Huddersfield Town 0-2 Wednesday
The Galpharm Stadium, Huddersfield
7/4/12 - 12.30pm
Second-half strikes from Miguel Llera and Nile Ranger gave well-organised Wednesday a crucial victory over Huddersfield Town in the race for automatic promotion from League One.
Llera's sweetly-struck free-kick gave Dave Jones's men the momentum before Ranger netted his first goal since joining the Owls on-loan from Newcastle United to seal three vital points for Wednesday at the Galpharm Stadium.
Wednesday carved out the better chances of the game, with Ranger also hitting the woodwork and seeing a close-range shot well saved by Town stopper Alex Smithies, and defended well throughout against the Terriers' possession game, particularly in the first half.
Promotion rivals Sheffield United maintained their two-point lead over the Owls with a close-fought victory over Bournemouth, but Wednesday's win will give Jones and his men a big boost as the regular season enters its final chapter.
Wednesday made just the one change from the side that defeated Preston North End last time out, and it was a forced one with Rob Jones suspended, Danny Batth returning to the side following a hamstring injury in his place.
And the visitors made a fast, attacking start, hitting the woodwork a matter of minutes into the game. Smithies tipped a Madine header onto the bar and the Town defence cleared the danger.
Jermaine Johnson also looked up for the game and he went on a typical mazy run forward before seeing his finish go high over the Town goal, but it was a promising opening ten minutes for the visitors.
The Terriers worked their way back into the game but had no clear-cut chances for their increased possession as the half wore on. Danny Ward looked threatening out wide but main man Jordan Rhodes was being kept quiet.
If anything, the Owls continued to look most threatening in attack. Not through front men Gary Madine or Ranger, but through the left foot of centre-back Llera. He struck one free-kick just wide of Smithies's goal midway through the first half - it was to prove an early warning shot from the Spaniard.
Town's best chance came just before half-time when Rhodes linked well with Ward and the latter flashed a powerful low shot just wide of goal. The same player then drifted a free-kick onto the roof of the net as neither side found the breakthrough in the first half.
Half-Time: Town 0-0 Wednesday
The Owls had the better of the opening exchanges of the first-half and it was a repeat in the second half - this time with a goal to celebrate.
The hosts committed a foul 25 yards out and Llera stepped up to do the honours again, this time curling a beauty of a free-kick over the Town wall and into the corner of the goal to send the Owls fans into raptures behind the goal.
It gave Wednesday a huge lift and they could, and should, have doubled their lead not long after as the hosts lost their flow. Winger Michail Antonio broke free of his man before forcing Smithies into a low save and Ranger's follow-up saw the Town number one produce another draw-drawer save to deny the visitors.
Ranger had another chance minutes later but, when latching on to a Chris Lines ball, his effort dipped over Smithies but came back off the bar and Antonio crashed the rebound high and wide when he should have done better.
The Terriers had brief spells of pressure, towards the Owls goal, but Stephen Bywater still wasn't really being tested in goal. Still, it was a sign that Town were very much still in the game, mainly thanks to the Owls' missed chances.
However, the Owls continued to push forward on the break and were rewarded with a second through Ranger. Jermaine Johnson fed the on-loan Newcastle United hitman and he made no mistake, out-pacing the defender before slotting the ball beyond Smithies.
Huddersfield piled forward in a desperate search for a way back into the game, and although Rhodes came inches to connecting to a dangerous cross and substitute Danny Cadamarteri shot straight at Bywater, Wednesday held out in relatively comfortable fashion for a big three points.
Full-Time: Town 0-2 Wednesday
Huddersfield: Smithies, Woods, P Clarke, Morrison, T Clarke, Novak (Roberts 67), Kay, Arismendi (Arfield 67), Ward, Rhodes, Lee (Cadamarteri 85). Substitutes: Bennett, McCombe.
Wednesday: Bywater, Buxton, Batth, Llera, R Johnson (Beevers 16), Antonio (Sedgwick 90), Semedo, Lines, J Johnson (Treacy 85), Madine, Ranger. Substitutes: Weaver, Lowe.
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