Match report: Huddersfield Town 3 PNE 1

Huddersfield v PNE
Huddersfield v PNE
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PNE boss Simon Grayson had an unhappy return to the John Smith’s stadium as Nahki Wells fired Huddersfield to a 3-1 victory over a lackluster North End side.

Wells gave the hosts the lead against the run of play in the 31st minute after Emyr Huws got the better of ex-Huddersfield player Tom Clarke on the left and whipped the ball into the path of the unmarked Wells who tapped home with ease.

Town upped their game in the second half and Wells fired home his second of the afternoon from a tight angle in the 55th minute.

Huws gave the Terriers a three goal lead in the 76th minute as he curled the ball straight in at the near post directly from a corner.

Adam Reach added his second of the campaign and pulled a goal back for North End in injury time as he latched onto Paul Gallagher’s inch-perfect pass, rounded the keeper and fired the ball home.

PNE boss Grayson made two changes to the North End side that lost 1-0 to Leeds on his first return to Huddersfield since he was sacked by the Terriers in 2013.

Grayson made one enforced change as Alan Browne has a slight hamstring injury and he was replaced in the staring XI by Neil Kilkenny.

John Welsh also moved to the bench as Daniel Johnson had recovered from the hamstring tweak that made him miss the Elland Road clash.

It could have been a different story for Grayson if Will Keane had rippled the back of the net with just 12 seconds on the clock. The striker intercepted the ball and sprinted towards goal but failed to hit the target as he aimed for the near post and scuffed his shot wide of the right post.

Paul Gallagher capitalised on the weather at a wind ravaged John Smth’s stadium as he whipped the ball towards goal and left Jed Steer flapping at thin air as he just tipped the ball wide.

Emyr Huws booked was booked for a foul and Keane had another golden opportunity to put North End ahead as he volleyed the ball straight at Jed Steer from 12-yards out in the 23rd minute.

Hudderfield’s Tommy Smith was also booked and Reach’s fierce header was just held by Steer as he pounced on Clarke’s cross into the box.

Huddersfield dominated possession in a scrappy affair at the John Smith’s stadium but failed to find that all important pass.

As the half wore on the Terriers found their bite as Kyle Dempsey found space at the top of the box but fizzed his shot wide in the 32nd minute.

And Huddersfield took the lead with their first shot on target as Huws’s low cross from the left was converted by an unmarked Wells in the 38th minute.

Huddersfield may have taken the lead against the run of play in the first half but they came out all guns blazing in the second half.

They could have been two up moments after the re-start but fortunately for North End Wells was judged to have been offside after he pounced on Pickford spilling substitute Harry Bunn’s shot.

Bunn tested Pickford once again but the keeper was on hand to save PNE.

But the energetic Terriers finally got a deserved second as Wells beat Pickford from a narrow angle with a low, hard shot to make it two in the 55th minute.

Garner, Gallagher and Huntington all picked up yellow cards.

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Woods came on for Vermijl who collided with Pickford at the near post as they cleared another Huddersfield cross.

And ex-Huddersfield player substitute Woods’ back pass was short and Wells pounced to run one-on-one Pickford save and wells next effort clips woodwork and goes wide.

Emyr Huws’ corner from the right flew past a diving Gallagher and beat Pickford at his near post to make it three in the 76th minute.

Scannell twisted and turned in the box but just sent his right-footed strike fizzing over the bar.

And substitute Bunn also had an opportunity to increase the scoreline as Huddersfield out-smarted the North End defence and he sprinted one-on-one with Pickford but tamely shot straight at the keeper.

Wells had another chance to complete his hat-trick but Pickford managed to thwart the striker with a left footed save.

North End did pull a ball back as some neat play by Gallagher found Reach in added time who rounded the keeper and fired the ball home.

PNE: Pickford, Vemijl (Woods, 67) Huntington, Clarke, Cunningham, Reach, Johnson, Kilkenny (Brownhill, 61), Johnson, Gallagher, Keane, Garner (Doyle, 72). Subs not used: Kirkland, Wright, Doyle.

Huddersfield: Steer, Smith, Hudson, Hogg (Paterson, 86), Scannell, Huws (Cranie, 81), Lolley, Wells, Dempsey(Bunn,46) Chilwell, Lynch. Subs not used:Murphy, Davidson Paterson, Carayol, Bojaj.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester)