Thornley sees justice done
Huddersfield Town 2 Dalton 19, Thornley 90 Wolves 1 Keane 89 Attendance: 13,854
Sunday 20 September 1998
When it comes to football pedigree, few can match the Terriers or the Wolves, who are snapping at each other's heels at the top of the First Division with the scent of past glories in their nostrils. Not before time in the case of Wolves, some would say, but with five straight league victories under their belts, Huddersfield have started to make their revival look like more than a flash in the pan.
Their manager, Peter Jackson, rescued them from the brink of relegation last season and has transformed a disheartened club into a confident outfit that functions efficiently.
Wayne Allison and Marcus Stewart are the division's most potent striking partnership thanks to a reliable supply from the pacy winger Ben Thornley and the adventurous wing-back Steve Jenkins. Their defence is disciplined and unfussy and in their captain, Barry Horne, they have a quality player as the calming influence at the heart of midfield.
It is a combination that made the more familiar names on the Wolves team sheet seem ordinary, and for almost 90 minutes a single goal looked like being enough to retain pole position in the promotion race. It came after only 18 minutes when Thornley's shot was beaten out by the Wolves goalkeeper, Mike Stowell, and Paul Dalton's follow-up struck Kevin Muscat on its way in.
Despite the height of their back three, the Wolves defence rarely looked comfortable in the air and were happy to relieve the pressure with hopeful balls upfield to Steve Bull and Robbie Keane. The tactics seemed to have paid a last-minute dividend when Simon Osborn flicked on Stowell's long clearance to Keane, who turned and lobbed Nico Vaesen for an undeserved equaliser.
The most important quality Jackson has instilled is perseverance, and in the dying seconds Thornley took advantage of a slip by Steve Sedgley to lob Stowell for the winner.
Jackson said: "Never say die is our motto and we kept going right to the end."
The Wolves manager, Mark McGhee, said: "It is the second week in a row we have lost a goal in injury time and we must address that."
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