Newcastle United 1 Huddersfield Town 2: Wagner’s pride in his Terriers

Huddersfield Town's Nahki Wells (right) celebrates after scoring.
Huddersfield Town's Nahki Wells (right) celebrates after scoring.
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Huddersfield piled further frustration on Tyneside by defeating Championship favourites Newcastle 2-1 at St James’ Park.

In front of a sell-out 52,000 crowd, Huddersfield made it two wins from two to climb to the top of the league and leave Rafael Benitez’s Magpies nursing the wounds of consecutive reversals.

Fans make their way to the game ahead of the SkyBet Championship match at St James' Park, Newcastle. .

Fans make their way to the game ahead of the SkyBet Championship match at St James' Park, Newcastle. .

Striker Nahki Wells curled David Wagner’s team in front on the stroke of half-time when he was afforded too much freedom in the Newcastle box.

But Dwight Gayle headed his first goal for Newcastle since a summer switch from Crystal Palace just after the hour, even though it came from his own missed penalty, to provide hope.

Huddersfield, who defended strongly throughout, responded by hitting the winner eight minutes from time on the break when substitute Jack Payne scored with his first touch to send the travelling supporters home happy.

Both teams have had contrasting starts to the Championship season, with favourites Newcastle losing at Fulham and Huddersfield defeating Brentford on the opening weekend.

The confidence that victory must have given the Terriers was clearly evident and they often looked the more dangerous, particularly in the first half. Former Bradford striker Wells had already had an effort fly a yard over the bar.

Benitez had made four changes to the side which lost at Craven Cottage, with Mohamed Diame, Jonjo Shelvey, Rolando Aarons and Chancel Mbemba all introduced to the starting line-up.

Shelvey was initially influential in the middle and often started things off in an attacking sense for the home side. From his free-kick debutant Diame’s headed was brilliantly turned behind by goalkeeper Danny Ward. Isaac Hayden headed over from the corner.

But Huddersfield were effective in what they did under Wagner, so it was not against the run of play when Wells put the visitors in front on half-time.

Winger Rajv van la Parra was allowed to work his way and then feed a ball into the penalty area where Wells, back from injury and allowed too much freedom by Jamaal Lascelles, cleverly applied the low finish beyond goalkeeper Matz Sels.

Benitez, who introduced Matt Ritchie for Rolando Aarons after the break, had work to do at the break and had to find a way to make Newcastle more dangerous, without a powerhouse centre-forward on the bench in the absence of the suspended Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Ritchie, the £12m signing from Bournemouth, livened things up down the right hand side and linked well with Daryl Janmaat, but there was still a lack of threat to Ward’s goal, while Joe Lolley was quick to test Sels at the other end.

Newcastle needed a bit of luck and they duly got it when Ritchie’s cross into the area ended up being handled by Mark Hudson. Even though Ward made a low save to stop Gayle’s penalty, the £10m striker was in the right place to nod the rebound over the line.

But Huddersfield, just when it seemed Newcastle could find a winner, broke away to retake the lead when Kasey Palmer picked out fellow sub Payne, who took a touch and found the far corner of Sels’ net.

Huddersfield boss David Wagner hailed the tremendous togetherness in his squad after they saw off the promotion favourites to move level with Bristol City at the top of the fledgling table.

Wagner, backed by more than 3,000 travelling fans, said: “My first feeling is that I am proud for my players. It was an outstanding performance, in terms of togetherness. We were brave and we stuck to our match plan which was a lot different to what we played before.

“We scored with a transition twice and everyone helped each other. In the first half it was very good. In the second half, if we want to win against Newcastle away - like all teams here - then you need a bit of luck and we had that in the second half. It was a great moment for my players to celebrate with the away fans.

“The supporters will be a big help for us if we want to take a step forward as a team and club, they showed that. They have to help us and we have to deliver also. At the moment there is a great togetherness within the squad and it was great for me to see them celebrate with the supporters.

“All 24 teams can challenge in this division. We don’t have any reason to dream. We have every reason to work and this is what we do.

“I was never a dreamer and I was always a worker which is why I am here at this club, this is a working club. We start again tomorrow.”

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