Huddersfield Town 0-0 Sheffield Utd (8-7 on Pens)

Huddersfield Town story posted by Sean Makin on 26/05/2012
Huddersfield Town are finally back in the Championship after a long 11 year absence. The long suffering Town fans deserved this moment after watching The Terriers rattling around in League One for 10 seasons plus a solitary season in League Two.Huddersfield Town 0-0 Sheffield Utd (8-7 on Pens)

Neither side could be separated over the 90 minutes and extra time so the lottery of the penalties it was and after missing their first three spot kicks Town came back to win 8-7 with goalkeeper Alex Smithies scoring the decisive kick.

It wasn't a great game to watch overall but The Terriers had the better of the chances and looked the better of the two sides after the break after a rather scrappy first half.

Over 21,000 Town fans made the journey to Wembley but an accident on the M1 with a 2 hour delay caused problems for fans of both sides in getting there in time for the 3 o'clock kick off. Many fans only arrived at half time, the game should have been delayed but I have since been told it was Sky TV who was pushing for the game to start at 3pm. I myself along with my friends arrived just in time as the players were coming out onto the pitch at the start of the match.

The only change to the Town line up was goalkeeper Ian Bennett didn't recover from a hand injury which meant Alex Smithies started. Kallum Higginbotham kept his place in the starting XI despite Scott Arfield returning from injury to which the Scotsman was on the bench.

Town started brightly with Calum Woods and Higginbotham linking well down the left and forcing a corner on 7 minutes. Danny Ward's corner was headed back across goal by Tommy Miller finding Sean Morrison but the defender's goal-bound header was blocked by a Mathew Hill.

Higginbotham dragged a volley wide after good work by Jack Hunt down the right but Sheffield United gave Town a real scare on 11 minutes.
Peter Clarke misjudged the flight of a long ball forward and it was crossed into the Town box, Smithies came out and got nowhere near but fortunately for the young goalkeeper Lee Williamson could only find the side netting from a tight angle.

It seemed to give The Blades some momentum forcing a corner which Town defended well. Moments later Miller broke down a United attack and Damien Johnson's neat ball found Lee Novak who looked as though he could break away but Harry Maguire denied the striker a chance with a smart tackle.

Smithies was looking nervy during the first 45 as some crosses he totally missed but to be fair he didn't miss everyone and luckily he seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on. Peter Clarke denied Richard Cresswell with a smart block as Smithies hesitated to collect a long ball forward by United.

Clarke was again called upon when he denied Hill with a shot from the edge of the area with just under 10 minutes to go until the break.

Jack Hunt went on one of his usual forward, determine runs and after beating two players on his way into the area his end product let him down as his dragged his left foot shot wide of goal.

Jordan Rhodes was having a quiet game but neat play between him and Novak could have produced a chance had someone made a gamble into the box. Rhodes laid the ball off for his strike partner 25 yards from goal, Novak chipped the ball back into the area for Rhodes and the striker's lovely cushioned header went to waste.

Neither side made any real clear-cut chances in a rather scrappy first half.

A minute into the second half and Town were unlucky not to be in the lead. Woods' cross into the United penalty area was headed away by Maguire but the ball fell to the feet of Danny Ward on the edge of the box. The winger steadied himself before rifling a shot with his right foot that thundered against the crossbar with Steve Simonsen routed to the spot.

United fought back with two successive corners with the second one finding the head of Maguire but the young defender could only manage to header well wide of the Town goal.

Higginbotham forced a corner with an hour gone and the winger took the corner himself finding the rising Clarke at the far post but the Town captain could only head the ball into the side netting.

The referee was giving The Blades some rather soft free-kicks and overlooking some shirt pulling by Stephen Quinn and Rhodes was often barged in the back throughout the match. Higginbotham was booked on 62 minutes for a nothing foul on Matthew Lowton.

Town had the wind in their sales and Hill prevented Ward having a header at goal from a great cross by Hunt down the right flank.

The Terriers broke from a United corner with Ward's long ball up field finding Rhodes, the striker held the ball up before sending a lovely chipped pass to the on-rushing Higginbotham. The winger chose to shoot instead of taking a touch and he got it horribly wrong as the ball sailed harmlessly wide.

