Wolves 1 Huddersfield Town 3: Holt leads Terriers to victory as Powell celebrates

THIS quarter of the Black Country is positively paved with gold for Huddersfield Town.

Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell celebrates with his players Tommy Smith and Conor Coady.
Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell celebrates with his players Tommy Smith and Conor Coady.

A magnificent seventh straight victory over Wolves was clinched in stunning fashion as Town obliterated Fortress Molineux to inflict a first home defeat upon Kenny Jackett’s side since December 14.

Boasting a 16-match unbeaten home sequence heading into the game and requiring a victory to move to the top of the Championship, Wanderers fluffed their lines spectacularly as their Yorkshire nemesis dined out at their expense once more.

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After the wretched derby fare at Elland Road last time out on the road, Chris Powell’s side got back in the good books of the travelling faithful with a terrific team performance, crowned by a magical strike from Conor Coady on 51 minutes. Coady’s marvellous curled shot, his first strike for the club, applied the gloss for Town, who extended their unbeaten run over Wanderers to 11 games.

Additionally, they have not seen their colours lowered at Molineux in eight matches since the days of Steve Bull and Andy Mutch in November 1988.

Going into the game with the best defensive record in the division, Wolves’ defence were handed a lesson by an artful forward in Grant Holt, who set up the visitors’ two first-half goals, and a coltish attacker in Harry Bunn, who added to his gathering reputation with Town’s opener.

The supporting cast was also strong including Sean Scannell, who followed up his goal in Town’s 3-1 victory at Wolves in April 2013 with the visitors’ second just before the break.

Awful finishing for most of the night didn’t help Wolves’ causes, but the success proved a tactical triumph for Powell, whose first away win in charge of Town was orchestrated adeptly as they secured back-to-back wins for the first time since December.

And all this without needing to utilise Saturday’s two-goal hero Nahki Wells, an unused substitute on the bench, with Powell’s employment of Holt up top, supported by Bunn and Scannell on each flank in a fluid 4-5-1 formation working a treat.

Not that Town had it all their own way totally for all of the night. As befitted a side who have had a monopoly on matters on home soil this calendar year and had dropped points just twice, Wolves started off on the front front, while for Town, it was an exercise in discipline and shape without the ball early on.

The hosts had a chance inside the first 60 seconds when Hull City loanee Yannick Sagbo dragged a shot wide.

It was a player with past Tigers connections in Sam Ricketts who went within inches of an opener on six minutes, seeing his shot hit the post after powering forward.

Kevin McDonald’s quality pass then set up Nouha Dicko, who evaded Joel Lynch before seeing his low shot blocked by the legs of Alex Smithies and even at an early juncture, it had all the makings of a long night for Town as Sagbo, ballooned high over the top.

But the chance Town had been craving arrived 21 minutes and unlike the hosts, they did not prove so profligate. Town found space on the counter as Holt delivered a peach of a cross and Bunn arrived right on cue in the box to emphatically dispatch the ball home past Carl Ikeme for his third goal of the season.

With Holt using his nous to prove a real nuisance to the Wolves defence, allied to the energy of Bunn and diligence of those behind, Town started to make more incursions, with the hosts’ swagger starting to look less noticeable.

Jacob Butterfield robbed McDonald and surged forward before seeing his shot held by Ikeme, but the warning was not heeded. Holt’s flicked pass found its way to Scannell and his low shot beat Ikeme at his near post, with the aid of a slight deflection off Danny Baath, on 39 minutes.

A half which disintegrated badly got worse for Wolves when Bakary Sako spurned another good chance wide.

Ikeme denied Butterfield before Coady’s majestic long-ranger added to their torment and put Town in dreamland six minutes into the second half.

McDonald’s shot over the top summed up the hosts’ lack of attacking composure, but they did finally find a way through on 71 minutes when Sako outmuscled the Town defence to bundle in following good work from Dicko.

Roared on by the South Bank, Wolves pressed with Baath heading over and Dicko curling just wide as Town manfully protected their gains.

But the home fire died out as Town savoured a delicious win.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ikeme; Ricketts, Batth, Stearman, Golbourne; Henry (Clarke 75), McDonald, Evans (Rowe 42), Sako; Dicko, Sagbo (van La Parra 55). Unused substitutes: McCarey, Ebanks-Landell, Saville, Edwards.

Huddersfield Town: Smithies; Smith, Hudson, Lynch, Robinson; Scannell (Dixon 94), Butterfield, Coady, Hogg (Wallace 92), Bunn; Holt (Stead 80). Unused substitutes: Murphy, Ward, Wallace, Billing.

Referee: P Gibbs (West Midlands).