Huddersfield Town 1 v 0 Queens Park Rangers

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 26/01/2002
A first-half goal by Andy Booth in front of the camera?s earned Town their third win on the trot to send them back into play-off contention, and within just 4 points of automatic promotion. The game, worth ?20,000, was almost a no-go as the referee had to make two inspections on the ground which was quite clearly nearing to waterlogged after the early morning downpour.Huddersfield Town 1 v 0 Queens Park Rangers

The match did go ahead, and there was everything to play for. Both teams knew they?d had one over each other in the last two games, one being the game, which put QPR into the Second Division for this season. There was clearly a new anticipation at the McAlpine today, and both teams looked up for the game.

Town got off to a good start, as they had in their past two matches, and looked like scoring when Leon Knight who was running rings around the QPR defence all match, outpaced Steve Palmer down the wing to send a ball flashing across the face of the goal. Unfortunately for Town, it was injected just a bit too early and unexpectedly for the onrushing pair of Hay and Booth who were just yards away form getting their toe on the end of it.

Rangers looked pretty relaxed and satisfied to take a point away from the Mac as they didn?t test Martyn Margetson once in the entire first half. A few runs by former Town player Kevin Gallen and his striking partner Andy Thomson made some good runs against the Town defence but the sturdy back two of Kevin Gray and Nathan Clarke dealt with everything they could throw at them to keep a well-deserved clean sheet.

Booth did come close early on when he pounced on a Gareth Evans left wing cross only to see his header float haplessly over the bar. But this wasn?t to dishearten the striker who worked tirelessly to support his team mate Leon Knight all afternoon as a well worked cross resulted in Town breaking the deadlock. Some good running down the wing by Danny Schofield took him into the corner where he slipped the ball back for the awaiting Chris Holland. Chris Holland teed himself up and swept a ball dangerously to the keepers back post where Booth was situated. He rose well above the lanky QPR defender Daniel craptu to head the ball into the top corner, and out of the reach of Goalkeeper Fraser Digby.

It was a breakthrough that seemed would never come in a game that looked more and more likely to be turning into a goalless draw. It spurred on the Town faithful to finally start chanting and cheering on their squad instead of jeering them, and the result on the pitch was soon shown as Town players looked to work even harder for each other.

So confident were Town after the goal that full-back Steve Jenkins even ventured into the QPR half where he had a shot from just outside the area go narrowly over the crossbar.

Town were very unlucky not to double their advantage just before the break when three chances were well defended by craptu and Digby. A run down the wing by Chris Hay took him past both Steve Palmer and Matthew Rose and sent him clear through on goal against Digby. Hay?s shot was superbly pushed away by the former Town goalkeeper but fell to the previous goalscorer Andy Booth who was in a great position to smash the ball home. His shot was blocked brilliantly by the onrushing craptu on the line. It once again dropped to Booth who was blocked by the recovering Fraser Digby who was able to catch the ball and end the Town threat.

QPR were obviously fired up for the second half and caught Town in still resting in the changing rooms when a shot just after the half-time break was stopped by a Margetson reflex save to stop them taking an early second half lead.

QPR, who pushed Town further and further back throughout the second half were unlucky not to take the lead when sub Doudou M?Bombo (yes, as unrealistic as craptu and M?Bombo sound, they are real players) was sent racing through on goal only to be matched by Margetson who was quickly off his line to keep the ball out of his net.

Immediately after that, QPR were caught on the break when Jenkins sent the ball upto Knight who controlled the ball on the edge of the area and hit a shot just wide of the post after he?d beaten his defender.

M?Bombo was once again involved when he sent Thomson clear through on goal. Once again, Margetson was quick to react to the danger and blocked the shot, only to dive on it to extinguish any further threat from the Rangers front man.

The only way in which Town looked threatening in the second half was through the pace of on-loan frontman Leon Knight?s pace when he managed to take it past the slow and sluggish craptu down the left. Seeing he had no options available in the box he went for goal himself by trying to lob the ball over the goalkeeper at a very tight angle. For the situation it was a very good try but just not good enough to grant him his much-needed goal.

Leon Knight came close once again at the other side of Digby?s goal when a deep ball by Danny Schofield was collected at the far post by Leon Knight who brought it down on his chest. It looked like he?d put too much on it when he managed to wrap his foot around the ball to get the half volley only to see it come quite fortunately off the inside leg of Fraser Digby and go wide for a corner.

QPR continued to push forward but without creating anymore clear-cut chances to grab them a goal, which they might feel they deserved. Even four minutes of added time accompanied by deafening whistles from the Town fans wasn?t enough to allow QPR a share of the points.

Well, it was another win for Town, albeit not extremely convincing but who?s going to complain when the results are coming in and we?re gradually climbing the table? The thing which most impressed me today was the crowd. Once one started chanting, unlike in past months, the other stands started to join in. Maybe this really is a new era for Town. Things are most certainly looking up anyway.

MOM: Leon Knight - There were a few contenders for MOM today, which is a good feature of good football teams, but I?d have to say that Leon Knight just edged it. As much as I don?t like his diving and acting I did like the way he handled himself out there. Many times the big defenders foiled him but he still kept running his heart out and his tricks were simply sublime.

LINE-UPS:

Huddersfield Town - 13. Martyn Margetson, 2. Steve Jenkins, 3. Gareth Evans, 6. Kevin Gray, 36. Nathan Clarke, 23. Chris Holland, 18. Chris Hay (4. Craig Armstrong, 65), 8. Kennny Irons, 30. Leon Knight (26. Adi Moses, 90), 32. Andy Booth, 24. Danny Schofield
Subs not used: 32. Phil Senior, 31. Paul Macari, 11. Cldye Wijnhard

Queens Park Rangers - 13. Fraser Digby, 4. Steve Palmer, 8. Gavin Peacock, 11. Marcus Bignot, 12. Matthew Rose, 14. Leroy Griffiths (10. Karl Connolly, 66), 17. Terrel Forbes, 18. Kevin Gallen, 23. Danny Murphy (29. Doudou M?Bombo, 46), 27. Andy Thomson (22. Richard Pacquette, 90), 31. Daniel Shittu
Subs not used: Langley, R. Evans

Referee: Mr. M. Fletcher

Half-time: 1-0

Attendance: 9,433

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