Huddersfield Town 2 v 0 Darlington

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 10/09/2002
What a cock-up by Town! Whilst trying to carry out my first, and usually simple task of writing down the player?s I?ve discovered that the player?s names and numbers in the back don?t actually correspond to any of the actual players names and numbers of the Darlington squad, which makes my job a little tricky. Thankfully, the Darlington site has helped me clear this up a little bit by providing the actual Darlington players with their official squad numbers. Now, with that little gripe over, onto the match report?Huddersfield Town 2 v 0 Darlington

We?re through! We?re through! Well, maybe that?s no big deal really but when put into the perspective of us not having even reached the level of the second round for two seasons it?s about time we at least progressed to the round where the big boys play, if it is only for that moment of suspense as you await Town?s draw only to find out it?s an away trip to Doncaster Rovers.

A poor game to watch on the whole, in which two mistakes by the Donkey defence allowed us to capitalise early in the second half and some sound defending and magnificent goalkeeping displays managed to keep our clean sheet and our two goal lead.

Town started the game without the usual solid pairing of Adi Moses and Eddie Youds, the latter of the two being rested making way for Testimonial-man Jon Dyson who was making his first start of the season. Also making his first start of the season was that ever-present but never quite fulfilled potential of Simon Baldry, who was in for the battered and bruised John Thorrington after Saturday?s brawl with Keith Curle.

The game couldn?t have gotten off to a brighter start. An early shot by Ian Clark was straight at Bevan and just moments later Town were at the other end gaining an early goal. Jon Stead with some good work down the wing made space for himself and crossed the ball in, initially for Kevin Gallacher, who completely missed his opportunity, but fortunately this dropped to an unmarked Baldry at the back post. He brought the ball down and drilled it inside the keeper?s front post to give Town a great boost to their first Worthington Cup tie of the season.

Some good play by Town had created a few corners, but one of Kenny Irons? poorer corner?s actually lead to him creating the second goal. The cleared ball only went as far as Kenny Irons who swung a very deep cross into the box. And, unknowingly as most own goals are, Matthew Clarke decided to double our advantage and knock it past his own ?keeper.

After a positive opening 20-minutes Town continued to push for that third goal and may have found it through either Holland or Baldry who was searching for his second goal of the night. A ball into the box by Jenkins was only half cleared to the edge of the area to Chris Holland who was given lots of time on the ball to line up his shot, which was quite well struck but not quite accurate enough to hit the target. Again, another piece of good work by Stead set Baldry in a good position; he twisted and turned until it looked like he?d created a great opportunity but the defender was just able to deflect the ball wide when it looked like it had been goal bound.

The big danger man for Darlington was always the big shiny figure of Barry Conlon. He is truly the epitome of a traditional English striker, a true no nonsense type of player who knows how to throw his weight around in the box. On 20 minutes he rose to knock a great header aimed at the bottom corner, but it was matched by the excellent Scott Bevan who was able to pluck it out of the air before it hit the back of the net. He then provided fellow front-man Clark with a great opportunity on 26 minutes but Clark spooned this great chance wide when it looked easier to score.

The introduction of substitute Neil Wainright seemed to provide the motivation that Darlington required. They suddenly started closing down Town much quicker and were very physical in challenging players off the ball. Just moments after his arrival a flicked on header by Conlon found the acrobatic skipper of Darlington ? Craig Liddle who pulled off a great bicycle kick, only to see his shot bounce clear off Bevan?s crossbar.

Town really should?ve extended their lead just before half time through a number of good chances. Schofield?s great through-ball gave Stead all the time in the world through one-on-one. He positioned himself for the placed shot, but his shot turned out to be extremely weak and directed only at the goalkeepers feat, allowing him to smoother the ball. Iron?s through ball just a moment later freed Danny Schofield, but the unselfish Schofield decided to cut the ball square for Stead allowing the Darlo defence to recover and knock the ball away from danger.

Stead, clearing showing frustration after missing his earlier chance struck a powerful shot from outside the area, looking for the ultimate crowd-pleaser, only to see it go narrowly wide of the goalkeeper?s left post.

