Huddersfield Town 2 v 2 Port Vale

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 05/10/2002
A game that showed so much promise in the first half with 4 goals within the first 30 minutes died and fizzled out in the second half mainly due to Port Vales ?shut up shop? tactics to keep hold of their point. It was a great display in the first half from Town, breaking a 9 hour goal drought within just 10 minutes and then showing goals aren?t all that rare at the Mac by doubling their tally on 16 minutes. Port Vale fought hard to gain their goals but once they had them there was no way in for Town.Huddersfield Town 2 v 2 Port Vale

Port Vale started the match in Town?s third strip - the red one - due to a kit clash before the match (surely they knew that beforehand and brought their yellow strips?!) It was ironic in a way that returning Town defender Sam Collins would be playing in the strip we all thought we?d never see (and hoped) he?d never play in again. Sticking to the script though, it was Sam who opened the scoring early on, following Clyde Wijnhard?s lead from last Saturday?s game against Oldham.

Vale were on the immediate attack, gaining a corner within the first minute and causing some trouble at the back for Town. Although skipper Matthew Carragher?s shot was blasted harmlessly over to relieve the pressure.

It was a corner four minutes later that was to lead to Town?s downfall. The corner came in and found it?s way to Sam Collins lurking around the penalty spot. He brought the ball down from his chest and blasted the ball home straight above Scott Bevan?s head who was unable to match the pace of the ball.

The goal proved to not be a match of Port Vale?s ability as Town immediately launched their attack of the Port Vale goal. It became increasingly evident that if we were to ever get a goal then this was the defence (and dodgy keeper!) to get it against.

Just before ten minutes young striker Jon Stead had two opportunities to further his heading ability, which still looks much below par. The first was a cross from the right from Thomas Heary, who was filling in for Steve Jenkins who had been moved to centre-back to replace the injured Jon Dyson. His flicked header didn?t make enough contact, even so that it actually didn?t make it off the pitch and a defender was forced to collect it. His second came from the left when Sharpe lofted a ball into the area but Stead could only see his head reach towards the sky and over Goodlad?s bar.

The blue and white nerves were slightly eased on 11 minutes as the great big cloud that rested over the McAlpine was blown away by Martin Smith?s goal. Heary played a low ball into Stead?s feet and he turned well past his defender to get a shot across the keeper?s body. Goodlad was unable to get it under control as he palmed it out wide and into the path of Smith. It was an easy goal for Smith to poke as he toe-prodded it straight into the back of the net to answer Vale?s early goal.

Just two minutes later and it looked like Town would be doubling their lead when a ball looped over the defenders head to allow Baldry room in at the back post. He brought the ball down brilliantly and smashed the ball goal bound but the recovering defender Sam Collins was able to ping it off the line with his head much to the dismay of Town fans who are familiar with his usual ability!

Town really took a stronghold on the game as just a minute later Mark Goodlad was being put the test again from a Martin Smith freekick. From a wide left position, it looked like the right footer Stead was more suited to take it but Smithy elected and he confirmed his claims with a great curling shot that was only just tipped over the bar.

A couple of minutes later and Town found the net again. It looked like a rout may be on the cards as the Vale defence were all over the place but this was to prove Town?s last goal of the game. Steve Jenkins, after seemingly lingering for too long on the ball, slotted an unmarked Simon Baldry through on goal. After being in a similar position earlier he decided to drill his shot low past Goodlad and took his goal brilliantly, rather than snatching at it. The foundations were set to go from strength to strength but it wasn?t to be.

Before 20 minutes and Town fans were left in disbelief after a gaping miss by Chris Holland. The hard-working midfielder was slotted through on goal and well past the last man. The goal looked a certainty until he knocked the ball towards his left foot and the look on his face said ?Oh s***, I?m gonna miss now!? and he did just that. He spooned his shot well high and wide of the goal and wasted an extremely good chance to go up two goals to the good.

A shaky header by Kevin Sharp almost allowed Brian Horton?s men a route towards goal. The ball looped backwards allowing the wingman in to put in a great cross that was destined for a free player at the back post to slot home. Fortunately, Thomas Heary had spotted the danger early and was in to get the ball clear for a corner.

Just 4 minutes later and things were back on level terms. 28 minutes gone and some slack marking by Towns 4th and 5th choice centre-backs allowed impressive striker Billy Paynter all the room in the world to head past Bevan for an easy goal. Unlike in previous matches, Bevan?s dive was unable to stop the shot destined for the bottom corner of the goal.

On 33 minutes quite oddly the game was called up by the referee due to an injured player. The most common practise for this is to let the ball go out of play but the referee saw the need to blow his whistle. It wasn?t the only time he did this for the ?acting? Port Vale players as they suddenly threw themselves on the floor and whistled for the physio.

On 38 minutes Town were looking to take the lead again when Schofield, battling for the ball managed to hook it towards goal while receiving a deflection along the way. The deflection off Carragher almost resulted in an own goal as Goodlad was required to tip it over his own bar for a corner. The resulting corner left Goodlad flapping and for Brett Angell to dive in order to divert the ball away from any awaiting Town players.

Two great corners from Simon Baldry had the goalkeeper blushing. First of all, a corner into the area left the goalkeeper flapping for the ball in mid-air. Unfortunately, no Town players were able to capitalise as the ball dropped from his hands. The second resulted in another great chance as Town were left even more frustrated before half-time feeling they should?ve had a hatful by this point. The corner drifted in towards the near post was met by Smithy who brilliantly got his header down only to see it hit the chest of Carragher on the line and to deny him his second of the day.

