Huddersfield Town 1 v 2 Tranmere Rovers

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 26/12/2002
Town continued their new year traditions with yet another loss at home to Tranmere. The result, plummeting Town deep into a relegation battle at the foot of the table, was snatched away from the Terriers despite a good performance. A spirited team display, coupled with a fantastic solo performance wasn't enough to give Town a much needed victory as an unlucky refereeing decision and some poor defending gifted Tranmere a Boxing Day bonus away from home.Huddersfield Town 1 v 2 Tranmere Rovers

The match started very promisingly for Town, as it would continue for most of the game. Within just a minute of Tranmere kicking off the ball was at the feet of Martin Smith who attempted to play in Andy Booth. Unfortunately, it seemed that the roles were the wrong way round as Boothy vainly chased the ball, full in the knowledge that his knees are well past their best. Needless to say, the ball was easy for the 'keeper to collect but it was a positive sign for the match.

Town forced their first corner of the game after just 5 minutes. It was met with an overhead kick by Martin Smith after being whipped in by Kenny Irons. It was immediately blocked, though, by the battling scousers in yellow and a follow-up from Nat Brown was equally as unsuccessful.

On ten minutes an event which could really sum up Town's fortune this season. A long punt up the field by Nat Brown looked to be heading towards the Tranmere 'keeper John Achterberg. But with Martin Smith closing in, he was rushed into making a clearance. The clearance was awful as it rested nicely at the feet of Andy Booth just outside the area. The golden chance seemed like a present from Santa after returning so quickly from injury, but he slid it very slowly towards goal making it very easy for Achterberg to recover and make the save.

On 14 minutes a corner from Kenny Irons found its way to Danny Schofield who was anticipating the pass on the penalty spot. He let fly with his left foot and managed to squeeze his shot through a crowd of bodies packing out the penalty area. He was unlucky to just have his shot saved by the 'keeper who caught a late sight of the ball.

Town's good possession play was emphasized on 27 minutes when Tranmere finally managed to muster their first opportunity of the game. Midfielder Mickey Mellon cutting in from the left wing fired high over the bar, causing Scott Bevan no hassle at all. Town's pressure ensued after that brief interlude by Tranmere.

On the half hour mark Town almost gave away a chance to Tranmere. A ball into the area was innocuously cleared by Steve Jenkins, just narrowly missing his own goal. The poor clearance brought anger from his fellow defenders as the Town players argued amongst themselves as Tranmere took the initiative and played the corner short. Fortunately, the men in yellow couldn't capitalise on Town's errors.

On 35 minutes Adi Moses ventured into parts unknown as he made a darting run from his usual defensive position. He challenged the opposition defenders down the wing and managed to spray a great ball into the area which was only narrowly missed by Lee Ashcroft, sliding across the box at full stretch.

Mellon once again showed that he was the only threat to Bevan's goal just before half-time. He was restricted once again to a long range shot as the defence stayed strong. This time his shot was a little more troubling, just inches wide of Bevan's post but still left the Liverpudlians without a goal on target going into the dressing rooms at half time.

Town started the second half just as brightly as they finished the first and always looked like taking all the points at the Mac. Just 3 minutes in and Town were causing problems in the Tranmere defence as usual. Some great footwork by Danny Schofield gained him some room just outside of the area. Instead of going directly towards goal as he should have, he laid the ball off to Kevin Sharp on the wing. His cross was knocked down by Boothy and cleared away for a corner.

The corner caused just as much havoc as the build up. The corner, taken by Martin Smith, was delivered to the exact specification for Andy Booth at the back post. His knock-down across the line was extremely dangerous and could've been poked in by absolutely anyone. Not just a Town player!

Just a minute later and Boothy was in the thick of the action again. A ball over the top was closely watched by the lanky striker who struck it first time. Under pressure from Gareth Roberts he fired his shot harmlessly over the bar.

On 57 minutes a rare moment of attacking pressure from the Tranmere players resulted in them gaining a very dubious penalty. It was quite clearly the turning point of the match as it gave Tranmere their first chance of the game, and there's no need to say that it was a good one! A trip by Moses on Gary Jones just inside the 18-yard box resulted in bodies on the floor as the referee, Mr. Leake, adjudged it to be a penalty kick.

