NOW tell the truth, how many of you saw this coming?

Sit back and savour the stats for a moment. This was Cherries’ biggest away win in the second tier and their biggest away win on the opening day since joining the Football League in 1923.

It might have been even better.

Had Callum Wilson netted Cherries’ fifth from the penalty spot, not only would he have scored his first senior hat-trick but it would have surpassed the club’s best opening-day performance in 91 years of League football – the 5-1 victory over Swindon in August 1932.

But let’s not split hairs, this was a magnificent display on so many levels.

From the groundwork that went into Eddie Howe’s tactical master plan to the swift, incisive move that saw Huddersfield hit the canvas after just 24 seconds, Cherries instantly ensured there would be no repeat of the 5-1 mauling they suffered on the same patch 12 months ago.

Cherries were well-drilled, aware of their positions and able to capitalise on every nook and cranny of space. The rigid hosts didn't adjust. Frankly, it was embarrassing at times.

The tone was set from kick-off as Charlie Daniels attempted to roll a ball down the left.

Huddersfield intercepted the pass but could only respond with a hopeful hoof straight back to Daniels. The Cherries left-back changed tack and worked the ball across to Eunan O’Kane who spread the play to the on-rushing Simon Francis.

A quick lay-off was the invite Matt Ritchie needed to ping a delightful inswinging ball which Pugh read perfectly, stealing a march on debutant Matt Crooks to sweep home.

From the moment Daniels retrieved possession, Cherries carved open their counterparts with 12 technically sound touches.

Huddersfield, however, failed to heed the warning signs with former Manchester United youngster Crooks – playing the right side of a back three – left hopelessly exposed as the predatory Pugh raced into vast areas of space twice more within the opening eight minutes.

On the other side, Francis set up partner-in-crime Ritchie to flash a dipping effort just past Alex Smithies’ far post, while Joel Lynch and Lee Peltier simply couldn’t cope with the pace and physicality of debutant Wilson.

The ex-Coventry man’s well-timed arching runs into the channels dragged his opponents all over the place, while the stranded Smithies was grateful for the help of his defensive colleagues when Wilson nipped in to steal possession only to be denied by an impossible angle.

But that right channel was ripe for the picking and Tommy Elphick’s simple ball over the top set up Wilson to swat away the powder-puff presence of Lynch and surge inside before calmly beating Smithies at his near post.

Cherries managed the rest of the half well, affording Town more of the ball while remaining in control.

Midfielder Oliver Norwood, one of the few Huddersfield players to emerge with any credit from a torturous afternoon, rattled Lee Camp’s crossbar with a speculative effort from distance but the hosts still left the pitch to a crescendo of boos at half-time.

In what proved to be one of the last rites of Mark Robins’ tenure at the John Smith’s Stadium, the ineffective Adam Hammill was replaced by Sean Scannell at the interval but any hope of a fightback was soon quashed when Cherries again exploited the space their slick passing had created.

Ritchie’s run and cutback found O’Kane who delivered a searching ball to the back post. Pugh headed straight at Smithies but Yann Kermorgant was on hand to convert the rebound.

Huddersfield did enjoy a brief flurry of corners from which they mustered a handful of efforts, the pick of which saw Camp tip over Crooks’ effort but the home crowd, already incensed by Robins’ withdrawal of Radoslaw Majewski, grew more restless when Cherries pounced for their fourth on the break.

Ritchie scampered down the right, collecting Steve Cook’s raking diagonal ball and evading two markers to whip in a low near-post ball for Wilson who carefully caressed beyond the despairing dive of Smithies.

Even the most optimistic among the 550 Cherries supporters behind the goal would have been pinching themselves, though they soon got one prediction right when they goaded Robins with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning”.

Not satisfied with his double, Wilson harassed Lynch and pounced on a poor header back to Smithies before drawing a foul from the home custodian who was booked for his indiscretion by referee Scott Duncan.

The crowd got their wish and the scene was set for Wilson to claim his first matchball and rewrite club history, only for his scuffed spot-kick to trickle into the grateful grasp of Smithies.

In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t even a fly in the ointment and who knows, maybe Wilson unwittingly did his boss a favour.

After kicking off with that, the growing sense of anticipation at Dean Court may prove harder for Howe to manage than his ever-improving unit will.


IT was just like watching Lewis Grabban.

Not just for his two goals, Wilson tops the pile of fantastic Cherries performances for replicating exactly what the club’s former talisman used to offer.

Dragging defenders into channels, holding off rugged opponents with ease and showing a knack in front of goal, his all-round game was spot-on, inspiring Eddie Howe’s team to make the most of Huddersfield’s inadequacies.

Matt Ritchie was his usual majestic self at the hub of Cherries' best moments, making the most of his flourishing partnership with forward-thinking full-back Simon Francis.

Marc Pugh played with intelligence throughout and kept his cool for the opener, but no one could deny Wilson his day in the sun. Frightening potential. 


Huddersfield Town: Smithies; Crooks, Peltier, Lynch; Hammill (Scannell, h-t), Hogg (Coady, 69), Norwood, Majewski (Lolley, 57), Dixon; Ward, Wells.

Unused subs: Wallace, Smith, Stead, Murphy (g/k).

Booked: Smithies, Norwood.

Cherries: Camp 7.5; Francis 8.5, Elphick 8, Cook 8, Daniels 8; Ritchie 9, Arter 8.5, O'Kane 8.5, Pugh 8.5; (Stanislas, 90), Kermorgant 8 (Gosling, 82), Wilson 9*(Rantie, 82).

Unused subs: Harte, Ward, Pitman, Buchel (g/k).

Booked: Cook. 

Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland).

Attendance: 12,371 (including 550 visiting supporters).