Despite the great chances for Town Vale were left reeling in first half stoppage time as Paynters ball into the area again found the head of an unmarked Brett Angell. This time, Bevan was determined to keep the ball out ? getting across his line well to stop a ball that had goal written all over it.

The excitement seemed to cease at that point as Horton?s men were clearly under strict orders to keep their lead and the cold set in leaving the fans frozen to their seats. It was a very dull second half in which Town dominated for about 90% of it but much of the play was kept in the middle third of the pitch and any time a Town player got near to the 18-yard box they either let themselves down with a poor pass or the ball was muscled away by a strong defensive line.

Few instances note, comparative to the first half but as a match report I feel obliged to anyway. Smith hit a left footed half volley just wide on the 50 minute mark, which came close but wasn?t enough to make this half interesting!

Angell was again threatening in the air. Unlike the first half, though, this was an easy one for Bevan to claim as it was directed straight down Bevan?s throat for an easy catch.

Town may have had a penalty claim just moments later as it appeared Sam Collins was trying to add to his collection of Town shirts by taking Steve Jenkins in the penalty area. Referee, Mr Mathieson, waved play-on indicating that it was in fact the skipper who was backing into Collins.

A rare piece of end-to-end football was displayed on 60 minutes as Ian Brightwell attacked down the right, although looking suspiciously offside. After a bit of Vale pressure Town counter-attacked with 3 against 2 but couldn?t take the advantage as Holland ran away from the goal and once wide was easy bait for the Vale defence.

Phil Charnock came close to creating a Vale scoring opportunity on 73 minutes as he flashed the ball across the face of the goal but none of his team mates were able to get to the ball in time in order to poke it in.

The game really did threaten to drift off into obscurity after a great first half showing until Martin Smith briefly brought things to life with another great set piece. In a similar position to his earlier freekick, outside left, he once again defied the odds of left-footers as he spanked the ball against the keeper?s bar only to see it loop over agonisingly.

A few half chances for Town were left squandered or unattacked in the last ten minutes of the game as a point for each team looked the best bet. Sub Gallacher had a couple of header opportunities, one of which was deflected wide by a defender and one which was snatched at after a Sharp cross. Sharp got into the area for a shot of his own, but on his weaker right foot the ball could only trickle towards goal.

A nice array of step-overs by Simon Baldry was enough to bamboozle his defender but not quite enough to produce the killer assist for a Town goal as Goodlad was able to hoist it down from the air and into his safe clutches.

A late chance by Vale almost looked like it could snatch the point right from our grasp. Fortunately, justice was done when Cummins header, after meeting a Charnock cross, crept wide of Bevan?s post leaving the game to finish a nil apiece.


Huddersfield Town:

1 Scott Bevan
2 Steve Jenkins (C)
22 Kevin Sharp
27 Nat Brown
20 Thomas Heary (off 90)
11 Simon Baldry
7 Danny Schofield (off 75)
33 Dwayne Mattis (MOTM)
6 Chris Holland
19 Martin Smith
14 Jon Stead (off 75)


35 Phil Senior
10 John Thorrington (on 75)
12 Kevin Gallacher (on 77)
31 Paul Macari
28 Paul Scott (on 90)

Port Vale:

1 Mark Goodlad
2 Matthew Carragher ?
6 Sam Collins
15 Ian Armstrong (off 84)
16 Steve Rowland
18 Billy Paynter
19 Phil Charnock
20 John Durnin
22 Brett Angell
23 Ian Brightwell


12 Dean Delaney
4 Sean McClare (on 84)
14 Mark Boyd
3 Rae Ingram
21 Liam Burns


Scott Bevan (5): Quite a bad game by his standards. Didn?t come out for some balls, putting pressure on defenders and could?ve done better with Vale?s second goal. Kicking is still a worry as well.

Steve Jenkins (6): A decent display, out of position. Good assist for the goal, but rarely troubled other than for the goals.

Nat Brown (5.5): Again, rarely troubled. Dealt quite comfortably with the strikers except for trying to keep a lid on Angell when balls came through the air.

Thomas Heary (6.5): A surprisingly good game for Heary. He clearly wants his first team place back. Contributed well going forward and nothing much came down the left.

Simon Baldry (7): Again a surprise performer. Put in some very good crosses (especially from corners) and the goal was superbly taken.

Danny Schofield (6): Quite a disappointment after Tuesday?s match. He looked off the pace, with many balls ricocheting off him rather than gaining control of them. He seems quite inconsistent to me.

Dwayne Mattis (7.5): Not a clear man of the match by any means. Did many things well, put in some superb sliding tackles, but nothing truly spectacular to provide the spark.

Chris Holland (7): A good enough performance. Did most of the simple stuff well but still seems frightened of trying anything risky to see the gains. Should be hung for missing his shot though (not literally!)

Martin Smith (7.5): Always getting about up front, but I still feel he should be much more central than he is and is often a waste out wide. Unlucky with two set pieces though.

Jon Stead (6): He?s stuck in a rut. I really feel for the guy out there, the goal thing must be eating away at him right now. Very few chances for him today, but always looks willing to put himself about.

John Thorrington (5): I think he should contact Ben Thornley and ask him what he?s upto right now!

Kevin Gallacher (6): Covered much of the pitch and challenged in the air late on but nowhere near enough time to take effect. I think he?d have bagged his first today had he started the game.

Paul Scott (5): Little chance to do anything so late on.

Ref?s Rating - Mr. S. Mathieson (5): Very lenient is all I?ll say. Let many challenges go, including an assault on Nat Brown after a small tussle. Also some weird decisions to stop the game for injured players. Not many incidents to challenge his reffing abilities though ? a fairly straight forward game.


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