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Wells denied again as Huddersfield slump

Mark Robins has promised a difficult couple of days on the training ground for his Huddersfield Town side after they slumped to an abject 2-0 defeat away to Doncaster Rovers this afternoon in the Sky Bet Championship.

Nahki Wells and his team-mates were considered to have not been at the races in their third successive Yorkshire derby against an opposition desperate to move away from the relegation places.

Defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium was particularly hard to take for Robins, the manager, in the wake of the euphoria that greeted a 5-0 thumping of Barnsley the previous Saturday. “Today was shocking,” Robins said. “I have got absolute nothing to take from the game. We brought over 2,000 supporters and they [Doncaster] wanted it more and bullied us. That was hugely disappointing.”

Equally disappointing is the extension of Wells's scoring drought. Once 26 minutes had elapsed, it meant that the former Bradford City striker had gone ten hours since he last found the back of the net, against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on January 18. Two minutes later, Huddersfield were behind.

As in the 2-1 defeat by QPR, poor defending at set-pieces returned to bite Huddersfield. This time, Billy Sharp was in position to flick home the second ball once Richie Wellens got in the initial downward header from a corner. David Cotterill made the points safe in the 55th minute when he scored neatly from inside the area after Huddersfield were caught chasing the game.

Doncaster, who started the day two points and two places outside the relegation zone in 20th, showed the spirit and fight required of teams in their predicament, while Huddersfield could only be termed as “timid”.

Robins added: “I don't want to take anything away from Doncaster because they worked hard and closed us down, but we haven't passed it well enough. We looked naive and timid, and a total opposite from what we delivered last week. It really isn't good enough.

“The players look as if they put so much into a win that it takes them a week to recover. The only positive is that I have plenty to work on with the players.”

The closest that Wells came to preventing his poor run in front of goal from extending to an eighth game was when he featured on the back end of a smart double save by Sam Johnstone shortly after half-time.

The defeat continues a worrying sequence from the beginning of last month, in which Huddersfield have followed victory with defeat. The fourth “episode” begins on Wednesday, when they travel to southeast London to face Charlton Athletic, who will have hoped to have recovered from their exertions tomorrow in the FA Cup quarter-finals sufficiently to resume the fight against relegation.

They will find themselves bottom of the table, albeit with as many as four games in hand, because the four teams around them, including Doncaster, won today.

No matter the plight of Chris Powell's team, who won a cup-tie at the John Smith's Stadium on January 25 in the Huddersfield's five-match losing run, Robins is expecting a response before next Saturday's fixture at home to Blackburn Rovers. “It is another one of those games when we have to put the performance behind us, but it is happening every week and it has to stop,” he said.

“The players have got to give me something because otherwise I have to change them. Doncaster are scrapping and we just haven't got into the game. We didn't earn the right to play.”

With James Vaughan, Huddersfield's leading scorer, expected to be fit for the Blackburn match, Wells, who lasted the duration today and has now not scored in 11hr 4min, could be among those playing on borrowed time.

Wells had only the one real chance in a disappointing display at the Keepmoat Stadium

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Published March 08, 2014 at 8:04 pm (Updated March 08, 2014 at 8:07 pm)

Wells denied again as Huddersfield slump

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