Report: Notts County 2-2 Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 03/01/2012
Huddersfield Town let a two goal lead slip as two costly errors allowed Notts County to rescue a point and deny The Terriers in taking all three points back to West Yorkshire.Report: Notts County 2-2 Huddersfield Town

It was a scrappy game with neither side getting a hold in midfield as County lumped it forward from the back as much as possible and after a goalless first half Gary Roberts put in front on 52 minutes then who else but Jordan Rhodes made it 2-0 four minutes later.

Alan Lee missed a glorious chance to put Town 3-0 ahead but the ball deflected on to the bar and from then on, it was all downhill for The Terriers as Tom Clarke, making his first start since Feburary, fouled Alan Sheehan in the County penalty area which allowed Jeff Hughes to convert. Then with 6 minutes to go, Oscar Gobern misjudged his header and the ball fell kindly into the path of Lee Hughes and his deflected shot found the back of the net.

County manager Martin Allen said after the game that his team were the better side and should have won the match. I'd like to know what he was smoking on the touchline because it wasn't the same match I was watching and I'm sure many Town fans agree.

After the disappointing 1-1 draw at the Galpharm to Carlisle United, Town manager Lee Clark made three changes. Antony Kay was dropped to the bench and Tom Clarke was given his first start to partner Peter Clarke in the Town defence. Danny Cadamarteri kept his place in the starting XI, Tommy Miller was out of the starting 16 which meant Anton Robinson started with Gobern in the centre of midfield. Lee Novak was dropped to the bench in favour of Alan Lee but for the second game running neither wingers Donal McDermott or Danny Ward was on the subs bench.

County striker Karl Hawley had a deflected shot that was easily collected by Ian Bennett and Robinson was on hand to deny Neal Bishop a shot at goal with a superb tackle after good work by Lee Hughes down the right flank.

Town's top scorer Jordan Rhodes had to largely rely on scraps in the first half as he was given little service but he managed to get a shot in at goal with just 12 minutes gone when Gary Roberts' cross-field pass caught Haydn Hollis flat-footed but the defender just did enough to put Rhodes off as he shot straight at Stuart Nelson.

Referee Nigel Miller seemed quite content which the tackles flying in and happy to let play continue but there were some tasty challenges from both sides and Gobern's late challenge could have easily merited a yellow card on another day. Instead, the referee booked Jack Hunt for a rather lame offence of tugging Jeff Hughes' shirt.

Tom Clarke was in the right position to deflect Jeff Hughes' shot over the bar after the midfielder skipped past Jack Hunt at the far post from Julian Kelly's cross from the right.

County 'keeper Nelson pulled off a smart save to deny captain Peter Clarke on 18 minutes. Hollis fouled Lee 30 yards from goal and Roberts' floated free-kick to the far post found Peter Clarke but his header was smartly pushed away by Nelson.

Sam Sodje was up to his old tricks as he nearly took Alan Lee's head off his shoulders as the defender clattered into Lee when the striker was defending a Magpies corner but referee Miller let play go on with Lee lying injured in the six yard box.

The two Clarkes got into a mix-up but Bennett was there to deny Lee Hughes and Peter Clarke was on the end on another robust County challenge moments later.

Sam Sodje then went off injured as he fell awkwardly under Alan Lee's challenge and was replaced by former Town player Krystian Pearce and almost immediately Town had a good chance to take the lead.
With three minutes to go before the break Nelson was out quickly to clear the ball as Rhodes bared down on goal but the 'keeper's poor kick fell to Cadamarteri, who his the ball towards goal from around 40 yards out but Bishop was there to clear with a header. The ball fell to Roberts who lifted the ball back into the area for Rhodes but the striker's ambitious overhead kick was straight at Nelson.

The second half was just as similar to the first, County midfielder Hamza Bencherif struck a powerful 30 yard free kick that looked on target but Lee Hughes got in the way and the ball flew harmlessly over the bar after bouncing off his bald head.

Town took the lead on 52 minutes through Gary Roberts. Peter Clarke's long ball drifted into the path of Jordan Rhodes down the right flank and the striker's cross from the byline found Roberts at the far post who had the simple task of heading the ball into the net from close range.

County nearly hit back minutes later when Tom Clarke failed to clear Sheehan's cross from the left but luckily for him Lee Hughes fired wide on the turn at the far post and then moments later Gary Naysmith did enough to put the striker off as he headed wide from another Sheehan cross.

As the home side pushed forward Town made them pay as Jordan Rhodes scored his 21st domestic goal of the season and 19th in the league. Robinson started the move picking out Roberts with a cross-field pass, the former Accrington Stanley man chested the ball before trying a spectacular lob over the goalkeeper. Nelson managed to tip the ball onto the bar when back peddling but Rhodes reacted first and nodded the ball into the net.

To be fair County didn't give up, Lee Hughes headed wide from a cross and Bishop's shot was blocked by Tom Clarke but Town could have killed the game off just after the hour mark. A long ball over the top was chased by Rhodes who outmuscled Pearce on the byline. Rhodes' cut back for Alan Lee six yards out looked dead certain to be in the back of the net but the shot deflected on to the bar.

On 66 minutes Alan Judge nearly pulled on back from the home side. From a throw-in the winger took a touch before driving a 25 yard shot that smashed the crossbar and fortunate for Town fell to safety.

County were given a chance to get back into the match five minutes later. Lee Hughes' deflected cross fell into the path of Sheehan just inside the Town penalty area and Tom Clarke's rash challenge gave Sheehan the chance to go down like he'd been shot and the referee pointed to the spot.
County's regular penalty take Jeff Hughes stepped up and sent Bennett the wrong way to give the home side a lifeline.

Scott Arfield replaced Gary Roberts with less than ten minutes to go but yet again Town were done by their own mistakes with six minute left. A long ball pumped forward by the County defence saw Gobern misjudge his header, the ball fell kindly into the path of Lee Hughes and his half volley took a slight deflection on its way into the net.

The home side then pushed on, Bencherif headed over the bar from a Sheehan free-kick and the latter was alert at the other end to deny Arfield a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

The Scottish midfielder could have claimed all three points for Town as the clock hit the 90 minutes. Lee's flicked on header saw Rhodes get in front of Nelson and nod the ball back to Arfield but the midfielder's shot rolled millimetres past the post when it looked easier to score.

Another draw and defensive errors once again costing us all three points. To throw away leads when going for automatic promotion is criminal and I'm sure Lee Clark will be looking at bringing in some defenders to address the problem. Badly missing Damien Johnson in midfield too.

Sean's Star Man – Jordan Rhodes
Scored one himself and set up Roberts will a delightful floated cross to the far stick. Gave County a headache all afternoon with his off-the-ball movement and chasing lost causes. Without this lad I seriously don't know where the goals would come from this season.


County: Nelson, Kelly (Burgess 83), Sodje (Pearce 40), Hillis, Sheehan, Judge, Bencherif, Bishop, J Hughes, Hawley, L Hughes.
Subs not used: Mitchell, Edwards,Allen

Town: Bennett, Hunt, T Clarke, P Clarke, Naysmith, Cadamarteri, Robinson, Gobern, Roberts (Arfield 81), Lee, Rhodes.
Subs not used: Colgan, Kay, Novak, Parkin.

Attendance: 8,914
Referee: Nigel Miller.


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