So on a warm autumnal afternoon, high flying Huddersfield condemn City to their biggest home defeat since, well, Huddersfield were last in town actually, running out 4-0 winners in front of 4244 supporters. City lined up: Krysiak; Golbourne, Coles, Archibald-Henville, Tully; Oakley, Noble, Dunne; Nardiello, Bauza, Taylor.
A decent line up then, and a very fluid 4-3-3 formation with any of the three front men able to slot into midfield should it be required, but, as seems to be City's luck at the moment, against the run of play and after a decent start by City, Huddersfield took the lead in the seventh minute in a move that was as easy as it was clinical. A simple ball was played out wide to Jack Hunt who hit a first time diagonal ball at pace along the floor to the near post. The vastly experienced Alan Lee left Danny Coles on his heels as he nipped in front to confidently slot past Krysiak from half a dozen yards out to make it 1-0 to the visitors with them barely breaking sweat.
City pressed for an equaliser, but the Huddersfield defence stayed big and strong and gave the City attack nothing, although it has to be said not a lot was happeneing at either end when all of a sudden in the 25th minute Huddersfield got a second. A misdirected header from Dunne bounced over Coles towards the edge of the box allowing Jordan Rhodes an unchecked run in on goal. Krysiak rushed out with no hope of getting to the ball making Rhodes' mind up for him on what to do as he calmly slid the ball under the City keeper to make it 2-0.
Ironically City then enjoyed their best spell of the half and almost pulled a goal back moments later when Tully fired the ball in from the right where Taylor laid the ball back from near the far post for Bauza to smash a first time effort high to the roof of the net from five yards out. Instinctively the keeper threw his arms up to block, just getting enough on it to push it over the bar for a corner.
With ten minutes to go City worked another decent chance when once again Tully took the ball down the right before hooking a cross towards the far post. Nardiello rose to head goalwards, but under intense pressure from a defender could only nod the ball over. In the final minute of the half Huddersfield almost had a third, but Lee's looping header from a corner to the edge of the box bounced off the top of the bar and onto the Bank.
At the start of the second half manager Tisdale made a shock substitution of Krysiak for Pidgeley, however he would later explain in his post match interview that it was because Krysiak had picked up a hamstring injury early on that was getting progressively worse as the half progressed. But the loss of their keeper merely served to make City more determined, and within sixty seconds of the restart City had the ball in the net. Celebrations were short lived unfortunately, as the linesman had long since had his flag aloft for offside against Taylor playing the ball back to Nards to drill low across the keeper.
Taylor trickery down the left minutes later ended with a fine cross to the edge of the six yard box were Bauza headed the ball back across goal, but his effort lacked the power to trouble the keeper unduly. On the quarter hour Tully was withdrawn for Sercombe, presumably in the hope that Sercombe would attack more down the right flank, but all of that went out the window two minutes later when Huddersfield scored a third, once again against the run of play and seconds after Dunne had curled a good looking effort inches wide of the far post at the other end. A Huddersfield forward held the ball up well on the corner of the six yard box, and while the defence were hesitant to step in and clear, Rhodes powered the ball across Pidge low into the far corner for his second of the game making it 3-0 to the visitors.
But to their credit City battled hard, no more so than the excellent Noble who worked a good looking ball inside to Nardiello who tried to place the ball around the keeper to the far post. The keeper stuck an arm out to deflect it, unfortunately just behind the rushing Bauza who surely would have had a simple tap in to an empty net. Bauza then set up Taylor with a chance 25 yards out, but he hit his shot high onto the Bank.
With ten minutes to go O'Flynn was introduced at Bauza's expense, then with a couple of minutes left Huddersfield stole themselves a fourth. Danny Ward raced away down the left and swung in a fine cross that just evaded Pidge to give the unmarked Rhodes a free header at the back post for his hat trick and a 4-0 scoreline to the visitors. Deep into stoppage time Noble lifted over a cross that Troy headed down to the keeper's left, but he plunged on the ball easily enough and soon after that was that.
But it was an odd sort of game though. Undoubtedly Huddersfield are a team of genuine quality - the best we've played this season according to Tisdale - and their confidence will be through the roof with an unbeaten run of close to 40 games behind them, but even so the 4-0 scoreline seems harsh on City. Their first and third goals were while City were in the ascendency, the second from a defensive mistake and the fourth very late on, but then that's the difference between teams like ours and teams like theirs - they had five chances and buried four with clinical strikes, we couldn't buy a goal no matter what we tried.
But we tried. Very hard as it happened, and in the second half in particular we played some good stuff and created some decent chances, and it has to be said for majority of the game, against one of the division's better sides, didn't look like a team that would end up bottom of the pile come May. So keep the faith people, and keep supporting the team. They really are trying their best, and everyone from the players to the management to the backroom staff to the board are doing their utmost to turn the corner and get back to a winning run. It'll come soon, surely, so trust in your team and stick with it, you wouldn't want to miss it, would you? See you next Saturday then, when Rochdale visit the Park - it might be the game when we finally get our season properly underway.