Huddersfield Town lost again in the Championship on Tuesday evening, suffering a 2-1 defeat to high-flying AFC Bournemouth at the John Smith’s Stadium.
On the whole, it was a below-par performance from Huddersfield for 75 minutes, filled with mistakes, which were punished by superior opposition.
Were it not for the youthful exuberance of Scott High, Sorba Thomas and Rolando Aarons from the bench, the final 15 minutes of the clash would have drifted as badly as the first-half did for Carlos Corberan.
That trio have provided a selection headache heading into the weekend’s trip to Nottingham Forest, with a number of senior players that started the defeat to Bournemouth at risk of the axe falling on them.
One man that isn’t in danger of that is Aaron Rowe, who was one player to emerge from the opening 45 minutes with any credit in the bank from a Huddersfield perspective.
Whilst his teammates were making life easy for the firepower of Arnaut Danjuma, Philip Billing and Dominic Solanke, Rowe was carrying a one-man threat for the Terriers.
As our graphic above shows, Rowe produced two shots on Asmir Begovic’s goal from two touches in the penalty area, forcing the goalkeeper to turn a couple of near-post shots behind.
The 20-year-old’s direct and progressive running was causing problems for Adam Smith, with his bravery to consistently look to dribble beyond the Bournemouth right-back relieving pressure at the other end.
Ultimately, though, Billing and Solanke struck beyond Ryan Schofield as Begovic stood up to what Rowe was throwing at him.
In an attacking sense, Rowe was excellent for the first 50 minutes, combining with Lewis O’Brien after half-time as Town’s makeshift left-back rattled Begovic’s crossbar.
As Thomas was introduced and Corberan looked to be more expansive, Rowe switched from the left wing to right-back, where he took on the task of handling the dangerous Danjuma.
Exiting the game with a 45% success rate from his defensive duels and with two interceptions in the bag, he handled the threat of the Bournemouth star better than most seasoned full-backs could.
Rowe continued to push Huddersfield on in the closing stages, which was aided by High, Thomas and Aarons.
Jonathan Hogg would head Huddersfield back into the contest on 76 minutes and Huddersfield’s youngsters would apply pressure for Bournemouth to repel. Jonathan Woodgate’s side would stand firm, securing a fifth win on the bounce.
Wins at Bournemouth have been easy to come by for Woodgate, whose exceptionally talented squad flex their muscles.
Huddersfield’s so-called senior stars are failing to flex anything right now; Isaac Mbenza was hooked at half-time, Alex Pritchard warmed the bench and Juninho Bacuna served up inconsistency.
Instead, it’s the likes of High, Thomas and Aarons taking inspiration from Rowe and throwing everything at keeping Huddersfield in the Championship, knocking on the door of the starting XI.
Your gut tells you that’s the way forward as Huddersfield search for points at this crucial stage of the season.