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Match Report


Posted Sat 27 Aug 11 at 16:52 PM


An injection of quality from the Huddersfield Town substitutes' bench inflicted a harsh 3-0 defeat on the Wanderers at the Galpharm Stadium.

The visitors had frustrated the home side for the best part of an hour with a fully committed and spirited display before Alan Lee and Gary Roberts entered the fray and swung the game in Town's favour.

Lee sent a looping header into the top corner with his first touch before thumping home from Danny Ward's cross 14 minutes later.

Wycombe created a handful of half chances but were dealt a final sucker punch when Roberts' free-kick evaded everyone and found the net, even though Nikki Bull had been largely untroubled aside from the three goals.

Gary Waddock's team selection saw him make four changes to the XI that started last Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Bury, with Marvin McCoy, Leon Johnson, Ben Harding and Stuart Lewis coming into the side.

Dave Winfield was absent with a knee injury and Danny Foster stayed at home due to illness, while there was no room in the sixteen for Scott Rendell or John Halls.

Stuart Lewis sent the first effort of the game over the crossbar as the Blues - playing in red - looked to put the hosts under pressure from the start, knowing it would take a positive approach to threaten Huddersfield's incredible 29-match unbeaten record.

The hosts looked a different proposition to the team that won 6-0 the last time the two clubs met at the Galpharm Stadium, with a long-ball approach causing little bother for the Wycombe defence while their own backline looked nervy when dealing with balls into the box.

Their best chance of the opening 15 minutes fell to Jordan Rhodes but he whipped his effort wide of the far post from a different angle on the left-hand side of the penalty area.

The ex-Aldershot combination of Ben Harding and Scott Donnelly were working efficiently in the middle of the park, with Stuart Lewis offering protection in a deeper role in front of the back four. Donnelly tried a long-range effort on 17 minutes which fizzed straight into the keeper's arms, and it was the visiting fans who were more content with their side's contributions.

Rhodes headed over from a Danny Ward corner on 24 minutes as Lee Clark's men looked to recapture the attacking pedigree that had seen them reach the League 1 play-off final in May, and they began to impose themselves more as the half went on.

As a result, Wycombe struggled to retain possession and conceded the ball too easily, but defensively they were extremely well-organised, closing the Terriers down at every opportunity in all areas of the visitors' half.

A rare mistake from James Tunnicliffe let in Lee Novak who played the ball back for Danny Ward on the corner of the area, but his effort lacked accuracy and flew wide of Nikki Bull's right-hand post, ensuring that the keeper had still not had a save to make in the half.

Andy Sandell sent a snapshot wide at the start of the second period after Huddersfield struggled to clear Scott Donnelly's corner, and the home side lacked any urgency with their own attacks - much to the dissatisfaction of their supporters.

So it was no surprise when Lee Clark responded with two substitutions on 56 minutes, although he could never have imagined the immediate impact the change would have. Within 30 seconds, Town were in front, and it was Alan Lee who broke the deadlock with his first touch after replacing Lee Novak, sending a fantastic looping header into the top corner from 12 yards.

Wanderers' centre-backs had dominated the aerial battles up to this point but Lee's experience - mostly at a higher level - proved invaluable for the hosts, forcing Gary Waddock to consider changes of his own to battle back into the game.

His first move was to replace Scott Donnelly with Elliot Benyon and switch to a 4-4-2 formation, and Benyon's impact was almost as significant as Lee's. Ben Harding delivered a superb cross-shot and the striker wasn't far away from diverting it into the net.

There was another substitution moments later, with Kevin Betsy replacing Gareth Ainsworth, but before he was able to have an impact, the Blues were 2-0 lead again. Another fine delivery from Danny Ward found the head of Alan Lee and the striker thumped home his second of the game, showing a touch of class above League 1 level.

Any hope of salvaging a point may have been fading but the Blues became more inventive going forward, benefiting from a more attacking formation which almost brought Benyon his first league goal for the club, but Marvin McCoy's cross just evaded his head.

Moments later, Ben Harding drove wide of the right-hand post after a great lay-off from Stuart Beavon when he should have hit the target, and Town began to realise that the three points might not be as straightforward as they had imagined.

But for whatever reason, it just wasn't Wycombe's day, and Huddersfield scored a fortunate third goal when Gary Roberts' free-kick flew through a crowd of players and found the bottom corner. The visitors' commitment and organisation didn't warrant such a disappointing scoreline but they were learning more about the ruthlessness of League 1 football as the game went on.

Joel Grant fired wide in stoppage time but in truth, the final whistle came as a relief to the visitors who didn't deserve to be on the end of such a scoreline, but ultimately came unstuck against the extra quality that Huddersfield were able to employ.

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