Wednesday 12 December 2018

Terriers ready to bare teeth as relegation dogfight looms

Huddersfield Town 4 Bournemouth 1

Huddersfield's Steve Mounie celebrates with teammate Jonathan Hogg after scoring his sides third goal. Photo: Getty Images
Huddersfield's Steve Mounie celebrates with teammate Jonathan Hogg after scoring his sides third goal. Photo: Getty Images

Michael Walker

Huddersfield Town are back, back in the fight, back in the scramble to avoid relegation.

The Terriers appeared to have been drifting to its margins but four goals and a vibrant, unrelenting all-round performance gave David Wagner's side a first Premier League win since mid-December.

Huddersfield's Jonathan Hogg controls the ball ahead of Bournemouth's Jordon Ibe. Photo: Getty Images
Huddersfield's Jonathan Hogg controls the ball ahead of Bournemouth's Jordon Ibe. Photo: Getty Images

That, too, was a 4-1 victory, at Watford but, given Huddersfield had scored three goals in the eight matches since, few were expecting them to have another three in 67 minutes here.

But Alex Pritchard with his first for the club and Steve Mounie with two gave Town a grip on the match. Later Mounie had his second taken off him and handed to Bournemouth' Steve Cook.

A lovely finish from Junior Stanislas had brought the visitors a 13th-minute equaliser to Pritchard's opener and the Cherries offered a threat that could have destabilised Town given their recent run. But Town regrouped to the extent that half an hour after the whistle Eddie Howe was apologising to the 1,200 Bournemouth supporters who had left at 2am to be here.

Howe also said the noise of home fans had "influenced" the rhythm of the match and "affected our players" and he had a point. The one time a clacker-ful ground fell silent was 15 minutes from the end when Mooy was left holding his head in his hands on a stretcher. It looked bad but Wagner said that it was a cut rather than ligament damage.

Huddersfield's Jonathan Hogg is challenged by Bournemouth's Lewis Cook. Photo: Getty Images
Huddersfield's Jonathan Hogg is challenged by Bournemouth's Lewis Cook. Photo: Getty Images

Lowest Huddersfield need Mooy. As the division's lowest scorers at kick-off, they also needed goals. To get one seven minutes in was the start required. But the lead lasted only six minutes, Stanislas placing a right-foot shot beyond Jonas Lossl. It was a fine goal.

From one cross, Mathias Jorgensen should have made it 2-1 but from another with a similar trajectory, Mounie rose to show how it is done. Huddersfield might have been expected to wilt first, given the energy expended, but on 67 minutes Pritchard led from the front again, closing down Nathan Ake. Steve Cook then cleared weakly to Rajiv van La Parra, who from 40 yards found Mooy.

Another cross, this one met by Mounie, who, via Cook, scored the third and in six minutes of added time, Van La Parra added a fourth from the spot after Dan Gosling and Ake had upended Pritchard.

Wagner thought it all "fantastic." He also clearly relished the club's Chinese sponsors' loud advertising of the coming Chinese New Year, which happens to be the Year of the Dog.

Bournemouth's Dan Gosling challenges Huddersfield's Alex Pritchard. Photo: Getty Images
Bournemouth's Dan Gosling challenges Huddersfield's Alex Pritchard. Photo: Getty Images

"For the Terriers," Wagner said, "there is no better year than the Year of the Dog."

Woof.

Huddersfield boss David Wagner. Photo: Getty Images
Huddersfield boss David Wagner. Photo: Getty Images

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