HUDDERSFIELD TOWN were dragged further into relegation trouble by a wretched defeat at Stoke City.
With Paul Lambert in the Potters dugout for the first time, goals from Mame Diouf and Joe Allen condemned the Terriers to a deserved defeat.
It was a woeful display from David Wagner’s men on an afternoon when Alex Pritchard, the £11m new arrival from Norwich City, made his full debut.
Only Jonas Lossl in goal and defensive duo, Christopher Schindler and Mathias ‘Zanka’ Jorgensen, emerged with any credit from a 90 minutes that has left Huddersfield just a point clear of Stoke in the table.
The opener came eight minutes into the second half, a sweeping move that saw Charlie Adam release Maxim Choupo-Moting down the left flank with a delightful pass ending with Allen firing into the net from ten yards.
Town could have few complaints at falling behind, the hosts having played at a much higher tempo than the Yorkshire side from the very start.
Only a fine save from Jonas lossl had denied Xherdan Shaqiri in first half stoppage time. The Potters man then got the ball in the net just after the restart only for his celebrations to be cut shot by a linesman’s flag.
Once behind, Huddersfield had furter escapes as Lossl denied Mame Diouf and Shaqiri before Stoke settled the game with a second goal 21 minutes from time.
A loose pass from Aaron Mooy was pounced on by Choupo-Moting on halfway. His pass into Shaqiri brought a delightful flicks that released Diouf and he did the rest with a fine finish past Lossl.
Huddersfield Town must hope this is the last time this season they face a team with a new manager in the dugout.
As with Sam Allardyce’s bow at Everton in December, this was a desperately disappointing afternoon for the Terriers.
Unable to match from the start the tempo of a home side clearly pumped up by the presence of Paul Lambert in the dugout, Town could have no complaints with the result after being out fought throughout 90 minutes.
This was a ‘must not lose’ game and yet Huddersfield failed to even come close to matching their energised hosts as the renowned ‘new manager bounce’ made an appearance against the Yorkshire side for the second time in as many months.
Stoke: Butland, Bauer, Zouma, Shawcross, Pieters, Allen, Fletcher, Adam, Shaqiri, Choupo-Moting, Diouf. Subs: Ireland, Martins Indi, Cameron, Crouch, Sobhi, Grant, Edwards.
Huddersfield: Lossl, Malone, Jorgensen, Schindler, Hadergjonaj, Hogg, Mooy, van La Parra, Pritchard, Ince, Mounie. Subs: Smith, Kongolo, Sabiri, Coleman, Williams, Depoitre, Quaner.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)