Match Report: Huddersfield Town 1-0 Leeds United

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 16/02/2009
In the West Yorkshire derby it was the blue and white stripes of Huddersfield Town that can claim the bragging rights for the third time in succession after a single goal from defender Nathan Clarke that gave Lee Clark's men all three points in a push towards the play-offs with now Town only four points behind sixth spot.Match Report: Huddersfield Town 1-0 Leeds United

Town went ahead after only 16 minutes in a predictable full blooded West Yorkshire derby at the Galpharm Stadium. Lee Clark's first derby game in charge, one he must have been looking forward to since he joined the club, one that he could not risk losing.

Town's last two wins over Leeds last year in April and November came at times when Town were in mid-table mediocrity but the latest win over Leeds has the potential to begin sequence on form to carry Town into the play-offs come end of the season.
Leeds played their part in an entertaining match and were left to rue opportunities in both halves but thanks to a post at the death and the heroics of Town goalkeeper Alex Smithies, Town rode their luck to claim the vital victory.

Lukas Jutkiewicz made his Town debut up front along side Gary Roberts, Phil Jevons was dropped to the bench and Keigan Parker was out of the 16 man squad.
Leeds were frustrated after a 2-0 win over Millwall the previous Monday as star striker Jermaine Beckford got himself a three-match ban after the Sky cameras caught the 24-goal striker elbowing the Millwall goalkeeper in the face. Beckford has now missed the last three games against Town. This resulted in Luciano Becchio was partnered with ex-Swansea striker Lee Trundle on-loan from Bristol City.

The Town fans in the 20,928 were ecstatic after only 16 minutes gone, a poor clearance from Leeds captain Richard Naylor saw Michael Collins force a corner from goalkeeper Casper Ankergren and when Gary Roberts' corner caught the Leeds defence ball-watching, Nathan Clarke rose to nod in a free-header from close range.
It could have been so different 60 seconds earlier, Andy Robinson found Trundle with a long ball down field and when the on-loan Bristol City striker found Robert Snodgrass, Snodgrass turned the Town defender allowing a shot on goal but it lacked power and placement and was a straight forward save for Smithies.

The foray into the Town box was the only incisive attack from Leeds in the opening 20 minutes, though the hectic pace of the game did not lend itself to numerous early chances at either end.

Smithies was called upon to defend Town's lead with two fine saves in the space of a minute as Leeds responded to Town's early goal.
The young goalkeeper beat away a swerving shot from Robinson and produced an impressive parry when Rui Marques headed the resulting corner goal wards.

Snodgrass forced another opening on with half an hour of the game gone, running past both Clarke and Robbie Williams and lashing a shot over the bar in when really from the position he was he should have really testing the goalkeeper.

It was a game of two halves as Leeds came out for the second half all guns blazing and they had their fair share of chances.
Leeds's deficit would been more severe had Marques not blocked Jutkiewicz from turning a Roberts corner into the net from close range.
Anthony Pilkington then beat Naylor but smacked his shot over the crossbar.

Lionel Ainsworth went off at half time after picking up a knock to be replaced with Phil Jevons which resulted in Roberts switching to the right wing. Ainsworth had been a thorn in Leeds side all the first half often going past Robinson like he wasn't there and this seemed to limit Town's attacking presence in the second half to make matters worse for Town Roberts himself had to be taken off to be replaced by Dominik Werling.

Town's possession weakened in the second half and Leeds' pressure saw sub Jonathan Howson glancing a header from an Andrew Hughes cross wide.
Town couldn't get hold of the ball, the attacking presence was weak after Ainsworth and Roberts went off with Phil Jevons looking a shadow of the player he was at Yeovil and Bristol City. Clark brought on Dominik Werling in the second half to inject some pace down the flanks that had troubled Leeds in the first half but to no avail.

Smithies then kept out a goal bound effort from Robinson on the hour from a Snodgrass corner.
With 12 minutes left Leeds' best chance was foiled by the excellent Smithies, Robinson's through-ball found Snodgrass in the box but Smithies came racing off his line to block the Scotsman at his feet.

A nervous last 10 minutes in which Town defended for their lives, A Robinson free-kick into the box saw Naylor hit the post with a header but Town held on and rode their luck for another victory over our local rivals.

Sean's Star Man - Alex Smithies - It just had to be, he deserved his man-of-the-match at the game and he's deserved it on this report, outstanding saves from the youngster to deny Leeds and no wonder he is being watched by Premiership clubs with the performances he has put in for Town. I just hope he stays in favour of first team football rather than getting paid a fat wage to sit on a bench for a Premiership club who will loan him out to any Tom, Dick or Harry


Town: Smithies, Holdsworth, N Clarke, Butler, Williams, Ainsworth (Jevons 45), Goodwin, Collins, Pilkington, Roberts (Werling 74), Jutkiewicz (Craney 81)
Subs not used: Glennon T Clarke

Leeds: Ankergren, Hughes (Howson 52), Naylor, Marques(Michalik 89), Dickinson, Snodgrass, Delph, Douglas, Robinson, Becchio, Trundle (Grella 75)
Subs not used: Lucas, Johnson

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire)
Attendance: 20,928


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