It was an agonising blow for the Terriers, who'd put in all the hard work only to see it go to waste at the hands of one man. Shane Nicholson stepped up to take it and drilled it slightly off centre to the right of Bevan. The big 'keeper guessed the right way but was very unlucky to have the short squirm underneath his body and into the back of the net to give Tranmere the lead against the run of play.

Town looked like gaining the reward they deserved just a minute later. Some great running by Schofield down the wing had the defenders sweating as a superb ball into the area looked destined to end in a goal. With slack marking, it allowed on-loan Lee Ashcroft in unmarked at the back post. Like a guided missile it looked a cert to hit the back of the net, but despite connecting well he could only direct it into the side-netting.

As Town went in search of an equaliser it became increasingly more evident that wide balls just weren't working well enough. A corner into the area almost found the prominent head of Eddie Youds until the 'keeper only just managed to rise above the tall half-back to make the clearance. The ball, immediately shoved back in, had a ruck of players challenging for it, resulting in confusion amongst the Town ranks.

Nat Brown, reverting to a striking position, almost created a chance out of nothing on 68 minutes. Just on the corner of the area, he managed to find room away from his defender and to fire a shot towards goal. He curled it towards the far post but only narrowly put it wide.

A penetrating run by Martin Smith down the left greatly troubled defenders and gave the striker come winger some room to put in a cross. His ball fizzed menacingly across the area and should have been connected with at least, due to its great accuracy. Lee Ashcroft was one of the culprits for not putting in a challenge when he really should have.

On 72 minutes it looked like Tranmere were going to undeservedly double their lead. A swift counter attack by Tranmere had Town defenders all over the place trying to cover the gaps. A cross into the area found Simon Howarthe free in acres of space with only Scott Bevan to beat from approximately three yards out. An unbelievable point blank save by Bevan low down kept Town within reach of at least a point.

On 76 minutes the dreaded fate was sealed, as Town slumped to yet another defeat, despite some good football at times. A cross into the area caused a bit of confusion as Adi Moses tried to dig it away from his feet to make the clearance. In doing so, he inadvertently played it into the feet of the approaching Gareth Roberts who had an easy tap in to give his team a two-goal lead.

On 86 minutes Town found a breakthrough from the work of just a single player. Without any other options Martin Smith, clearly knowing he's a cut above this division, decided to go it alone down the centre. He managed to hit a sweet curling shot from about 25-yards out to beat the 'keeper with a wonderful goal to top off a dreadful evening for Town. It was simply too late in coming.

Just a couple of minutes later Smithy tried to replicate his individual work by working his way inside from the wing. This time, though, he was frustratingly unable to hit the target as he drilled it low at goal.

On 90 minutes, a hard-working but overall lacking performance from Boothy was saddened even more when a ball chipped tantalisingly into the area for the home-grown lad found him unchallenged. Finding his way in the air he connected with a glancing header but could only direct it past the goalkeepers post.


Huddersfield Town

1. Scott Bevan
2. Steve Jenkins
22. Kevin Sharp (YEL 29)
5. Adi Moses
17. Eddie Youds
27. Nat Brown
8. Kenny Irons
7. Danny Schofield
19. Martin Smith (GOAL 86)
9. Andy Booth
13. Lee Ashcroft


35. Phil Senior
33. Dwayne Mattis (ON 74)
29. John Thorrington
14. Jon Stead (ON 78)
29. Jonathan Worthington

Tranmere Rovers

1. John Achterberg
2. Graham Allen
3. Gareth Roberts (GOAL 76)
4. Mickey Mellon
25. Shane Nicholson (GOAL 58)
16. Alex Hay (OFF 81)
26. Sean Connelly
34. Gary Jones
35. Michael Jackson
11. Stuart Barlow
9. Simon Haworth


13. Russell Howarth
14. Richard Hinds (ON 81)
15. Ian Hume
20. Ryan Taylor
37. Marvin Robinson


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