A NIGHT on the south coast that brought the best and worst of Huddersfield Town in the Premier League.
In the debit ledger was how vulnerable David Wagner’s men were in the opening quarter to a side full of direct running and slick passing.
Bournemouth, a joy to watch when in full flow, led by two goals inside 22 minutes, the Terriers’ old nemesis Callum Wilson breaking the deadlock early on before then creating the second for Ryan Fraser.
But, in truth, the advantage held by Eddie Howe’s men could – and probably should – have been double that as the clock on the giant screen in the corner of Dean Court ticked past the midpoint of the first half.
Town had simply not been able to cope and the hosts must have been anticipating a similar outcome to last season’s 4-0 victory over the Yorkshire side at Dean Court.
Then, though, the Jekyll to Huddersfield’s Hyde came to the fore as the visitors took an iron grip on proceedings.
With Jonathan Hogg providing the necessary bite in midfield to go with the artistry of Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing, suddenly it was the Cherries struggling to stem an attacking tide.
But for a string of impressive saves by Asmir Begovic, Town would surely have got the reward their efforts deserved.
Whether that was a point or all three points probably depends on where the loyalties of those 9,980 hardy souls braving a cold night lay, but a shot count of 23-6 in their favour certainly points to Huddersfield being desperately unlucky to make the long journey home empty-handed.
What made that all the more frustrating from a Town perspective is that Wilson, the man who ultimately decided the game with his goal and assist, is hardly a stranger to them.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed, or so the saying goes. But this is clearly not a theory that the Terriers subscribe to as the Bournemouth striker took his goal tally to six in five appearances against the Yorkshire club.
In the past, Wilson’s goals had not only helped finish Mark Robins’ reign as Town manager in abrupt fashion but also condemned Wagner’s men to their joint-second heaviest defeat of last season.
So, there was simply no excuse for how the visitors’ defence allowed him to play such a pivotal role in deciding an enthralling contest.
His opener came inside five minutes, Wilson granted the freedom of the Huddersfield six-yard box to nod a Ryan Fraser free-kick beyond Jonas Lossl.
Town appealed in vain for offside, replays showing Matias Jorgensen had played the Cherries striker on at the back of the area.
Bournemouth doubled their lead in the 22nd minute and again Wilson was allowed to wander unchallenged, this time wide on the right when latching on to a dinked pass down the flank by Joshua King.
He had sufficient time to control, look up and only then roll an inviting pass for the unmarked Fraser. He did the rest with a first-time finish that gave Lossl no chance.
In between the two goals, King twice went close before both Lossl and Jorgensen were fortunate not to divert a drilled cross by the former Hull City loanee into their own net.
Town regained a foothold in proceedings seven minutes before the break. Neat play by Aaron Mooy wide on the right was followed by what was akin to a game of head tennis between Town’s trio of defenders inside the penalty area.
Christopher Schindler got the first header, Jorgensen the second to set up Terence Kongolo for his first goal in Huddersfield colours with a looping header beyond Asmir Begovic.
The execution from the club record signing was exceptional. As it had to be to beat the Bosnian, who had earlier pulled off three stunning saves to deny the visitors.
First, he displayed fine reflexes to beat away an Alex Pritchard shot on the turn after Philip Billing had got the knockdown. Then, after Florent Hadergjonaj had been released by Mooy down the right, the Swiss international picked out Laurent Depoitre only for Begovic to be equal to his powerful header.
Begovic’s third effort came when palming away a Mooy free-kick that was curling under the crossbar to suggest this was not going to be Town’s night.
Kongolo’s looping header changed all that and Begovic pulled off another excellent block after the restart to frustrate Mooy, who had been found unmarked by Billing’s floated left wing cross.
Town continued to pin the hosts back but the equaliser would not come, thanks in the main to some resolute defending by Nathan Ake.
It meant a frustrating flight home for Wagner and his players, albeit one tempered by the knowledge that they had once again proved more than able on the Premier League stage.
Bournemouth: Begovic; Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks (Stanislas 62), Lerma, Cook, Fraser (Mousset 87); King (Mings 90), Wilson. Unused substitutes: Boruc, Surman, Ibe, Defoe.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Jorgensen, Schindler, Kongolo (Sabiri 75, Ramadan 78); Hadergjonaj, Mooy, Hogg, Billing (Mbenza 75), Durm; Pritchard; Depoitre. Unused substitutes: Hamer, Smith, Kachunga, Ramadan, Mbenza, Williams.
Referee: R East (Wiltshire).