Stockport County 2 v 1 Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town story posted by Andy Dixon on 21/04/2003
Two goals in two minutes spoilt the afternoon for the terriers faithful as they left Edgeley Park on the wrong end of a 2-1 defeat and staring down the barrel of Division Two relegation.Stockport County  2 v 1  Huddersfield Town

Stockport County's fourth win in a row looked in jeopardy when Andy Booth scored after 3 minutes but an equaliser from Irish under-21 international Jonathan Daly and a second from Aaron Wilbraham meant that the West Yorkshire club would remain in a perilous predicament with only two games remaining.

The winner from Wilbraham was his sixth goal in four games and was a bitter pill to swallow after Town had led for 76 minutes.

The opening goal followed Jon Stead's low shot that was clawed past the post by Stockport 'keeper Ola Tidman. Martin Smith swung the corner to the far post where captain Booth pounced to score his sixth goal of the campaign.

Mel Machin's men held on for the remainder of the half but spurned a number of good chances to grab a second.

Stead was guilty on the 8th minute of striking a free-kick into the stomach of Tidman, after Nat Brown had skipped past two County players before being the victim of a late lunging tackle.

On 25 minutes, Stead had a golden opportunity to add a second, but mis-controlled the ball after Jason Gavin had made a great tackle and found the youngster with an equally good through ball.

Goalscorer Booth also missed good chances which included a wayward effort when bearing down on goal after 19 minutes.

Town's top-scorer Martin Smith was uncharacteristic in his absence of chances but when through on goal in the 24th minute he shot low in a one-on-one situation, but saw his effort saved by a full-stretch Tidman.

The only other Town chance of note in the first half was a Thomas Heary bullet from the edge of the box after 34 minutes which was directed mid-goal and comfortably saved by a grateful Tidman.

Although Town led, Carlton Palmer will have been disappointed by his side's finishing as they waste a number of good chances which produced another outstanding performance from Town's gem of a goalkeeper; Philip Senior.

Eleven minutes after Town's goal Stockport's man of the match Aaron Lescott produced a good save from Senior after a corner found his head. Later in the half Wilbraham tried his luck from outside the area resulting in a one-handed push wide at full-stretch. With the half drawing to a close, Peter Clark guided a corner onto the head of Jim Goodwin who watched Senior gracefully push his effort away from danger with one hand.

The Wilbraham and Daly striking partnership looked dangerous throughout the match and the first chance fell to Daly on the 23rd minute when a free-kick found him unmarked in the box, yet he eased the ball wide when it looked easier to score. Prolific Wilbraham (deputising for Luke Beckett) also let the terriers off lightly in injury time when he shot straight at Senior.

Further sighters came in the second half with Daly heading over on the hour and Wilbraham shooting wide on the 89th minute.

Tactically the terriers must have known that one goal would never be enough and even though they survived a penalty claim 5 minutes into the second half they never readjusted to counter Palmer's double substitution on the 74th minute.

Daly's equaliser on the 79th minute came after Town were caught on the break when Lescott attacked on the left-wing before his cross evaded the whole Town defence and gave his team-mate the simple task of stroking the ball into the back of an unguarded net from two yards out.

County's winner followed two minutes later as Lescott crossed again from the left, where substitute Rickie Lambert dummied allowing the ball through to Wilbraham who shot low into the right corner only for a diving Senior to see the effort hit the base of the post and nestle in the back of the goal.

Town's second half chances were few and far between with Booth heading wide from a Brown cross after 71 minutes and Smith chipping the ball over an advancing 'keeper and the crossbar 4 minutes later.

Although 2-1 down Booth almost equalised 3 minutes after Stockport's second with a looping header from a Smith corner which was touched over by the 'keeper. Three minutes into injury time Smith crossed to Booth again, he powerfully headed an effort on target just to see Tidman parry the ball to Stead who smacked the ball goal-bound unfortunately to see Tidman miraculously smother his shot and ensure his side the victory.

The result saw Stockport rise to 13th in the division and left the terriers 22nd and still in the depths of the relegation zone. Results elsewhere meant that Northampton were relegated, but the other three spots will inevitably go to either Mansfield, Cheltenham, Chesterfield or Town. Mansfield can still mathematically survive if the other three lose their remaining fixtures, but on recent form it would be easy to argue that them and free-falling Chesterfield are likely to suffer the drop.

That leaves Bobby Gould's Cheltenham and the terriers to scrap for survival and with tough games ahead it would be difficult to divide them. Yet at times Town did not look like a bottom three outfit against Stockport and holding the champions to a goaless draw two days earlier must have taken its toll. But anything other than six points from Port Vale away and Oldham at home will condemn the terriers to basement third division football next season.


Ratings:

Senior (7): Produced a string of impressive saves after surviving a late tackle in the 10th minute that caught his ankle and earned Anthony Tonkin a yellow card.

Moses (6): After a dominating performance against Wigan he failed to keep Wilbraham under wraps and eventually was punished with the winning goal.

Heary (7): Impressed as a sweeper and aided the midfield to good effect throughout the game.

Brown (7): After playing central defence, centre forward and full-back, he looks at home on the right-wing and produced a series of good crosses and looked confident taking on defenders.

Gavin (6): Looked good in spells but he gave Daly far too many chances to set his sights, which eventually cost us with the equaliser.

Schofield (5): Unfortunately he didn't really show much to note and was substituted as a result.

Holland (7): Overlapped on the wing and probably covered every blade of grass in the midfield, but when will he learn to shoot?

Worthington (7): Looked strong along side Holland and provided the attack with some good through balls.

Smith (6): Produced some good crosses and showcased his talent with an unlucky second half chip, but overall he didn't look at his best.

Booth (8): A man of the match performance from Town's captain, who looked sharp throughout after scoring early doors and almost equalising late on.

Stead (7): Spurned a number of decent chances but looked like a livewire that Town missed during much of the campaign.

Subs:

Thorrington (4): Didn't have long enough to make any meaningful impact, but did earn a corner in the closing minutes.


Referee rating:

P. Armstrong (9): With few bookings he looked like one of the best referees Town have had this season. Of course his dismissal of a Stockport penalty early in the second half endeared himself to the loyal terrier following.


Teams:

Stockport County:

37. Ola Tidman
20. Gordon Greer
4. Dave Challinor (CAP)
3. Peter Clark
7. Aaron Lescott
14. Fraser McLachlan (OFF 74)
16. Jonathan Daly (GOAL)
12. Jim Goodwin
8. Aaron Wilbraham (GOAL)
26. Ali Gibb
35. Anthony Tonkin (YELLOW) (OFF 74)

Subs:

1. Lee Jones
10. Rickie Lambert (ON 74)
5. Robert Clare (ON 74)
18. John Hardiker
22. Peter Wild


Huddersfield Town:

35. Philip Senior
5. Adie Moses
15. Jason Gavin
20. Thomas Heary
29. Jonathan Worthington
27. Nat Brown
6. Chris Holland
9. Andy Booth (CAP) (GOAL) (MOTM)
19. Martin Smith
7. Danny Schofield (OFF 84)
14. Jon Stead

Subs:

40. Andrew Jeffrey
33. Dwayne Mattis
28. Paul Scott
10. John Thorrington (ON 84)
22. Kevin Sharp

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