AS THE weather swung from snow to bright sunshine and then back again two or three times on a lunchtime of fluctuating West Riding weather, the Crowded House song Four Seasons in One Day sprang to mind.
On the field, however, the 23,823 crowd were treated to only the positive facets of what has been, at times, a very up and down season for Huddersfield Town.
Where in recent weeks performances have dipped alarmingly amid a loss of confidence and the creeping onset of a damage limitation mentality, even against the lesser lights of the Premier League, this splendid effort could not have been more welcome or contrasting.
There was energy, there was attacking intent and, above all, there was genuine Premier League quality, all the things that had characterised Town in the early weeks and months of the campaign when the momentum of promotion helped the Terriers thrive initially on their return to the elite.
Alex Pritchard being handed his full home debut was key. Not only did the £10m January signing bring the urgency to midfield that had been so lacking during a two-month wait for a league victory, but he also proved to be the perfect foil for Steve Mounie.
Town’s record signing has come in for his fair share of criticism this season. Mounie does not work hard enough, his critics say, nor does he possess the physical attributes to hold the ball up and bring the midfield into play.
Both accusations were blown away in emphatic fashion against Bournemouth as Mounie, bolstered by having Pritchard buzzing around him rather than being left totally isolated as has been the case so often this term, produced the sort of performance that persuaded head coach David Wagner to splash £11.5m on the Montpellier striker last summer.
Mounie netted one goal and had another later credited to Cherries defender Steve Cook despite his left-footed shot initially looking to have beaten Asmir Begovic on its own. The striker also created the opener for Pritchard, who he just about pipped to man of the match.
It was a close-run thing, though, with the one-time Tottenham Hotspur Academy product also getting on the scoresheet before winning the late penalty that was converted by Rajiv Van la Parra.
Aaron Mooy was also busy with two assists before his afternoon ended early courtesy of an accidental collision with former Leeds United midfielder Lewis Cook.
He has had some stitches so now we have to wait and see how quick he can recover. Not a ligament injury, only a cut. But a deeper one that needed stitches.Huddersfield Town manager, David Wagner
“He has a cut over his knee,” said Wagner. “He has had some stitches so now we have to wait and see how quick he can recover. Not a ligament injury, only a cut. But a deeper one that needed stitches.”
Mooy’s injury not being as serious as first feared added to a near perfect day for Town.
The tone was set in the seventh minute by Mounie and Pritchard, as the Town striker showed tremendous desire to hold off Simon Francis before his cross was finished with aplomb by the January signing.
Bournemouth hit back just seven minutes later, Huddersfield opened up down their left flank sufficiently to allow Ryan Fraser to drill a low cross to Junior Stanislas and he made light work of beating Jonas Lossl.
After a run of eight winless games that had yielded just three goals, Town could have buckled. Instead, Mounie proved his worth with a bullet header from a Mooy free-kick that gave Asmir Begovic no chance.
As the belief seeped back into Huddersfield’s play, a third goal arrived midway through the second half.
Pritchard was again involved, his harrying of the Bournemouth defence bringing a rushed clearance that went straight to van la Parra.
He found Mooy, who rolled an inviting pass for Mounie, whose shot took a big deflection off Cook to beat Begovic.
Mooy being stretchered from the field amid a hushed stadium then, understandably, knocked the hosts out of their stride for 15 or so minutes.
There was, though, still time for Pritchard to tempt a foul from Dan Gosling in stoppage-time to earn the award of a penalty and van la Parra did the rest from the spot to clinch Town’s first league victory since beating Watford by the same margin on December 16.
It was a perfect way to mark the Chinese New Year, which Huddersfield had chosen to honour at yesterday’s fixture due to 2018 being designated ‘The Year of the Dog’.
“There is no better year for the Terriers than the year of the dog,” added Wagner. He may well be proved right.
Huddersfield Town: Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Jorgensen, Schindler, Malone (Kongolo 52); Mooy (Billing 76), Hogg; Ince (Quaner 65), Pritchard, Van la Parra; Mounie. Unused substitutes: Coleman, Sabiri, Williams, Hefele.
Bournemouth: Begovic; Francis, S Cook (Smith 70), Ake; Fraser, L Cook, Gosling, Daniels; Ibe (King 58), Wilson, Stanislas (Mousset 65). Unused substitutes: Boruc, Surman, Arter, Smith, Simpson.