Mooy moves Huddersfield out of drop zone as Wolves slip further

Fresh from six days in Marbella, the Terriers picked up a much-needed win

Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy scores their second goal in the Premier League win over Wolves. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Huddersfield Town’s Aaron Mooy scores their second goal in the Premier League win over Wolves. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Huddersfield Town 2

Maybe it was the five days in Marbella that did the trick. Fresh from some welcome winter sunshine during the international break, Huddersfield Town warmed the hearts of their travelling supporters on a chilly afternoon at Molineux with their first away win of the season, courtesy of two goals from Aaron Mooy, to climb six places in the table.

It was the first time Huddersfield have scored more than once for 23 Premier League matches – they could easily have had three or four – and delivered a reality check to Wolves, who were comprehensively outplayed and looked unrecognisable from the team that has taken points off Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal this season.

Wolves will reflect on the moment in the second half when Philip Billing, the outstanding player on the pitch, cleared Raúl Jiménez’s header off the line, with Huddersfield leading 1-0 at the time, but Nuno Espírito Santo could have no complaints with the result. Wolves have now lost their last three home matches and badly need to rediscover the thrill and excitement that characterised their bright opening to the season.

Huddersfield could not have made a better start. The visitors were ahead after only six minutes and that goal set the tone for a hugely impressive first half that suggested David Wagner had done his homework on Wolves. Huddersfield packed the midfield, denying Rúben Neves and João Moutinho the time and space to control the game, and played with growing confidence against a Wolves side that were booed off at the interval.

Nuno looked as frustrated as the home supporters sounded after a desperately poor opening 45 minutes. Wolves failed to register a shot on target during that period and it was alarming to see the team playing with so little cohesion. Even routine passes were going astray, fuelling the dismay in the stands, where the sighs of annoyance started to get louder and louder.

Rui Patrício, the Wolves goalkeeper, kicked one ball straight out of play, Willy Boly carelessly gave away possession just in front the dugouts and Moutinho spent too much time going backwards rather than forwards. They were far from isolated cases, however, and the truth is that Wolves were poor all over the pitch in the first half.

Huddersfield, in fairness, deserve immense credit for making life so uncomfortable for their opponents and it is a measure of their superiority in the first half – Jonathan Hogg, Billing and Mooy controlled the centre of the pitch – that they could easily have added to their early lead. Steve Mounié saw one header saved by Rui Patrício and another, shortly before the interval, blocked by Matt Doherty.

Mooy had not been so forgiving. A neat exchange on the Huddersfield left saw Billing release the overlapping Erik Durm, who intelligently picked out Mooy. Totally unmarked on the edge of the area, the Australian expertly steered a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner with the side of his foot. It was a lovely finish.

Nuno predictably made changes at the interval. Moutinho and Ivan Cavaleiro were replaced by Morgan Gibbs-White and Adama Traoré. The latter took up a position through the middle but drifted at wide at times and immediately caused problems with his pace. It was Traoré’s cross from the right that Jiménez, climbing highest at the far post, nodded across Jonas Lössl for what looked like a certain goal. Billing, however, had other ideas and managed to hook clear, with goalline technology confirming that the whole ball had not crossed the line.

By now the game was stretched and chances came and went at both ends. Billing, covering every blade of grass, curled narrowly wide as Huddersfield pushed for a second. Jiménez could then have equalised in controversial fashion – Terence Kongolo was down injured and playing the Portuguese onside – but the striker made a pig’s ear of the opening and failed to even trouble Lössl . It was a moment that summed up Wolves’ day and worse was to follow for the home team.

Rui Patrício did well to block a low shot from Alex Pritchard, following another nice move involving Billing and Mooy, but the Wolves goalkeeper was badly at fault moments later. Mooy spotted a gap at the near post as he stood over a free-kick about 22 yards from goal and beautifully stroked the ball into that corner, exposing Rui Patrício’s poor positioning and effectively sealing victory. Mounié, profligately blazing over, could have added a third. – Guardian service

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