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FRIENDLY: Wanderers 1 Huddersfield Town 1

Late Sadlier stunner ends build-up on a high for Whites

23 July 2022

Wanderers will head into their League One campaign on a high thanks to a stunning injury-time strike from Kieran Sadlier.

The Whites looked as though they may set off for Ipswich Town next Saturday with just the boost of an impressive performance against Championship opposition to show for their efforts.

But they will also take a positive result into their final week’s preparation thanks to substitute Sadlier’s sublime finish with almost the last kick of the game.

Sadlier celebration.jpg

Huddersfield – beaten in last season’s Championship play-off final – looked as though they would sign off their pre-season programme with a win after Danny Ward’s header at the end of the first half had given them the lead.

But Wanderers were the better side for much of a decent contest and after knocking on the door for almost the entire second 45 minutes finally got their reward when Sadlier curled a cracker into the top corner.

Huddersfield also sent a side to play at Tranmere but brought close to a full-strength team to the UniBol and could have led early on through Sorba Thomas, who mis-cued his attempted finish.

But Wanderers – missing Jon Dadi Bodvarsson with a minor knock – were then on top for a spell as they moved the ball around nicely in a bid to open up the town defence.

The best opportunity came the way of Dapo Afolayan – who was a real threat as Dion Charles’ attacking partner.

Santos header.jpg

But after being released by Declan John, who also showed plenty of penetration down the left flank, Afolayan dragged his shot just wide.

Town had their moments with James Trafford pushing a header over the bar from substitute Kieran Phillips, who also saw an effort blocked by a combination of Trafford and skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos.

But Wanderers looked as though they would go into the break level until ex-White Ward climbed well to meet a fine Thomas cross and head home.

Town could then have doubled their lead five minutes into the second half when long-serving skipper Jonathan Hogg glanced a corner inches wide.

But the Whites responded impressively to dominate for much of the remainder of an entertaining game.

Afolayan shot.jpg

Ian Evatt’s men created chances as they again moved the ball impressively to work some decent openings, with Afolayan invariably involved.

He had a couple of goalbound efforts, although no-one came closer to an equaliser than Santos – desperate to score his first Wanderers’ goal this season – who headed an Aaron Morley corner against a post.

Gethin Jones – back to fitness following a knee injury – then crossed for the hard-working Charles to send a flying header wide.

And as the Whites continued to press, Conor Bradley saw a goalbound effort blocked by Josh Ruffels as the on-loan Liverpool defender looked to mark his first home outing for the Whites with a goal.

Evatt then made changes as he used all seven of his outfield substitutes.

Bakayoko frustration.jpg

And Amadou Bakayoko, so often a goalscorer off the bench last season, almost did it again when he met a low cross from Sadlier with a first-time effort which was superbly blocked by Town keeper Lee Nicholls.

Wanderers deserved a leveller but looked as though it wasn’t be when the lively Bakayooko met another cross, this time from John, a minute into injury time with a downward header which bounced wide.

There was still time, though, for one last thrust and in the 94th-minute Sadlier capped a lively cameo with a moment of magic to finally find a way through, making space near the corner of the penalty area to get the ball onto his left foot and curl a beauty into the top corner to send Wanderers into the real thing on a high.

Bradley shot.jpg

Wanderers: Trafford; Jones (Aimson 75), Santos, Johnston (Thomason 78); Bradley (Sadlier 75), Morley (Dempsey 78), Williams, John; Lee (Bakayoko 68); Charles (Kachunga 75), Afolayan (Iredale 77). Substitutes: Dixon.

Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Pearson (Phillips 13), Turton, Hogg, Lees, Ruffels (Daly 87), Thomas (Bright 77), Russell, Holmes, Koroma, Ward (Krasniqi 86). Substitutes: Roxburgh, Schofield, Phillips, Eccleston.

Referee: Darren Handley

Attendance: 4,421 (411 Huddersfield)


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