Report: Huddersfield Town 2-1 Rochdale

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 08/03/2011
Huddersfield Town have now stretched their unbeaten streak to 14 matches with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Rochdale with goals from Benik Afobe and Gary Roberts but the night was overshadowed by Anthony Pilkington's horrific injury.Report: Huddersfield Town 2-1 Rochdale

Pilkington, who has scored 14 goals this season with 10 coming in the League One, went down in his own area in the 64th minute and the reaction of his fellow Town colleagues calling for assistant that the injury was a serious one. Pilkington was treated on the pitch before being taken off on a stretcher to a standing ovation. It has now been confirmed that Pilkington has dislocated his left ankle and broken the fibula bone above the ankle.

Lee Clark recalled Alex Smithies to the starting XI due to an injury to Ian Bennett, Lee Peltier is on a four-match ban and Joey Gudjonsson was out due to injury. Scott Arfield started along side Kevin Kilbane in the centre of midfield and Jordan Rhodes partnered Benik Afobe in the Town attack. Chris Atkinson was on the bench with Nick Colgan due to the injury for goalkeeper Bennett.

Gary Roberts and Pilkington had been causing the Rochdale defence problems and it took a well-timed challenge from defender Marcus Holness to deny the latter.

The referee Miller and linesman in front of the Britannia Rescue stand infuriated the Town fans by giving Rochdale a corner when it appeared no Town player had touched the ball from a Dale cross. A Rochdale player pointed at the corner in which the linesman duly obliged without a second thought.
The resulting corner nearly put Rochdale in front, Brian Barry-Murphy's corner was superbly met by Chris O'Grady who was smartly denied by Smithies.

Town yet still shaky at set-pieces I'd like to know how many goals we have conceded from set-pieces as I have lost count.

Afobe went close after a great cross from the right by Jack Hunt but the on-loan Arsenal striker wasn't to be denied with 25 minutes played.
Roberts' cross wasn't dealt with by the Rochdale defence and as Rhodes was about to shoot defender Joe Widdowson nicked the ball off his toes, but the ball fell kindly to the unmarked Afobe who calmly slotted home from 10 yards.

Seven minutes later Town doubled their lead with a superb solo effort from Gary Roberts which will be a contender for "goal of the season". "Robertinho" cut inside from the left and from around 25 yards out chipped the ball superbly over Owain Fon Williams in the Dale goal to notch his 11th goal of the season. 32 minutes played Town 2-0 up.

Rochdale responded well and the Dale captain Gary Jones stung the hands of Smithies with a 20 yard drive.

Antony Kay went off before the break with a suspected ankle injury to be replaced by Jamie McCombe but Rochdale gave Town a scare seconds before the break.
Indecisive play from Peter Clarke and Stephen Jordan allowed Jones to nip in but his effort came back off the post and cleared to safety.

Just after the break Rochdale were at it again as they started the second half brightly, luckily for Town Hunt was on hand to deny Holness on the line after a melee in the Town penalty area.

Just before the hour mark Town's top scorer Jordan Rhodes went off as he appeared to be limping after only nicely coming back from an ankle injury to be replaced by Danny Cadamarteri and only seven minutes later the unfortunate injury to Pilkington, which left players from both sides badly shocked, saw Alan Lee come off the bench.

Rochdale were pumping balls in the box but the defence lead by Peter Clarke stood firm and Smithies in the Town goal was having a great game. Afobe played his part as he superbly blocked O'Grady's effort.
Afobe broke away on a Town attack but his effort was palmed away by Williams and then Cadamarteri lost his marker with his pace but Williams too denied for the former Dundee United man's effort and the rebound was put over by Lee.

In the 7th minute of the 8 minutes added on at the end Dale captain Jones pulled one back for the visitors with a deflected shot that went in off the post with Smithies rooted to the spot.

In the dying seconds Smithies pulled off a top draw save to deny O'Grady again to make sure Town took all three points.

After three home draws on the bounce the game was a must-win to keep up in the race for automatic promotion but the night undoubtedly was overshadowed by the injury to Anthony Pilkington. The former Stockport winger has been the first name on the team sheet and has been a big player for Town this season scoring some crucial and superb goals in the blue and white colours. We as every Town fan wished "Pilks" a speedy recovery.

Sean's Star Man - Alex Smithies
This lad seems to be getting better every time I see him play. What a save to deny O'Grady at the end, a save that wouldn't go a miss in the Premiership. Couldn't go anything about the Rochdale goal but stopped everything else that they threw at him.

Teams:

Town: Smithies, Hunt, Kay (McCombe 44), P Clarke, Jordan, Pilkington (Lee 64), Arfield, Kilbane, Roberts, Afobe, Rhodes (Cadamarteri 57).
Subs not used: Colgan, C Atkinson, Novak, T Clarke.

Rochdale: Fon Williams, Wiseman, Dawson, Holness, Widdowson, W Atkinson, Barry-Murphy, Jones, Kennedy, O'Grady (Akpa-Akpro 77).
Unused subs: Edwards, Thompson, Done, Adams, Gray, Williams.

Referee: N S Miller (Co Durham)
Attendance: 12,531 (915 from Rochdale)

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