Huddersfield maintain lead as Rajiv van La Parra downs Wolves


These are heady times for Huddersfield: they sit top of the Championship for the first time since 1999 and are enjoying their best start to a season at this level for 36 years. They are celebrating every single victory for their town with unapologetic fervour, too :at half-time, there was a rousing reception for another of their own, the cyclist Ed Clancy, winner of his third Olympic hold in Rio. The roar that later greeted confirmation of Wolves’ unbeaten record falling emphasised the feelgood factor in this part of West Yorkshire.

This surprise top-of-the-table contest pitched together two of the Championship’s most colourful characters. The charismatic Italian Walter Zenga was handed his 16th managerial appointment in 18 years by Wolves’ Chinese owners this summer.

But it was Huddersfield who looked the more advanced outfit under Jürgen Klopp’s best man and former sidekick David Wagner. The high energy-approach synonymous with Borussia Dortmund was evident from the first whistle, and their pressing deep into opposition territory paid dividends in the sixth minute.

Kasey Palmer, the on-loan Chelsea youngster, provided a cute pass that teased its way between the feet of Danny Batth, Nahki wells took it in his stride and guided the ball wide of Carl Ikeme. When it rebounded off the base of the post, there was the former Wolves winger Rajiv van La Parra to sweep in his first goal since the £750,000 switch.

The squally showers around kick-off greased up the playing surface, suiting Huddersfield’s slick passing: in their best move of the half the full-back Tommy Smith was played into an advanced position, only for the otherwise impressive Palmer to miscue with an attempted side?foot.

It clearly did not deter the England Under-21 international, who attempted an audacious 20-yarder seconds later with the outside of his right boot, but Ikeme clung on to it.

The goalkeeper had to be on his mettle 10 minutes again before the break when Wells’s sharp turn helped him evade the attention of the Wolves defenders, with a low shot being held at the foot of an upright.

At that point, Ikeme’s opposite number, Danny Ward, had watched a couple of George Saville efforts sail off target. However, the visitors’ attacking threat increased as the clock ticked towards the interval and was sustained at the start of the second.

Van La Parra’s block took some pace off Joe Mason’s 40th-minute effort, following an exchange of passes with Jack Price. Mason then had the ball in the net five minutes later, only for an offside flag to scrub it off.

Just as a week earlier at Birmingham, the Zenga boys got stronger the deeper the contest went, and their improvement was prompted by the introduction of João Teixeira at the start of the second half.

Ward was forced into his first save seven minutes after the restart when left-back Matt Doherty bundled his way through the Huddersfield defence and rasped in a cross-shot. The hosts’ goalkeeper was beaten on the hour when Teixeira received Conor Coady’s cross and teased his shot on to the outside of a post.

Try as they might, Wolves could not force the ball the other side of it – although a stupendous reflex reaction from Ward played its part when Batth’s header from a 68th-minute corner was repelled low to his left. Shortly afterwards, Mason had a penalty claim dismissed when he hit the turf under a challenge from Hudson.

How long Huddersfield can sustain the pace will be one of the division’s major talking points heading into the international break.

News Source TheGuardianNews

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