Report: Huddersfield 2-1 Bolton
Bolton’s eight-game unbeaten run came to an end at the hands of Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium in the final outing of 2014.
Darren Pratley netted the opening goal of the game in front of 4,000 travelling Bolton fans with less than a minute on the clock.
But Bolton couldn’t hang on, and goal later in each half from Jacob Butterfield and Nahki Wells secured victory for the West Yorkshire outfit.
Bolton made just the one change to the starting team that have secured a Boxing Day victory over Blackburn two days earlier – Liam Trotter replaced Rob Hall, who dropped to the bench.
Emile Heskey was once again named among the Bolton substitutes.
Prior to the match the Huddersfield Town groundstaff had rallied to clear the pitch of a layer of snow.
And less than 60 seconds into the contest Pratley sent the travelling masses into raptures.
The midfielder netted his third goal in as many games, controlling a loose ball on the edge of the area before crashing a volley in off the underside of the crossbar. A celebratory dive into a mound of snow in front of the away fans then followed.
The hosts responded immediately with a sustained period of possession, though in truth never really threatened Andrew Lonergan’s goal.
On one occasion Murray Wallace’s header from a right-wing cross brushed the side-netting via a slight deflection off of Matt Mills.
Dorian Dervite then recovered to stretch out a long leg to poke the ball off the foot of Sean Scannell, who was clean through on goal.
On the half hour mark James Vaughan pivoted and fired goalwards, with Lonergan down well to claw the ball away.
Moments later Lonergan was then on hand to repel Harry Bunn’s stinging drive through a ruck of players following a Huddersfield corner kick.
The hosts continued to pen Wanderers inside their own period as the interval approached, but on a swift counter attack Bolton almost doubled their lead.
Trotter won possession in the middle of the park, before Liam Feeney set the attack in motion. After eating up the ground he then played a deft pass into Eidur Gudjohnsen, who after a fine first touch saw his effort palmed away by Alex Smithies.
But it would only prove to be a temporary restbite to the Huddersfield pressure, as ex-Bolton loanee Butterfield levelled the scores with a stunning drive from distance on 43 minutes.
The game resumed in a much more even fashion following the half time interval.
Bolton certainly threatened, though much of the play was very intricate and in front of a resolute Huddersfield back four.
With 65 minutes on the clock Heskey was introduced in place of Pratley in an attempt to mix up Bolton’s attacking options.
Clearcut chances were few and far between.
With 15 minutes remaining and the contest very much on a knife edge, Heskey did have the ball in the Huddersfield net only for a linesman’s flag to curtail any celebrations.
In the final ten minutes Jack Robinson forced Lonergan into another clever save with a drive from 30 yards.
But after plenty of huffing and puffing Huddersfield won the game late on, as Wells raced clear before slotting home.