LATICS 0 - 1 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
Latics were knocked over by a late Nahki Wells sucker punch for Huddersfield Town, who scored with their one significant attempt on goal in the entire match.
In a tight contest, chances were few and far between but Latics looked good value for at least a point until Wells pounced on a loose ball after Jussi Jaaskelainen wasn’t able to hold on to a shot by Elias Kachunga.
The closest Latics came to scoring was probably through Yanic Wildschut who powered through Town’s defence after the break, but pulled his effort wide.
It was just the single change for Latics, with Nick Powell returning from his hamstring injury in place of Andy Kellett, who was the latest to join the long injury list, with David Perkins, Craig Morgan, Luke Garbutt and Reece Burke still missing, alongside the long term absentees of Adam Bogdan, Reece James, Alex Gilbey and Donervon Daniels. On the bench, Ryan Colclough was included after being recalled from MK Dons and 20 year old Wales Under 19 goalkeeper had to be named after Dan Lavercombe damaged fingers in training. Danny Whitehead was also named for the first time after his loan spell at Cheltenham came to an end.
Far from the flowing football expected, the first half was a really stop-start affair, with neither side enjoying a sustained spell of pressure and virtually no attempst at goal.
The closest Latics came to breaking the deadlock came just after the half-hour mark, when Stephen Warnock’s delicious reverse pass sent Wildschut scurrying down the left side. He beat his marker Martin Cranie for pace and whipped in a great cross, which Tareiq Holmes-Dennis did really well to intercept in front of Michael Jacobs. Jacobs had Latics’ only other real attempt before the break, but fired over from 20 yards.
For Huddersfield, Warnock snubbed away a dangerous cross from Aaron Mooy in added time, while Jaaskelainen had to come off his line swiftly to deny Cranie.
Huddersfield showed much greater attacking intent in the early stages after the break but were almost hit on the counter attack after 53 minutes when Holmes Dennis had to pull down Wildschut on halfway with the Dutchman ready to gallop free on goal.
It was Wildschut again on 62 minutes who got on the end of a pass from Jordi Gomez, he cut on to his right but dragged a low effort wide of Danny Ward’s near post.
Latics were enjoying the majority of the possession but Huddersfield were proving a really tough nut to crack.
Colclough made his return to Latics colours on 75 minutes when he replaced Nick Powell, who had taken a knock and limped off.
The Huddersfield goal came completely out of the blue. Elias Kachunga picked up the ball on the edge of the box, and tried a speculative effort after 81 minutes . Jaaskelainen dived to his left but was unable to get enough on the ball to parry it around the post and Wells was quickest to prod it into the empty net. A real kick in the teeth to Latics.
Adam Le Fondre immediately came on in place of Shaun MacDonald as Latics pushed for a quick reply, but it was Huddersfield who nearly doubled their lead when Jaaskelainen was forced to come off his line as Jack Payne found himself free, Warnock having to mop up.
Jacobs tried an audacious effort from 45 yards with Ward off his line but it was blocked by Jon Gorenc-Stankovic. Latics threw men forwards as the clocked ticked towards full-time, but Hudderfield held firm.