Huddersfield Town 2 v 3 Swindon Town

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 23/11/2002
A succession of wins for Swindon within the past week leave Town out of every cup competition this season and facing the low-life Division 3 next season. A high-scoring game, in which neither team looked truly threatening was edged marginally by Swindon as they grabbed a late goal and gained themselves a lucky penalty. This is by no means an excuse for yet another poor performance from a Town side which has now gone 8 games without a victory. The referee may be scapegoated for his ineptness by Wadsworth but it doesn?t cover the cracks within his team that appear to be widening into gaping holes.Huddersfield Town 2 v 3 Swindon Town

Having being dumped out of the F.A. Cup last Saturday by a late goal from Andy Gurney it seemed the most likely situation for Town to come out all guns blazing and to punish Swindon for such an unwarranted exit. Far from it, though. The start couldn?t have been any worse as some very slack Town defending immediately from kick-off gifted Swindon with a nice early lead which they could sit on.

Just 49 seconds old and a move started by Danny Invincible which allowed Eric Sabin the freedom down the wing to cut a ball into the area. It was written all over Town?s faces as the ball landed at the feet of David Duke. With the utmost composure, amidst a sea of blue and white panic Duke nestled the ball home into Bevans right hand corner. The goal was enough to single Swindon?s intentions to shut-up shop an walk home with all three points.

Town, still reeling from the effects of the early goal, almost allowed Invincible to double Swindon?s lead. He craftily manoeuvred his way around a Town defence which seemed baffled by his ball control. Having found himself space while unbelievably surrounded by three Town defenders he despatched his shot. Fortunately for Town a toe end managed to poke it wide of the target.

Having weathered some early pressure Town finally came to terms with the situation. They were one-goal down and it was their job to go at the game. Town first shot came on 13-minutes when Steve Jenkins, encouraged by the 8 thousand Town fans in attendance, blasted a shot high and wide from way out.

The game was then held up for three minutes after wingman Simon Baldry received a bandage and some stitches for a gash in his head. The patchworked Baldry then delivered a cross towards the area which found Schofield. He dragged the ball wide of his defender but could only fire over with such little room to work in.

Then, on 23 minutes came one of the most dubious penalties I have ever seen. An almost lost cause was chased by Danny Invincible as he tussled with Kevin Sharp for supremacy. The ball looked to be heading out of play until somehow Invincible managed to hook his foot round Sharp and jab it towards the penalty spot. Then, seemingly out of nowhere the referee Mr E. Evans decided to blow up for a penalty. It was one of the most ludicrous decisions I have ever seen ? and definitely gave us a great challenge for the rest of the game. Sharp received a yellow card for his troubles and Jenkins was awarded a yellow card as well after trying to plead his fellow defenders case to Mr Evans.

Needless to say, Andy Gurney, having scored against us last week made it two in two by slotting home the penalty. Pitting his wits against Scott Bevan he drove the ball straight down the middle sending the big, bald ?keeper the wrong way.

Half an hour into the match and Smith trouble Griemink in goal with a poor shot. The Swindon shot-stopper seemed to catch sight of the ball late as Smith?s trailing shot squirmed away from him. Unfortunately, our lack of a goal poacher was shown as no-one managed to pounce on the unexpected opportunity, which allowed Swindon to clear their lines.

Just three minutes later and a touch of class from Smith broke Town?s baron run to an end. He slowly edged his way towards the Swindon area until he caught site of a misplaced goalkeeper. He swung that magical left foot and chipped an embarrassed Mark Griemink from all of 20-yards. The goal sparked life in a previously uninspired and down-trodden Town team.

Although Town looked lively they were unable to break the lock that had formed as the Robin?s defence. Some great possession play lacked execution and Town went into the dressing room at half-time knowing a lot of hard work was still needed to gain anything from the game.

The second half got off to a slow start as both teams looked to warm themselves up as the numbing winter weather surrounded the McAlpine. Town?s first chance of the game almost resulted in an bit of luck (for once) when a cross-field ball by Smith hit Alan Reeves on the arm inside the six-yard box. The ball seemed to have beaten his keeper but Griemink was quick to act and to stop yet another embarrassing goal going past him.

