Huddersfield jump out of drop zone with big win over Bournemouth
Steve Mounié struck twice for the Terriers as they cruised past Eddie Howe’s charges
Steve Mounie of Huddersfield Town celebrates with teammate Jonathan Hogg after scoring his side’s third goal during their Premier League win over Bournemouth. Photo: Tony Marshall/Getty Images
Huddersfield Town 4 Bournemouth 1
Chinese New Year is still a few days away but as far as the Terriers are concerned the Year of the Dog is up and running. Huddersfield held a fireworks party to celebrate on Saturday night then followed it up with their best performance of 2018, ending a sequence of five league defeats with a convincing victory that temporarily at least lifts them out of the bottom three.
For Bournemouth, in contrast, a seven-game unbeaten sequence came to an end in West Yorkshire. They have seen off Chelsea and Arsenal in recent weeks but they possibly underestimated their opponents here. Huddersfield ditched the defensive tactics that have brought so little reward since Christmas and went for the win, their confidence seemingly lifted by a morale-boosting Cup victory against Birmingham City in midweek.
Huddersfield got off to a great start, scoring after seven minutes by cleverly exploiting the space on the flanks that Bournemouth’s three at the back formation could not quite cover. Scott Malone’s superbly weighted ball down the left gave Steve Mounié the run on Simon Francis, and the striker made it all the way to the goal line before finding Alex Pritchard in the middle, a stabbed left-foot finish bringing the January arrival his first goal for the club.
Unfortunately for the home side their lead lasted only another seven minutes, until a lapse of concentration in their own defence gave Ryan Fraser all the space he needed to cross from the right and pick out Junior Stanislas, free in front of goal and able to take his time over placing a low shot into Jonas Lossl’s bottom corner.
Huddersfield were not to be denied, however, their effective pressing game keeping Bournemouth at bay and producing a succession of promising opportunities, although it was from a set piece that they managed to regain the lead. While Bournemouth probably knew what to expect when Aaron Mooy prepared to swing a free-kick into the penalty area, they were still powerless to do anything about it. Mooy’s delivery was perfect, and Mounié reached the ball first, placing a firm downward header beyond Asmir Begovic’s dive. Steve Cook did manage to strike the outside of an upright with a shot from a Charlie Daniels corner, but the rest of the first half was all Huddersfield’s.
It still needed a third goal to make sure of the points, and Huddersfield seemed to realise that. Instead of doggedly attempting to defend their lead they kept going forward trying to increase their advantage, and gained a reward just past the hour when Mooy, inevitably, sent in a low cross from the left that Mounié met with a first-time side-foot finish. Mooy had seen a shot roll narrowly wide and provided a cross that Tom Ince headed over from close range, so there was no surprise that a goal eventually arrived, nor where it came from. The only downside from Huddersfield’s point of view was that Mooy lasted only a few more minutes, before departing on a stretcher with an ominous-looking knee injury after coming off worst in a collision with Lewis Cook.
If the Terriers are going to stage a revival they must hope their main playmaker’s absence is a short one, though in the six added minutes occasioned by the Australian’s injury the home side managed a further goal. The impressive Pritchard was pushed in the area by Dan Gosling when he appeared to be going to ground anyway. Rajiv Van la Parra tucked away a confident penalty to leave Eddie Howe and his side with plenty to think about on the long journey home. – Guardian service