Aaron Mooy’s double helped Huddersfield claim a deserved victory at Wolves to lift them off the bottom of the Premier League.
The Terriers had arrived at Molineux with the worst scoring record in the division – having mustered just six goals from their opening 12 games – but Mooy’s first goal of the campaign gave them an early lead as he placed his effort from Erik Durm’s cut-back.
The Australia midfielder then secured the points for the visitors in the second period with a curling free-kick, beating home goalkeeper Rui Patricio at his near post.
Wolves, who looked out of sorts during the first half, had threatened to equalise after the break.
However, goal-line technology showed that a Raul Jimenez header had just been cleared in time by Huddersfield midfielder Philip Billing – all but an agonising 1.8cm of the ball had crossed the line.
The result sees Huddersfield climb to 14th in the table, while Wolves remain in 11th.
Huddersfield spark into life
After a dismal start of 10 games without a victory to their second season in the Premier League, David Wagner’s Huddersfield side appear to have now sparked into life.
This win is their second in three matches, in a period when they have collected seven points from a possible nine.
Wagner took his side to Marbella in the south of Spain during the international break and at times there was a sunshine feel to their football in the West Midlands.
Mooy’s opening goal was reward for a wonderful move down the left involving Billing and Durm, and their slick passing allowed them to establish an early rhythm that the hosts struggled to contain.
The only complaint was that Huddersfield did not confirm their superiority earlier than Mooy’s second goal.
Terence Kongolo spurned a chance after a perfectly executed, pre-planned corner routine, and Patricio also saved a Steve Mounie header that was directed straight at him.
Alex Pritchard twice found himself in excellent shooting positions, and was denied on the second occasion by Wolves’ Portugal goalkeeper after a glorious interchange between Mooy and Billing on the right.
Mooy’s coup de grace, from 20 yards out, was no more than they deserved and it ensured they are unbeaten in three matches for the first time this calendar year.
Wolves fail to respond
Since their promotion to the Premier League Wolves have forged a reputation as a passing team, but also as a second-half team.
Prior to this fixture, 10 of Wanderers’ 12 goals had arrived after the interval, allowing Nuno Espirito Santo’s side to collect four victories from the opening 12 games.
That resilience has also contributed to creditable draws against both Manchester clubs, as well as Arsenal in their last Premier League encounter.
But this fixture highlighted that their capacity to recover is far from guaranteed in the top flight.
Having been hindered by a series of errant passes, a half-time revision of tactics and the introduction of Morgan Gibbs-White and Adama Traore did allow Wolves to build some momentum after the break.
And had Jimenez’s header from Traore’s cross travelled just 18mm further it may have laid the platform for a grandstand finish.
But in the aftermath of that nearest of near-misses, the impetus was lost and as Wolves’ control of possession started to drift, the visitors regained their composure and extended their lead.
Man of the match – Philip Billing (Huddersfield Town)
‘Happiness doesn’t last forever’ – what they said
Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, speaking to Match of the Day: “It was probably one of the worst performances we have had. We have to take a good look, find out why and prepare better.
“We were slightly better in second half but not enough; we were too far apart from each other. The team never felt together in both parts of the game – offensively and defensively.
“My job is easy: I have to find out why. We know that happiness doesn’t last forever but this is how you show your character, bouncing back from these moments.”
Huddersfield boss David Wagner, speaking to Match of the Day: “The players have shown better performances – or at least comparable performances – this season but they have not got the rewards.
“Today they got two goals, a clean sheet and done fantastically well. I’m so happy for them.
“They’ve shown a lot of bravery to press an opponent such as Wolves so high up the pitch. We were able to minimise their opportunities.
“Aaron Mooy is a top class player, he has this calmness on the ball. His decision making was great. You will rarely find a player with such good technique and vision who is prepared to work so hard for the team.
“It lifts the confidence and their mood. Away wins are always very important in the Premier League and now we have the first one we have to try and surf on this wave we have created.”
Huddersfield’s first win at Wolves since 1938 – the stats
- There has not been a draw between Wolves and Huddersfield in any of the past 13 encounters in all competitions – two wins for Wolves, 11 for Huddersfield.
- Huddersfield have won a top-flight match away to Wolves for the first time since December 1938, when they ran out 4-1 winners under manager Clem Stephenson (D2 L10).
- Wolves have now lost each of their past three home league games, as many defeats as in their previous 30 such matches (P30 W19 D8 L3).
- Since their promotion to the Premier League, Huddersfield Town have lost just one of their seven meetings with newly-promoted sides, winning four and drawing three.
- Huddersfield Town have won an away Premier League match without conceding a goal for the first time since their first such match in the competition (3-0 v Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park).
- Wolverhampton Wanderers have lost 13 of their past 19 home Premier League matches (W2 D4), conceding 42 goals while scoring just 17 times.
- In this match against Huddersfield, Wolves named six Portuguese players in their starting XI – the last time a side started six or more foreigners from the same country in a Premier League encounter was back in December 2013 (Newcastle – six Frenchman v Stoke).
- Aaron Mooy’s brace is the first time any Huddersfield Town player has scored more than one goal in the same Premier League match since he himself did so against Watford back in December 2017 – 344 days ago.
Wolves travel to Cardiff for their next Premier League match on Friday, 30 November (20:00 GMT). Huddersfield welcome Brighton to the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday, 1 December (15:00 GMT).