One thing I immediately noticed in the second half as the Quakers increased their possession of the ball and forced a few corners was the commanding ability of Bevan. He bravely collected many crosses, even when challenged by the daunting figure of Barry Conlon and held all with great confidence. This can only instil confidence in his defence in his abilities, unlike our former keeper.

Two of the best saves of the night came almost one after another. Bevan, involved on both occasions handled the situations brilliantly. Phil Hadland curled a great low shot towards Bevan?s bottom corner only to see it tipped wide by the big man at full stretch for a corner. The resulting corner fell to the feet of Neil Maddison who hit a sweet shot rocketing straight for the roof of the net, but once again, Bevan acrobatically tipped it over the bar for another corner.

On 68 minutes Ian Clark received a yellow card for unnecessarily trying to provoke a fight with left-back Sharp in defence of his team mate who lay on the ground after Sharp had unknowingly and unintentionally studded in the side of his ribs. Clark was all mouth, but it was clearly innocent, and he wasn?t backed up by any of the Darlington squad as they all saw what an idiot he was for trying to make a big deal out of the situation.

A double substitution by both teams on 72 minutes, included Saturday?s goal scorer Martin Smith who, although lacking match practice recently, looked as sharp as ever and had a keen eye for goal. He provided balls for one of McDonald?s shots, which was straight at the keeper, and also created some of his own by running at defenders only to see his left-footed drive go the wrong side of the post.
The save which summed up Bevan on the night, and made my choice of man of the match clear, came right at the death. With the game undoubtedly wrapped up, and with a few Town players deciding it was time to clock off for the night, Bevan was still as alert as ever. A great effort by some bundling Darlington players (sorry, the box was too crowded to pick out a specific shirt) looked like a destined consolation goal for the visitors but out of nowhere came Bevan who miraculously plucked the ball that had goal written all over it right out of the air and managed to curl it round the post.

A poor performance overall, but nothing to worry about. I thought Baldry was gonna have a storming match after his opening goal and a few good runs down the wing but he soon ran out of idea?s and effort, which accumulated when Adi Moses good skill and a great pass was left by Baldry as he couldn?t be arsed chasing it. He got a bit of rollicking from Wadsworth and the fans and it?s understandable why he was the first Town player to come off.

I must add a couple of things though. This running on the pitch stuff has got to stop. I hope this isn?t going to turn into some kind of cult thing where everyone?s going to have a go to impress their mates. It isn?t big and it isn?t clever to enter the pitch and I hope the ?fans? that ran across that ran across the field last night received exactly what they deserved.

I also want to mention the fans in the Lawrence Batley stand ? a stand I haven?t sat in for quite a while. Why are there so many miserable buggers in there? I heard one old guy repeatedly condemning the side for using a patient passing approach to the game. He just keep yelling ?get the ball in the area, you can?t score from midfield!? I guess, due to being next to the coach?s bench that fans also feel the need to give Wadsworth their own ?informed? tactical views. One fan called out ?Get Holland off, he?s bloody s**t!? and another, when McDonald was about to come on shouted ??Oh bloody hell ? not him!? This has got to send the wrong message to the players. They?re playing well ? so praise them for it!

Player ratings are skipped due to time constraints. Nevertheless the man of the match is Scott Bevan for his fine saves and commanding performance in his area.



1 Scott Bevan (MOTM)
2 Steve Jenkins (Cap)
23 Jon Dyson
5 Adi Moses
22 Kevin Sharp
11 Simon Baldry (off 72)
8 Kenny Irons (off 81)
6 Chris Holland
14 Jon Stead
7 Danny Schofield
12 Kevin Gallacher (off 72)


35 Phil Senior
23 Dwayne Mattis (on 81)
27 Nat Brown
15 Scott McDonald (on 72)
19 Martin Smith (on 72)


1 Andy Collett
4 Craig Liddle (Cap)
20 David McGurk
2 Ryan Valentine
8 Ian Clark (YEL, 68) (off 72)
9 Mark Ford
11 Phil Hadland (off 72)
10 Neil Maddison
24 Matthew Clarke
13 Barry Conlon
27 John Cullen (off 32)


3 Simon Betts
6 Glenn Naylor (on 72)
25 Ashley Nicholls (on 72)
16 Neil Wainright (on 32)
19 Mark Sheeran

Attendance: 3,810


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