Huddersfield Town 4 v 0 Chesterfield

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 05/04/2003
A glory fan, me? Nah, it?s just a coincidence that my first match report back is when we win 4-0! :) But what a game! An absolutely dominating display, similar to the performance Manchester United put in against Liverpool just a few hours earlier. Town were very rock-solid at the back and managed to create numerous chances as well as combining them with some superb finishing! We?d better watch out ? some people might start thinking we?re a football team if we carry on like that!Huddersfield Town 4 v 0 Chesterfield

Town started very brightly but the first piece of danger came from the Chesterfield lads. Jeff Lee spotted an incident on the edge of Town?s area between Chris Holland and Steve Payne. The early chance was duly wasted by Payne who, having earned the free-kick, managed to send his weak shot low straight into the wall, diffusing the opportunity immediately.

Andy Booth, challenging with his back to goal was brought down in a similar position at the other end of the pitch earning Town their own free-kick at the edge of the area after 8 minutes. Young John Stead, relatively inexperienced at free-kick taking, managed to dispatch his shot very narrowly over the bar, under the watchful eye of veteran Martin Smith.

It looked set for a free-kick to open the scoring of the game when a third close-range free-kick was awarded, once again to Town. This time, it was left to the educated left foot of Martin Smith who curled his shot over the wall and to the right of the Chesterfield ?keeper Andy Richmond. Only his acrobatic one-handed stop could keep the ball from ripping the back of the net off.

After just 15 minutes Town deservedly, but luckily, opened there account. A long punt down the field from Phil Senior was flicked on by the towering Andy Booth. Martin Smith raced down the middle and latched onto the ball before firing a half-volley straight down the middle. It looked like an easy one for Richmond but the pace on the ball meant it squirmed under his body and agonisingly trickled over the line to give Town the lead.

Chesterfield almost hit back immediately when striker-cum-donkey Glynn Hurst raced down the left, exposing the Town defence who were clearly still mesmerised by the early goal. His ball in found Caleb Folan who looked like he couldn?t miss with only the goal to get in his way. Fortunately for Town, though, he spurned his chance high over Senior?s bar.

An amazing goal from a tight angle gave John Stead his first goal of 2003 on the 22nd minute. Danny Schofield ran at the Chesterfield defence, and with options left and right he opted for John Stead running down the left. The young striker, who isn?t acclaimed for his finishing ability, coolly lobbed the ball over the grounded ?keeper from a very tight angle to put a big smile on both his and the Town fans? faces.

Stead, now playing with confidence, created a superb chance on 26 minutes for his fellow academy team-mate Jon Worthington. After drawing in the Spireites defence he managed to slip the ball to his awaiting partner. In space, Worthington fluffed his chance well wide of the goal, after not realising the amount of time available.

Just moments later it was Stead again posing the Chesterfield defence all sorts of problems sent a magnificent ?Beckham-esque? cross-field ball to Andy Booth. From the halfway line, he lofted a ball with the outside of his right foot eluding all defenders in its wake. Booth, in space, turned sharply but couldn?t keep his shot grounded and could only watch it fly harmlessly over the bar.

Booth came close again when Martin Smith?s ball into the box met the gangly striker who leapt above his marker. Having risen to the challenge (pun intended) he headed the ball back across goal leaving Andy Richmond routed to the spot. The whole McAlpine took a deep breath as the ball flashed across the goal, only to see it end up the wrong side of the post.

On 43 minutes it seemed that Town would make it 3-0 before the break. Steve Blatherwick, having been exposed numerous times by the pacey Jon Stead, brought the striker down in the box giving Jeff Winter an easy decision. Martin Smith, having already converted two penalties in recent games, stepped up at the plate. A change of tactic threw Smith, though, as his usual ?placed? shot was replaced by a ?power? shot and he could only watch on as he spanked the ball skyward.

The inevitable occurred just 5 minutes into the second half. After a sluggish start from both teams, a free-kick was given away by Martyn Booty outside the area who proceeded to protest, earning himself a booking and an advancing of the free-kick. With the goal in his sights, Smithy drilled his shot low and wide of the wall into the gaping hole left by the ?keeper, making amends for his penalty miss just minutes earlier.

Martin Smith blazed a shot over the bar from distance after 64 minutes. After receiving a long throw from Nat Brown the Sunderland-born striker rushed down the middle and sent a strong shot just over from 35-yards out. It looked likely that he would earn himself a hat-trick.

Just one minute later and it was Jon Stead?s turn to match Martin Smith?s tally for the afternoon. Chris Holland, who had remained almost anonymous all afternoon, flicked a ball on into the path of Jon Stead. Once again utilising his pace, he beat the Chesterfield defence before coolly slotting home past Andy Richmond for the second time. 4-0 to Town and it was cruise-control for the following 25 minutes.

Chesterfield almost snatched themselves a consolation goal on 72 minutes when Douglas cut a ball back into the middle of the box to Mark Innes who had just come on before the goal. However, he got too much purchase on the ball and managed to drag it well wide, keeping Phil Senior?s clean sheet safe.

Two changes from Mel Machin in the later stages with Kenny Irons replacing Martin Smith and Andy Booth being replaced by Paul Scott saw the players deservedly a warmly applauded by the McAlpine faithful. In fact, a conga line started in the John Smith?s stand allowing us all the gory site of ?Big Baby?s? big belly!

Town continued to stroke the ball around in the closing stages, to the background cheers of many Town fans while Chesterfield?s frustrations were only added to when Hurst was adjudged to deliberately handle the ball in the area when through on goal, resulting in a yellow card for the striker.

It was a fantastic game to watch, and it?s amazing to see what a difference just one manager can make. The team looked to have much more shape and discipline to their play and utilised the pace of Schofield and Stead well, causing the Chesterfield defence all sorts of problems. It was a really well-deserved win and should boost spirits ? maybe enough to even remain in this division next season!


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