide.

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But when Tom Edwards tried to shield a ball near the halfway line, Rubin Colwill nicked it off him and within seconds Ollie Tanner had a shot deflected wide. Even when taking it easy, Cardiff minds were considerably brighter.

Rudoni thundered a shot against the crossbar in the 85th minute but when Michal Helik flung his head at the rebound he failed to make contact. Alnwick's save denied the midfielder from a corner quickly afterwards. Huddersfield could have played all night and still not scored.

Huddersfield at Elland Road on Saturday. Play anything like this and it could get very messy.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Pearson (Edwards HT), Helik, Nakayama; Hogg; Thomas, Rudoni, Wiles (Koroma HT), Headley (Lees HT); Burgzorg (Hudlin HT), Harratt.

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Unused substitutes: Edmonds-Green, Diarra, Maxwell, Jackson, Austerfield.

Cardiff City: Alnwick; Ng, Goutas, McGuinness, Collins; Siopis (Adams 79), Ralls (Wintle 66); Robinson (Colwill 66), Bowler (Tanner 62), Grant; Meïte (Ugbo 62).

Unused substitutes: Romeo, Runarsson, Sawyers, Panzo.

Referee: A Backhouse (Cumbria).