With just over 10 minutes to go Quinn wriggled his way into the Town box after a one-two with Lowton but the United midfielder could only drag his angled shot wide.

Gary Roberts came on for Higginbotham on 79 minutes and seconds later Town nearly took the lead. Ward's corner found Clarke at the far post, the captain's header was blocked by Simonsen and Miller's rebound effort was cleared off the line by Nick Montgomery.

Simonsen was again called into action to deny Clarke again with a header from a Town corner as the goalkeeper was at full stretch to tip away the ball. Novak kept the ball alive finding Ward, his cross found Rhodes who headed the ball just wide of the post.

Chris Porter came on for Cresswell with 5 minutes to go and the striker headed wide from a United cross. At the other end Novak hit a tame effort straight at Simonsen and the United goalkeeper did well seconds later to claim Morrison's long throw in a crowded penalty area.

Nothing could separate the sides in the 90 minutes with Town having the better of the chances to into extra time it went.

Woods denied Porter's goal-bound header just four minutes in to extra time and Clarke denied Quinn's volley with a superb block.

Town threw on Alan Lee for Danny Ward and the big striker won a free-kick 25 yards from goal to which Roberts' over-hit set-piece evaded Morrison at the far-post.

Quinn again squirmed his way into the Town penalty area but Smithies was alert to deny the Irishman's powerful effort at his near post.

Half time in extra time and still nothing could separate the two sides.

Upon the restart Roberts collected Hunt's throw-in and played a clever through ball for Alan Lee but the striker's shot was denied superbly by Simonsen at full stretch.

With 8 minutes to go another chance went begging for Town. Roberts took a free-kick from the right and Clarke got his head to it in the six yard box, it was looking as if Rhodes would have a simple tap-in but a United defender managed to clear the ball.

The Blades caught The Terriers on the break seconds later and Johnson was booked for bringing down Porter on the edge of the Town box. Williamson took the free-kick but could only hit it straight down the throat of Smithies.

With 4 minutes left Arfield replaced Novak but it was down to the lottery of penalties to separate these two sides.

The penalties were taken at the Town end on Wembley as they were first to take the penalties.

Missed! Miller's penalty is saved by Simonsen.

Missed! United miss their first penalty too as Smithies pulls off a world-class save to deny Williamson.

Missed! Johnson scuffs his penalty horribly wide.

Scored! Collins makes no mistake for The Blades.

Missed! Alan Lee's tame penalty is saved by Simonsen.

Missed! Lowton has his penalty saved by Smithies.

Scored! Peter Clarke slams home his spot kick.

Missed! Andy Taylor smacks the post.

Scored! Arfield makes no mistake.

Scored! Porter scores.

Into sudden death:

Scored! Rhodes calmly slots his penalty.

Scored! Quinn scores.

Scored! Roberts blasts his penalty into the net.

Scored! Maguire scores.

Scored! Woods scored for Town

Scored! Doyle scores.

Scored! Hunt scores.

Scored! O'Halloran scored.

Scored! Sean Morrison puts on enough power as Simonsen gets a hand to it.

Scored! Hill scores.

Scored! Smithies blasts the ball into the net.

Missed! Simonsen balloons his penalty way over the bar.

I really thought after missing our first three that was it. Credit to Smithies for keeping us in the shoot-out and scoring the decisive kick. The scenes at the end will live long in the memory.

Huddersfield Town are back in the Championship.


Town: Smithies, Woods, P Clarke, Morrison, Hunt, Ward (Lee 98), Miller, Johnson, Higginbotham (Roberts 79), Novak (Arfield 116), Roberts.

Subs not used: Colgan, T Clarke.

Sheff Utd: Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Hill, Williamson, Montgomery (Taylor 120), Doyle, Flynn (O'Halloran 108), Quinn, Cresswell (Porter 85)

Attendance: 52,100
Referee: R East.


There are currently no comments for this story. In order to post a comment, you need to be a registered Terrier Bytes member and logged in. Click here to login or here to register with Terrier Bytes.




10th Anniversary Edition - 2001 to 2011