New Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk’s previous experience of the John Smith’s Stadium on derby day – when managing Leeds United in February 2017 – proved a tempestuous one when he famously clashed with David Wagner on the touchline after Huddersfield Town’s late winner and copped an FA improper conduct charge for good measure.
Sunday’s events were noticeably calmer in comparison following an ultra-professional showing from Wednesday, who again found the Huddersfield air to their distinct liking.
In their last eight matches at Town, the Owls have not conceded so much as a goal, let alone sampled the experience of a defeat here and as introductions go for a new face in the dug-out, it could hardly have gone any better for Monk.
An enthused Barry Bannan, who wore the captain’s armband in the absence of Tom Lees, said: “It is a great reaction after losing before the international break. The new manager has come in and we have hit the ground running with a great victory.
“There is a lot of talent in the squad and we have just been missing something over the past two years. The boys are really happy with the first week’s training and what the gaffer has said to us has been positive.
“He could be the guy to find that missing link that we have missed in the last couple of years.”
In contrast, recently-installed Huddersfield boss Danny Cowley was not handed food for thought. Try a king-sized banquet.
There may be a new hand on the tiller, but it was the same old tune as the toothless Terriers conceded the first goal for a ninth consecutive occasion on parched home soil and showcased plenty of evidence as to just why the club pushed so hard to convince Cowley to make the switch from Lincoln.
Huddersfield huffed and puffed and effort and willing was not in short supply and the crowd, admirably, kept with them.
But the lack of quality in the business zone was glaringly obvious. Yet again.
A new era it may be, but progress will take time.
Terriers midfielder Lewis O’Brien said: “We all came in with a new look on it and it is a new start and everything that has happened (before) has gone.
“We wanted to prove to the fans that we do care about the club and put all the effort in that we can. If you put the work in, you can get the crowd going and at the end of the day, they are our 12th man and we need them.
“But on the day, they were the better team. It has been hard to get all the things across that the new manager wants us to get. But I think that slowly we are implementing them.
“They (Cowley brothers) have been brilliant and are so detailed with everything. Even though they had only had four days, we all felt different coming into this game and as they are here longer, you will be able to see it in the performances and results.”
After setting all manner of unwanted records last term, Town chalked up another on Sunday as their run without scoring more than one goal in home matches extended to 30 games – a record for a Football League club.
Monk witnessed an away-day performance which pretty much went to the letter, while by contrast, Cowley heard the same old hackneyed tune in front of their own long-suffering supporters.
In the colours of Kosovo, Flo Hadergjonaj was given a tortuous evening by England’s Jadon Sancho at Southampton in midweek and Kadeem Harris also found the Town defender to his liking in the build-up to Wednesday’s tenth-minute opener.
He dropped his shoulder to evade his rival before sending over a peach of a cross which was planted into the net in classic centre-forward style by the waiting head of Steven Fletcher.
It was the sort of goal which the Scot has traded in all his career. And the sort of goal that Huddersfield have failed to muster in a miserable, bereft and scarcely believable past 12 months.
On an afternoon when Cowley will have found out plenty about his players, the fact that Huddersfield’s best opportunities fell to full-backs will have also been revealing to him.
Hadergjonaj, who had a tough afternoon, saw his soft header easily grasped by Keiren Westwood in the first-half, while Terence Kongolo’s low shot on the resumption was blocked alertly at his near post by the Owls keeper.
The polish and incision arrived from Wednesday, while the hosts waited for things to drop and were led down blind alleys all too frequently.
After fielding a mini-spell of second-half pressure, the Owls struck with telling effect on 72 minutes when substitute Sam Winnall nipped in between Tommy Elphick and Christopher Schindler and buried an inch-perfect glancing header past Kamil Grabara following a fine cross from Bannan – his first Owls goal since August 2017.
Again, it was the sort of goal that Huddersfield have not registered for too long to mention.
Boasting a confident buffer and the game’s outcome pretty much put to bed, Wednesday were afforded time to enjoy themselves in a serene finale to the game as Adam Reach and Fletcher went close to a third.
All the while, the love-in between Wednesdayites and Monk was underway, with the 40-year-old heralded in song by the delighted visiting contingent in the away end as many home supporters made an early exit.
A marked contrast to Monk’s last derby excursion here, for sure.