ALAN LEE ended GCSE week with an A-star performance as Town passed a significant examination of their own with plenty to be happy about.
Workmanlike Wycombe employed a 4-5-1 formation hell bent on strangling the life out of Town’s effervescent approach and making frustration the order of the day.
But when the major questions were asked, Town found all the right answers – extending their unbeaten league run to 30 matches.
Passing and probing against two solid defensive banks of red shirts, Lee Clark’s side had to be mentally strong and patient for the best part of an hour as their possession and territorial dominance earned nothing more than a handful of glimpses at goal.
That all changed, however, on 55 minutes, when Gary Roberts was sent on to provide more crossing threat and Lee was employed to use his head in more ways than one.
The manager’s decision proved spot on and was rewarded inside 40 seconds as Roberts’ back heel to Gary Naysmith was followed by a teasing cross which, as defenders closed in, Lee flicked so high and accurately that keeper Nikki Bull was left floundering in the side netting.
It was his first league goal for the club and Lee’s delight was plain for all to see.
The fans, too, who had remained extremely patient as they could see Town were toiling to break down Wycombe’s uncompromising set-up, suddenly exploded into life with an Alan Lee chant to the tune of the Boney M song ‘Daddy Cool.’
Lee responded with a sledgehammer performance of centre-forward foraging and his teammates rallied round to provide him with a stunning second in the 71st minute.
This time right-back Jack Hunt – a strong contender for top man – came up with the assist after a clever one-two with Tommy Miller left him in a pocket of space near the box.
While his previous storming runs had ultimately been thwarted, Hunt was not to be denied again as he placed a pinpoint cross to which Lee added an Exocet of a header.
The cross was akin to those which Malcolm Brown supplied with such regular quality over so many years and served only to underline what a talent young Hunt is emerging to be.
Town’s third goal came 18 minutes from time after more hard work from striker Jordan Rhodes brought an untidy tackle and a free-kick opportunity for someone with a precision left foot.
Step forward Roberts, whose curling drive whisked between defenders, missed Jamie McCombe’s flailing boot and Rhodes’ attentions at the back post and nestled nicely in the corner.
Three goals and a clean sheet were mightily pleasing, but so too was the fact that Town proved they could mix it up when the going got tough.
While some of their build-up play in the first half needed to be sharper with better crosses and shots at the finish, Town kept the ball smartly and were prepared to work backwards and forwards across the field for any chance of openings.
It wasn’t easy because Wycombe’s lack of adventure meant that, on occasions, all their players were between the ball and the goal in the final third of the pitch.
Danny Ward and Donal McDermott whipped in efforts to test Bull, as did Rhodes, while Lee Novak’s graft yielded one slip in the defence and a chance to tee-up Ward, but the right-foot shot went wide.
It was all so frustrating as Town’s back four were camped on the half way line and Ian Bennett was a virtual spectator, but there was no pushing of panic buttons and that was encouraging and commendable in the undeniably trying circumstances.
At that stage, Miller and Anton Robinson could do no more than try to prompt the wide men and full-backs, but the game opened up more for the central duo when Clark made his substitutions and changed the whole dynamic.
While not as spectacular as some wins at the Galpharm, the manner in which it was achieved augurs well for tests ahead, and the three points were not only richly deserved but should provide masses of confidence to a squad closing in nicely at the top of the table.
The Huddersfield Town webchat won't take place on Monday due to it being a Bank Holiday. It will now take place on Wednesday, August 31 between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.