MILL­WALL HIT BY CHRIS CURVE­BALL

Ol­lie: We were not ex­pect­ing his tac­tics

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Steven Chicken

HUD­DER­S­FIELD boss Chris Pow­ell mod­estly laughed off Ian Hol­loway’s claims of a tac­ti­cal master­class after a Nahki Wells dou­ble gave the Ter­ri­ers vic­tory over Mill­wall.

Mill­wall boss Hol­loway ad­mit­ted his side were sur­prised by Pow­ell’s decision to play 3-5-2.

“Chris threw us a bit of a curve­ball by play­ing three at the back,” he said.

“We hadn’t pre­pared to play against them like that.We thought it’d be 4-3-3, even with the teamsheet that came out.

“I got them in at half-time and couldn’t wait to say what I said, but then we got worse after that.”

Pow­ell re­sponded: “It wasn’t done with Mill­wall in mind. It was more for our group of play­ers.

“You want to get the best out of them, and es­pe­cially be­cause we hadn’t won.

“I just thought it lent it­self to play­ing that way.

“I thought it was a slow burner as a per­for­mance but, although they scored, we looked a bit more se­cure.

“It’s nice of Ian to say that we’ve flum­moxed him – it’s not de­lib­er­ate, but I’ll take it!”

Nei­ther side was likely to set­tle for a draw in a game be­tween two sides who, be­tween them, had won just one of 13 games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Sure enough, Wells’ dou­ble swung it for Hud­der­s­field, who picked up their first home win in six months, much to Pow­ell’s de­light.

“It’s a long time com­ing, not for me, but more for our fans and for the foot­ball club, that we’ve fi­nally won at home,” he added.

“When you come to a new club, you just want to get a pos­i­tive re­sult and, es­pe­cially after last week, there was a lot of soulsearch­ing with the play­ers.”

The game was char­ac­terised by a packed mid­field, with both sides putting five men into the mid­dle third, lead­ing to a paucity of chances.

It al­ways seemed the re­sult could go ei­ther way – and that it would take ei­ther a mo­ment of ge­nius or some woe­ful de­fend­ing to de­cide it.

Wells pro­vided the for­mer, to liven up what had been a horri- bly tepid first half on 37 min­utes, meet­ing Harry Bunn’s flick with a won­der­ful left-footed half-vol­ley.

Mill­wall is­sued a re­sponse just three min­utes later.

This time, it was er­ror rather than in­spi­ra­tion, with Hud­der­s­field al­low­ing Ed Up­son to go un­marked in the penalty box.

Up­son had even fired a warn­ing shot ten min­utes ear­lier, hit­ting the bar with a curl­ing ef­fort.

And he was suc­cess­ful when he tried the trick again from Scott McDon­ald’s clev­erly dinked cross.

Another blun­der fol­lowed 12 min­utes into the sec­ond half as Nicky Bai­ley – who had been huff­ing and puff­ing all game – was turned by Harry Bunn on the edge of the box and re­sponded by felling the Hud­der­s­field striker.

After fu­ri­ous Bai­ley nar­rowly avoided ar­gu­ing him­self into a sec­ond yel­low card, Wells con­verted the re­sult­ing spot kick – right-footed this time – into David Forde’s bot­tom right cor­ner.

This time, the Lions were un­able to hit back, with only a Mark Beev­ers vol­ley test­ing the Hud­der­s­field keeper 20 min­utes from time.

Hol­loway ex­pressed his frus­tra­tions.

“I was dis­ap­pointed in the over­all game,” he said.

“That’s as poor as I’ve seen us and we didn’t look like the same play­ers.

“It’s re­ally dif­fi­cult for me to talk about this be­cause it didn’t look like my team.

“The play­ers have been play­ing so well for how­ever many months, but they couldn’t pass it and made the wrong de­ci­sions all day.

“The more I say about that the worse I’m go­ing to get and the more an­noyed I’m go­ing to get.”

PIC­TURES: Gor­don Clayton

FIN­GER OF FATE: Nahki Wells cel­e­brates his first goal for Hud­der­s­field

ONE FOR THE AL­BUM: Nahki Wells scores his sec­ond from the penalty spot

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