Report: Rochdale 2-2 Hudderfield Town

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 13/08/2011
Huddersfield Town travelled the relatively short distance to Rochdale hoping for revenge for last season's 3-0 defeat at Spotland, but whilst they did one better than last year The Terriers went home disappointed after only taking a point back to West Yorkshire in a game they largely dominated.Report: Rochdale 2-2 Hudderfield Town

On the plus side Town have now gone 27 consecutive league games unbeaten which has equalled a club record going back to 1925.

Twice Town took the lead and twice they were pegged back. Lee Novak looked impressive scoring midway through the first half and setting up Danny Ward for the second goal. But, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro levelled the scores just before the break after some good fortune and sloppy play by Town towards the end allowed Ashley Grimes to equalize for a second time to share the spoils.

After an impressive 4-2 win over Port Vale in the Carling Cup in midweek Lee Clark stuck in the 4-3-3 formation. Striker Lee Novak kept his place up front after scoring a brace against Vale, so too midfielder Scott Arfield in place of the injured Anton Robinson. Captain Peter Clarke returned to the starting XI partnering Jamie McCombe, Jack Hunt kept his place at right back and Jordan Rhodes and Danny Ward were made to do with a place on the bench.

Town started off brightly and the Rochdale defence seemed to be petrified when Jack Hunt set off the ball down the right wing. Lee Novak worked hard up front chasing everything and did well often winning in the air against Dale's towering centre halves in former Town loanee Neale Trotman and Marcus Holness.

Town were having most of the possession and the three man midfield of Arfield, Tommy Miller and Oscar Gobern kept it nice and tidy in the centre of midfield as Rochdale struggled to get a foot into the game.

Dale has very few chances, Grimes and Gary Jones both having long range efforts that failed to trouble Ian Bennett in the Town goal but Akpa Akpro did look lively for the home side and easily went past McCombe to put in a clever cross down the right but no Dale player was in the box. Rochdale were left with putting crosses into the box but no one to aim at.

After being fouled by Trotman, Gary Roberts' free-kick was narrowly missed by Novak at the far post but the former Gateshead striker wouldn't miss with only 15 minutes gone.
Gary Naysmith pumped a long ball up field which was neatly chested by Novak to Arfield who then threaded through Novak into the penalty area and the striker stroked the ball into Jake Kean's left hand corner.

Miller went close on 19 minutes with a header that flew just wide and Gobern had a shot that flew well wide of goal and Town nearly doubled their lead on 34 minutes from an unlikely source.
Gary Naysmith ran with the ball down the left and played a one-two with Novak to advance into Rochdale penalty area and took the ball around Dale keeper Kean but his touch was too heavy which allowed Joe Widdowson to get in a block. Kean then denied Novak as the ball came lose and then on the rebound Arfield's shot was blocked on the line by Stephen Darby.

It was looked as though The Terriers would take their one goal advantage into the break but Rochdale got a good slice of fortune just before the break to striker level. As Dale were on the attack Naysmith blocked a Grimes pass outside the Town penalty area that send the ball looping up in the air over the rest of the Town defenders and fell straight to Akpa Akpro who lashed the ball into the bottom corner past Bennett from six yards out.

Town started the second half strongly. A good build up saw McDermott having a long range effort deflected wide and Novak's clever chip into the area almost found Arfield but Dale keeper Kean was quickly out to stop any danger. A long punt up field from Town stopper Bennett fell to feet of Gary Roberts who's volley was parried away by Kean.

Danny Ward came off the bench with 59 minutes gone and ten minutes later he put The Terriers back in front. Arfield's clever through ball on the edge of the Dale area put Novak in on the left hand side of the penalty area and his low cross from the byline found the on-rushing Ward who tapped the ball into the net from close range.

Rochdale were immediately on the attack and midfielder Nicky Adams curled a shot wide past Bennett's left-hand post and then on a Town attack Gobern had a long-range shot tipped over the bar by Kean.

From a Dale corner Town hit them with a counter attack but Ward failed to see Arfield breaking away and the chance had gone with just over ten minutes left.
Roberts curled a shot wide so too did Adams at the other end for Rochdale and Novak had a dipping volley fly over the bar.

As the match was heading towards 90 minutes the home side snatched an equalizer after capitalising on sloppy Town play. Midway inside his own half Gary Roberts tried to chest the ball down instead of clearing, only to lose possession to Gary Jones. The Dale skipper picked out Grimes peeling away from McCombe and the striker duly dispatched a low shot past Bennett into the bottom corner.

As with last year at the same ground Town had all the possession but created little in the final third and was caught out defensively. This time it was hard on Town as they had played well, having most of the possession and creating chances and Rochdale created little but from some luck and poor concentration they snatched a draw.

Lee Clark can count himself unlucky as finishing with 87 point last season would have been enough to get Town promoted for the previous 18 seasons before last season but if they are to get automatic promotion this season they are going to have to turn draws into wins and beat the smaller teams in this league, specially at home.

Sean's Star Man - Lee Novak
Without a doubt the best player on the pitch. Won everything in the air, ran himself into the ground as usual and scored one and set up the second. Looks back to his best at present.


Rochdale: Kean, Darby, Trotman, Holness, Widdowson, Adams, Jones ©, Kennedy (Thompson 75), Tutte, Grimes, Akpa Akpro.
Subs not used: Lucas, Twaddle, Fagbola, Marshall.

Town: Bennett, Hunt, P Clarke ©, McCombe, Naysmith, Gobern, Arfield, Miller, McDermott (Ward 59), Novak, Roberts.
Subs not used: Colgan, Woods, Kay, Rhodes.

Attendance: 5,074
Referee: A Haines.

Match Stats:

Possession: Rochdale - 46% Town - 54%
Shots On Target: Rochdale - 4 Town - 8
Corners: Rochdale - 2 Town - 6
Fouls: Rochdale - 12 Town- 14
Yellow Cards: Rochdale - 1 Town - 1
Red Cards: Rochdale - 0 Town - 0
Scorers: Akpa Akpro (43) Novak (15) Grimes (89) Ward (69)


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