Big Match Verdict – Huddersfield Town waiting for the departure gates to open

Sliding in: Huddersfield Town's Jon-Gorenc Stankovic challenges Bournemouth's Joshua King.
Sliding in: Huddersfield Town's Jon-Gorenc Stankovic challenges Bournemouth's Joshua King.
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IT was a moment that perhaps summed up Huddersfield Town’s sorry, tormented season better than words.

Trailing 2-0 in the final quarter of another hopelessly bereft occasion, Town contrived one of their more promising situations on the day when the ball broke invitingly for defender Mathias Zanka in a dangerous area on the right.

Unwittingly, his cross was blocked by team-mate Jon-Gorenc Stankovic and the ball trickled away, almost apologetically in a tragicomic moment.

So the pain cruelly goes on for beleaguered, brow-beaten Town, who are collecting defeats as prolifically as snooker bad-boy Alex Higgins used to amass fines from the green-baize authorities.

Even St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, would struggle to find a way out of Town’s current predicament.

He may have been at the club for less than two months, but head coach Jan Siewert is entitled to have grown a touch weary already on another afternoon when his side’s quality levels were desperately low.

I am just tired of losing. I am really tired of not winning more. We have won one game in the last three months. It is not enough for anybody here. Not at the stadium, not for us.

Jonas Lossl

The legs may be willing, but the minds are frazzled by the punishment meted out upon them in a long, hard season when confidence tanked a while ago.

This was a 15th loss in 17 league matches and a 16th game this season in which Huddersfield have failed to find the net – and, sadly, it was easy to see why on Saturday’s grim evidence.

It was an occasion which ultimately belonged to Bournemouth and their 788 followers who had set off early from the south coast.

Scenes of joy ensued at the end as the Cherries secured a win which all but confirms another season of Premier League football and another successful chapter in the history of the Dorset club.

How their Huddersfield counterparts must have looked on with a spot of envy as they sit in the top-flight departure lounge.

Pulling no punches on another bitterly frustrating occasion, goalkeeper Jonas Lossl admitted: “This was not all right. I do not think we showed enough passion to score, (or) enough aggression.

“I feel a bit empty right now. I feel we really made a disappointing effort.

“Actually, I am just tired of losing. I am really tired of not winning more. We have won one game in the last three months. It is not enough for anybody here. Not at the stadium, not for us.”

In the past, games between these two sides at the John Smith’s Stadium had been dramatic and eventful, if not exactly for all the right reasons.

Few will forget a crazy 3-3 play-off second-leg draw in 2011 which went to a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out before Town prevailed or the opening-day evisceration which triggered Mark Robins’s resignation in August 2014. Or the hosts’ memorable 5-1 victory just under a year earlier.

The last meeting was also similarly fruitful, with a 4-1 home win registered 13 months ago.

How times have changed since then, with that match being the last time that Huddersfield have scored more than once in a game in front of their own supporters.

In truth, they never looked like scoring in this latest meeting – against a Bournemouth side on a club record run of nine successive away league defeats, no less.

A toothless first half from the hosts provided the visitors with a leg up, with the only glimpses of quality on show arriving from the Cherries on the counter-attack.

When it came, the goal was an adept one with Callum Wilson chesting home from close range after a deadly cross from Ryan Fraser – the final act in a 21-pass move which undressed Town.

In front of watching England manager Gareth Southgate, Wilson’s seventh goal in six games against Town was handily timed.

With wrong options taken in possession and crossing which bordered on the atrocious, Town were their own worst enemies in the first half – and even at this relatively early stage, it represented another dirge of a display.

The hosts improved slightly on the restart but the method and poise was still absent with the fact that it took interval substitute Chris Lowe to deliver Town’s first decent cross being telling.

Zanka had to be alert to prevent a second goal for the visitors, blocking King’s pass in the nick of time to prevent a tap-in for Wilson – but you got the impression if a second goal did arrive, it would come from Bournemouth.

As with a side on their uppers, luck also did not frequent Town.

A half-decent shout for a penalty after a clumsy challenge from Nathan Ake on Alex Pritchard went unpunished and that was compounded by the visitors sealing victory with a second goal midway through the half.

This time, Wilson turned creator, with a clever hand in another eye-catching Cherries goal.

A probing pass by King found the striker and his cut-back was equally deft, with Fraser afforded the freedom of the area to guide the ball past the exposed Lossl.

The Dane turned away a fierce drive from King before Town injected one moment of positivity into another difficult afternoon by bringing on young winger Aaron Rowe for his debut.

It was the one crumb of comfort from another forgettable day.