Huddersfield end U’s unbeaten league record
npower League One Colchester Utd 0 Huddersfield Town 3 COLCHESTER United’s unbeaten start to the season was brought to an end in comprehensive fashion by Huddersfield this afternoon.
The U’s trailed by two goals at the break thanks to a combination of good football from the visitors and some sloppy play on their own behalf.
The deadlock was broken in the 34th minute when striker Lee Novak intercepted a poor David Mooney pass before racing away to score.
And the Yorkshire side – who also had an effort cleared off the line while it was goalless – were able to double their lead three minutes before the break when Anthony Pilkingon finished off a slick passing move.
Huddersfield didn’t quite reach their performance levels of the first half after the break, but having comfortably defended their lead they were able to wrap up victory 12 minutes from time when former Ipswich Town striker fired home soon after coming off the bench.
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The Terriers played the last nine minutes of the match with 10 men after substitute Lee Croft was sent-off for a second booking, but by then the damage had been done.
U’s boss John Ward made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 at MK Dons last Saturday, the most significant being that in goal.
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Having been reintroduced to the team for Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat against Wycombe Wanderers in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, reigning player of the season Ben Williams kept the shirt as Mark Cousins dropped out of the side following 10 successive league starts.
Meanwhile, the defensive trio of Brian Wilson (ankle), Paul Reid (leg) and Tom Williams (calf) – having only just returned to training from their respective injuries on Thursday – were all passed fit to start.
Elsewhere, Anthony Wordsworth was dropped for the first time this season, Ian Henderson retaining his place in the side following an energetic display in midweek.
Huddersfield came into this game off the back of three successive league defeats and, having made five changes for the midweek 3-2 victory over Peterborough in the JPT, they kept with that exact same side.
As is becoming customary fashion the U’s started on the front foot. And they came a whisker away from breaking the deadlock in the fifth minute when Ian Henderson was inches away from turning in David Mooney’s low cut back at the near post.
Huddersfield soon settled into their game though and they came mightily close to grabbing the lead in the 16th minute from a corner. Lee Novak’s close range header was heading for the bottom right of the goal, but Ashley Vincent was there to produce a stooping block on the line.
The visiting players were convinced the U’s man had used his arm to stop the ball crossing the line and both Novak and strike partner Alan Lee were booked for their vociferous protests.
In an increasingly open first half both sides once again came close to opening the scoring in a pulsating spell of attack and counter-attack.
Keeper Ben Williams justified his selection in the 18th minute when he produced a breathtaking save from his own player. Defender Magnus Okuonghae threw a leg at Anthony Pilkington’s cross from the right, diverting it towards is own top corner at pace. However, Williams produced cat like reactions to keep the ball out.
From the ensuing corner the U’s counter-attacked at pace and, after Wilson produced a defence splitting pass from deep, David Perkins couldn’t quite wriggle past veteran keeper Ian Bennett.
By this point Huddersfield were the team on top in terms of possession and they duly took the lead in the 34th minute courtesy of a mistake by Mooney. The U’s striker hit yet another sloppy pass on the halfway line which Novak intercepted before racing away and firing a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The Yorkshire visitors were beginning to play some slick football and, with the U’s continuing to make some uncharacteristic passing errors, the Terriers were able to double their advantage three minutes before half-time.
Following some good hold up play by Lee, Pilkington played the ball wide right to Novak before galloping forward for a perfectly weighted return ball which he slipped under the exposed Ben Williams.
Mooney was somewhat fortunate not to be subbed at the break such had been his poor ball retention, but within minutes of the restart he smashed the crossbar in anger with a fine turn and shot from a full 30 yards out.
Huddersfield did not have reached the levels of their first half display, but they did look comfortable enough with their two-goal lead.
Indeed, Ben Williams had to be alert to stop it becoming three in the 56th minute when he tipped Joey Gudjonsson’s dipping free-kick from the left over the bar.
With Ian Henderson replaced by his namesake Liam on the hour mark, Colchester tried desperately to get a foothold back in the game.
And they almost produced a fantastic team goal in the 62nd minute when, following patient build-up involving Wilson, Andy Bond and Kemi Izzet, Vincent planted a weak header straight at the keeper at the far post.
There was plenty of huff and puff from Colchester, but their first league defeat of the season was finally confirmed in the 78th minute when former Ipswich Town striker Jordan Rhodes latched onto fellow sub Joe Garner’s flick on before clinically guiding the ball into bottom corner.
Huddersfield finished the game with 10 men when second half substitute Lee Croft was dismissed for a second booking. Having earlier been cautioned for a blatant handball, the midfielder was given his marching orders following a foul on Tom Williams.
The damage had already been done though and the U’s were even denied a consolation strike five minutes from time when Liam Henderson’s excellent curling long-range effort was acrobatically kept out of the top corner by keeper Bennett.
– Match report and reaction in Monday’s EADT.
COLCHESTER UTD (4-3-3): B Williams; Wilson, T Williams, Okuonghae, Reid; Izzet (cpt), Bond, Perkins; Vincent (Odejayi 76), I Henderson (L Henderson 60), Mooney.
Unused Subs: Cousins, White, Heath, James, Wordsworth.
Booked: I Henderson (58).
HUDERSFIELD TOWN (4-4-2): Bennett; Peltier, Ridehalgh, Kay, P Clarke (cpt); Pilkington (Croft 49), Carey, Johnson, Gudjonsson, Lee (Garner 68), Novak (Rhodes 59).
Unused Subs: Allinson, N Clarke, McCombe, Atkinson.
Booked: Peltier (11), Lee (16), Novak (16), P Clarke (57), Croft (76 and 81).
Sent-off: Croft (81).
U’s Man-of-the-Match: Brian Wilson
Referee: Mr Pat Miller (Bedfordshire)