WALLACE LETS FLY AFTER HE IS CLEARED FOR TAKE-OFF
Carvalhal lets winger off leash
CARLOS CARVALHAL hailed match-winner Ross Wallace after the Scotland winger’s sublime 30-yard strike ended Huddersfield’s eight-game unbeaten run.
Wallace, 31, kicked a turgid Yorkshire derby into life with a fearsome left-footed effort that lanced beyond the helpless Danny Ward and into the top corner.
Fernando Forestieri then capped a fourth victory in six matches after visiting striker Jack Payne deservedly saw red for a high challenge on Sam Hutchinson.
With no goals and just two assists to his name before kick-off, Wallace has seen his value questioned by both fans and pundits this season. Carvalhal, though, says the former Burnley man has suffered for his selflessness.
“It was actually a typical goal from Ross,” said the Portuguese, whose side now sit five points clear of seventh-placed Derby.
“And let me tell you that Ross deserves this very much. Two or three games this season, he had specific tactical work to do, to block the opponent and play a little more deep. He sacrificed himself to the team, to defend for us and create space for his colleagues.
“Sometimes people don’t know this. They look at him and see he is far away from the ball or not attacking so much and get frus-
trated. But for me he is very important.
“He didn’t have this sort of role to do in this game. We gave him permission to fly and he flew very well. It was a fantastic goal.”
The eruption of second-half action was in stark contrast to a dire first period that Huddersfield controlled but rarely illuminated.
Though Nahki Wells spurned a header in the opening minute, the remainder was little more than an extended keep-ball session aimed – successfully – at frustrating the home side.
“We made too many mistakes,” added Carvalhal. “Our wingers were too deep, too far away from the ball.
“We know how Huddersfield react when they lose the ball. This week we prepared for their pressure but in the first half we forgot a little to do this.
“In the second half all that changed. We moved the ball faster, started pressing. Then Huddersfield had problems.”
They did, though without Wallace’s spectacular intervention, it was difficult to see the Owls crafting anything to trouble the imperious Christopher Schindler and Michael Hefele.
Thereafter, the visitors struggled to shrug off the shackles of their gameplan and when Payne leapt in on Hutchinson – late, frustrated, but not malicious – the game was effectively up.
Debutant Sam Winnall, signed on Friday from Barnsley, twice went close before Forestieri curled narrowly wide. And with the Terriers increasingly ragged, the tireless Italian finally got on the scoresheet in injury-time.
Huddersfield’s toothlessness was illustrated by the fact their best chances fell to centre-back Hefele, the last while operating as a makeshift centre-forward.
Having twice headed wide, the German then galloped onto a stray backpass only to hammer an ungainly effort against a post.
“We were not clinical enough,” said manager David Wagner, whose side remain fourth. “We have to be honest about that. We had opportunities and in a tight game you have to take them.”
The German also criticised the performance of referee Graham Scott, questioning Payne’s red card and both Wednesday goals. “Three big decisions went against us,” he said. “One before the first goal, when Wells was fouled by Hutchinson.
“The second goal – was Forestieri offside? And the red card was probably a yellow. The fourth official told me it was a stamp after the ball was gone, but I know Jack and he is one of the nicest people on this planet. He wouldn’t have done that.
“He wasn’t frustrated. It wasn’t a reaction. We like to win the ball back immediately and that is what he tried to do. He just came too late.”
OH YES! Ross Wallace celebrates his long-range opener
PAYNE GAME: Huddersfield’s Jack Payne tangles with Ross Wallace and, inset, Payne is sent off