3 minutes later, and Smith was still looking to create chances for his teammates. Unfortunately his teammates weren?t as willing to get on the end of them. A lively looking Danny Schofield seemed to fizzle out in the second half as was shown when a great through-ball by Smithy was only half-heartedly chased by the winger as he allowed the defender space in front of him to win the ball.

Young Jon Worthington, making only his third appearance for the club, replaced the experienced Simon Baldry on the right in an attempt to turn some of Town?s possession into opportunities on 58 minutes.

Schofield?s motivation and determination was questioned on 62 minutes when a mistake by Griemink laid the ball at Schofield?s feat. Instead of taking his chance to slot the ball home into an unguarded net Schofield decided to take on the Swindon team, immediately missing out on a great goalscoring chance.

Huddersfield replaced Holland with Thorrington on 68 minutes in a bid to go out-and-out attacking. The away side, trying to keep hold of their lead replaced the injured Sabin with Sam Parkin just moments earlier.

Martin Smith came close with a free kick on the edge of the area. Unlike his usual free-kicks, though, he was unable to test the man between the sticks and instead could only direct the ball over the bar.

Possibly Town?s greatest chance of an equaliser came with just ten minutes on the clock. Some great passing movement finally seemed to have momentarily torn Swindon?s rock-solid unit apart. A deep cross by Sharp found Thorrington awaiting unmarked at the back. Not knowing how much time or space he had he simply smashed his shot high and wide much to the disappointment of the Town fans.

On 85 minutes, substitute Nat Borwn having replaced the ineffective Schofield just a minute earlier, was in the thick of the Town frontline for a corner. Thorrington floated it towards the back post and the towering defender-turned-attacker rose above his marker to head the ball towards the roof of the goal. The shot looked goalbound, with a stranded Griemink aimlessly leaping across his line, until it rebounded off the crossbar and was cleared from the Swindon area.

Insult was added to injury on 87 minutes when the Robin?s extended their lead following a speedy counter-attack. Danny Invincible, who caused Sharp no end of trouble down the left, laid the ball square for substitute Parkin who gladly accepted the invitation of a tap-in from a couple of yards out. The goal sparked a mass walkout from Town fans and even a group of agitated fans to surround Wadsworth?s dugouts calling for his head.

The goal wasn?t the last, though, and in front of just a few Town fans remaining Stead grabbed a rare goal with just one minute left. After ricocheting around the Swindon area, with many Swindon players still thinking about their lead, the ball hit the chest of Stead and snuck past the goalkeeper to bring the game to 2-3.

The goal was too little and too late for Town to get back into it as they saw themselves edge into the relegation zone.

Man of the match ? Martin Smith (7): Almost head and shoulders above the rest. Still, not a great performance by his standards, but enough to secure him the MOTM award amongst a group of players who played well below par today.

Teams:

Huddersfield Town:

1. Scott Bevan
2. Steve Jenkins (CAP) (Yel, 22)
22. Kevin Sharp (Yel, 22)
17. Eddie Youds
5. Adi Moses
11. Simon Baldry (OFF 58)
33. Dwayne Mattis
6. Chris Holland (OFF 68)
7. Danny Schofield (OFF 84)
14. Jon Stead (Yel, 50) (Goal 89)
19. Martin Smith (Goal 35)

Subs:

35. Phil Senior
10. John Thorrington (ON 68)
27. Nat Brown (ON 84)
28. Paul Scott
29. Jon Worthington (ON 58)

Swindon Town:

1. Bart Griemink
3. Johnnie Jackson
4. Matty Hewlett
6. Andy Gurney (CAP) (Yel, 43) (Goal 23)
10. Stefani Miglioranzi
11. David Duke (OFF 74) (Goal 1)
14. Eric Sabin (OFF 63)
17. Danny Invincible
19. Matty Heywood
22. Alan Reeves (Yel, 45)
25. Steve Robinson (Yel, 68)

Subs:

18. Craig Farr
2. Gareth Edds (ON 74)
5. Adam Willis
9. Sam Parkin (ON 63) (Goal 87)
26. Alan Young

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