Express & Star

Report and pics of Wolves 1 Huddersfield 3

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If Sunday was an awakening for Wolves, then this was a 45-minute nightmare from which there would be no recovery.



If anything could go wrong last night, it did as their proud 16-match unbeaten home record – their longest since 21 from March 1988 to March 1989 – came to an end in chaotic fashion.

From fit-again Sam Ricketts hitting the post in the sixth minute to Nouha Dicko hitting goalkeeper Alex Smithies' legs to Richard Stearman being out-muscled in the build-up to the first goal then Danny Batth deflecting Sean Scannell's shot in for the second, it seemed nothing went right for Kenny Jackett's side.

Shots were ballooned off target (Yannick Sagbo, Bakary Sako) and passes went astray (Kevin McDonald).

From a confident-looking, fast, fluent and fluid side who really took the game to the Terriers early on, Wolves were gradually reduced to an error-ridden team who could barely put one foot in front of the other by half-time.

The crowd recognised this as what will hopefully turn out to be a blip as they responded by thundering 'Kenny Jackett's barmy army' and 'Wanderers we love you' at the death on a night they could have gone top of the table.

By contrast, Huddersfield grew in confidence once they got their noses in front against the run of play and never looked back.

Perhaps the stay-aways in the disappointing crowd of 19,059 – Wolves' lowest since March – knew something the rest of us didn't.

And it was the visitors who ended the half on top with a two-goal cushion and seemingly out of sight.

The one player who showed most willing by this point was the recalled Dicko.

Time and again he looked to 'roll' his marker with his considerable strength to put either himself or team-mates in on goal.

After Ricketts cut inside with a trademark run only to strike the base of the post in the sixth minute, Dicko was put through by McDonald only to see his shot cannon off Smithies's legs.

Debutant Sagbo, who played at the head of the midfield in the 4-2-3-1 formation, ballooned high over the bar in their next chance.

And, with a quarter of an hour gone, Wolves looked well set for what has become a trademark dominant home half.

But all that unravelled five minutes later when Harry Bunn prodded home Grant Holt's cross, after the on-loan Villa striker used his burly size to budge past Richard Stearman.

It was the second game in a row Stearman has been beaten for a goal, after being brushed off by Michael Hector for Reading's first on Sunday.

The goal rocked Wolves and robbed them of their fluency and Jacob Butterfield dispossessed McDonald before racing away and exchanging passes before testing Ikeme with a low shot that forced a diving save.

Then it got worse as Huddersfield doubled their lead to punish a catalogue of errors.

Bakary Sako, Sagbo and Scott Golbourne all missed the chance to clear before the ball arrived at the feet of Scannell, whose angled shot was going wide or was certainly covered by the diving Ikeme, before it took a wicked deflection off the sliding Batth.

It was also the second game in a row that a goal has deflected off the Brierley Hill stopper, after Glenn Murray's wonder strike came off him at Reading.

The South Bank roared the team off at half-time in the anticipation of a comeback. But their hopes seemed shortlived when Huddersfield made it 3-0 six minutes after the break.

This time there could be no complaints as Conor Coady let rip with a peach of a curling shot that ripped into the top corner from 25 yards.

Wolves eventually responded through Sako, who bundled his way through before poking the ball through Smithies' legs on 71 to give the hosts hope after Dicko flicked on.

But it was a bridge too far for Wolves on this occasion as they were made to pay heavily for their mistakes.

Batth headed on top of the bar and Sako was inches away with a curler but too many players weren't quite at it on the night.