THE approach to Bournemouth’s home of more than a century offers little hint of its Premier League status.
Not only are the low roofs of the four stands barely visible through the trees lining the entrance to King’s Park, but the small number of fans milling around outside suggests this is more a venue that hosts League One than the globe’s most glamorous competition.
These type of surrounds may not be what Huddersfield Town have become accustomed to since arriving in the Premier League.
But, in terms of the Terriers’ fortunes on the road since ending that 45-year exile from the top table of English football, proceedings at Dean Court had a wearily familiar feel for the 1,325 supporters who made the long journey south.
For the fifth away game in a row, Town failed to score. Not since 1947 have Huddersfield endured such a barren run as a top-flight club.
An inability to capitalise when on top – a trait that has dogged them away from the John Smith’s Stadium this term – was once again evident, especially in an opening quarter that saw the Yorkshire side produce their most impressive attacking display since triumphing 3-0 at Crystal Palace on August 12.
Scott Malone, facing his former club, was a revelation during that early onslaught as head coach David Wagner handed his full-backs much more licence to roam forward than had been the case in recent weeks, which gave Town the sort of impetus that suggested a three-month wait for an away goal would soon end.
Rajiv van la Parra went close three times, and Malone wasted a great chance when through one-on-one with Asmir Begovic as the Bournemouth defence struggled to cope with the vibrant visitors.
Then, however, it all went wrong for the Terriers as two woeful attempts at defending set-pieces allowed Callum Wilson to score twice inside five minutes around the half-hour mark.
Not even the dismissal of former Bradford City full-back Simon Francis on the stroke of half-time could rescue Town’s afternoon as Wilson completed his hat-trick after Harry Arter had punished some dreadfully loose play by Malone. The travelling fans, to their credit, remained fully behind their side to the very end.
But the long journey home was still spent wondering why there is such a stark contrast between the home and away records of Wagner’s men. Jonas Lossl, for one, does not have the answer. “I don’t feel any different when I play at home or away,” said the Danish goalkeeper, who has now conceded 11 goals in five away league outings since keeping that clean sheet at Selhurst Park on the opening day.
“We do not approach the games any different, our mind set is the same. Of course, we have the home crowd at the John Smith’s Stadium, which is a fantastic place to play.
“But we don’t change our tactics away, we don’t change our mentality away so that is not the reason for the different results.
“It is just a coincidence. Look at the game against Bournemouth and the game against Swansea (when Town lost 2-0 last month). It is small details, it really is.
“If I don’t make that mistake at Swansea (for Tammy Abraham’s opening goal) then it would have been another story, I’m sure. This defeat was not okay and we have to learn from that. But we will rise again.”
For the second time in three meetings between these two clubs, the afternoon belonged to Wilson.
A little over three years ago, the striker served the first notice of intent that Bournemouth meant business in the Championship by netting twice in an opening-day win at the John Smith’s Stadium so comprehensive that then Town manager Mark Robins quit just a few hours later.
Wilson, signed for £3m from Coventry City earlier in the summer, should have marked his debut with a hat-trick that August afternoon, but had a late penalty saved by Alex Smithies. He would not be denied again.
The opener came on 26 minutes via a bullet header from a Jordon Ibe corner. A crisp finish then brought his second just after the half-hour mark, albeit after Wilson had stolen a march on the defence by straying marginally offside to meet Andrew Surman’s free-kick.
Francis’s dismissal in first-half stoppage-time for a second booking, van la Parra being brought down, should have given Huddersfield a way back into the contest, but Harry Arter ended those hopes by dispossessing Malone and finishing past Lossl.
Then came Wilson’s big moment, the striker claiming the matchball with an emphatic finish following an exchange of passes with Joshua King to turn Wagner’s 100th game at Town’s helm into something of a rout.
Bournemouth: Bergovic; Francis, S Cook, Ake, Daniels; Ibe (A Smith 42), Arter (L Cook 88), Surman, Pugh; King (Gosling 85); Wilson. Unused substitutes: Boruc, Afobe, Smith, Fraser, Mousset.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Cranie (Sabiri 60), Jorgensen, Malone; Mooy, Williams (Mounie 46); Kachunga (Quaner 60), Ince, Van la Parra; Depoitre. Unused substitutes: Coleman, Whitehead, T Smith, Lowe.
Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire).