HUDDERSFIELD TOWN succumbed to some slick second-half passing from the Spanish as Barcelona B chalked a 2-0 win at the John Smith’s Stadium last night.
A crowd of 7,951 enjoyed some enterprising play from both sides before Gerard Deulofeu (penalty, 63) and Araujo (68) settled it for the visitors, who play Bolton tomorrow.
Led by Peter Clarke, Grayson’s promotion-winning players got a rousing reception from the crowd – most seeing them for the first time since Wembley – and especially striker Jordan Rhodes who has been the subject of much transfer speculation.
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New signings Joel Lynch, Paul Dixon, Keith Southern, Oliver Norwood, Adam Clayton and Sean Scannell were in the starting line-up at home for the first time in Town colours.
Anthony Gerrard, who completed his move only hours before the game against the Segunda Division side, was not in the squad.
Town adopted a 4-5-1 formation for much of the early stages as the Spanish side dominated possession, but the best chance of the first 10 minutes fell to Grayson’s men, when Norwood releasing Rhodes into space for a shot across goal which screwed well off target.
Barca showed a glimpse of their skills on 13 minutes when Grimaldo found an opening for Dongou, but the burly striker clipped his shot wide with Alex Smithies advancing from his line to narrow the angle.
Jack Hunt and the impressive Scannell both enjoyed surging runs towards the Barca box and Norwood caught the eye, but he badly wasted a free-kick, firing high after Rhodes had been tripped five yards outside the box.
Southern announced his arrival with a scything challenge on Espinosa, while Clayton received treatment to his right leg after clashing accidentally with Roman.
Scannell fired a shot across the face of goal as Town completed a satisfactory first half hour with some neat touches and passing from the midfield.
With Lee Novak operating wide right and Scannell on the left, there was plenty of room for Norwood to probe and for Southern and Clayton to get involved behind lone frontman Rhodes.
And Town finished the half with a flourish.
Firstly, a terrific burst from Scannell released Novak to cross just behind Rhodes and then, in the next attack, only neat covering from Grimaldo prevented Rhodes scoring from Dixon’s cross.
Dixon was the provider again as Novak tested keeper Jordi Masip Lopez with a downward header.
Barca manager Eusabio Sacristan made eight changes at half time and found an immediate spark, with Kiko playing in Lobato for a shot which was deflected wide by Peter Clarke.
Two minutes later, Wembley hero Smithies was called on seriously for the first time as he blocked from lively substitute Kiko as he skipped into the left side of the area.
Grayson made his first change on the hour, replacing Norwood with Danny Ward, while Southern was booked for a foul on Gustavo Ledes.
Then, on 63 minutes, Dixon was penalised for a late challenge on Gerard Deulofeu – spotted by the assistant – inside the box, and the player who has been a Liverpool interest got up to send Smithies the wrong way from the penalty spot to put his side ahead.
Six minutes later, Barca went two ahead when a lovely back heel from Araujo put Luis Albert through and, when Smithies blocked, Araujo followed up to sidefoot into an unguarded net.
Grayson sent on Calum Woods for Dixon and Oscar Gobern for Southern as the game quietened down.
Unfortunately for Town, late chances for Jimmy Spencer (twice) and Clayton brought no reward.
Town – Smithies, Hunt, P Clarke, Lynch (Wallace 88), Dixon (Woods 70), Southern (Gobern 70), Norwood (Ward 60), Clayton, Scannell, Novak (Atkinson 75), Rhodes (Spencer 79). Subs: Bennett,
Barcelona B – Masip, Baliu (Patric HT), Sergi Gomez (Sergi Juste 75), Planas, Espinosa (Luis Alberto HT), Dongou Tsafack (Araujo HT), Grimaldo (Lomban HT), Agostinho Ca (Ledes HT), Quintilla (Lobato HT), Miguel Maza (Kiko HT), Roman (Deulofeu HT). Subs: Olazabal, Banuz.
Referee – Andre Mariner (Birmingham).
A Town Development side including trialist Scott Kay (who played at Chesterfield the previous night) lost 3-0 at Burnley yesterday.