Wrexham 2 v 1 Huddersfield Town

Huddersfield Town story posted by Andy Dixon on 22/10/2002
An embarrassing one-sided affair saw an uninspired Huddersfield Town crash out of the LDV Vans Trophy competition at the first hurdle. On a freezing cold evening 1,350 football fans saw an undaunted Third Division Wrexham team completely control a Town side which looked a shadow of the side who had beaten Notts County and Mansfield in recent weeks.Wrexham 2 v 1 Huddersfield Town

The absence of leadership in the form of Steve Jenkins saw Adie Moses receive the armband, but the former Barnsley central defender couldn't find the words of encouragement at a time when Town were being run ragged by their lower league opponents. Some would say that it was a Wales versus England tie, where the most impressive side managed to out-class their counterparts, in much the same way as Wales' victory over Italy a week ago impressed more than England's draw with Macedonia.

Welsh highlights started to come in the very first minute. Midfielder Lee Jones had the first shot of the game with a middle of the goal effort easily saved by Scott Bevan. At this early stage Moses and Nat Brown set their personal standards by not picking up the attacking midfielder. Two minutes later and another chance came when a long ball by Paul Barrett was controlled well by Shaun Holmes who crossed to the far post, but six foot six Scott Bevan had no problems picking the ball out of the air.

A three minute delay could have been the perfect opportunity for the terriers to regroup and concoct a better game plan that may have seen them progress to victory. However, the injury to Wrexham goalkeeper Andy Dibble didn't see Town change their tactics as replacement 'keeper Paul Whitfield took the field after only six minutes.

Instead of attacking the Welsh side Town appeared to be playing with a cocky attitude where they thought they could beat their opponents with hardly an effort. A period of simple passing across the back four by Town saw Wrexham striker Lee Trundle earn his first chance of the game as he pressurised the defence and broke down their passing with his reward being a dangerous effort from the edge of the box which was block by a combination of Brown and Chris Holland.

The second division visitors had their first shot of the afternoon after nine minutes. Defensive midfielder Holland was the man behind the shot. He was trying to add to his meagre tally of Town goals with yet another against Wrexham (he scored in the 5-1 win at the McAlpine last year and he also grabbed the only goal of the game at the Racecourse ground when we eliminated Wrexham from the LDV Vans Trophy with 1-0 being the final score). Nonetheless, Holland's attempt was blocked by a defender and the resultant corner was deep from Martin Smith and headed towards the other corner flag, yet a Town player (unidentifiable as they were not attacking the away stand) kept the ball in, but their cross was easily claimed among the crowds by the substitute 'keeper Whitfield.

A minute later and Bevan performed a startling double save. Trundle managed to evade Moses and Brown once again and was one-on-one with Town's 'keeper when he decided to shoot. A charging Bevan saved the goal-bound effort with his feet. Unfortunately the ball bounced off Bevan's feet to fellow striker Darren Ferguson, but his chance was cleared by a combination of defenders and Bevan after his initial save bought his team-mates enough time to come back and cover well.

Under a lot of pressure the atmosphere in the Town stand was dying out. The sparsely populated ground was so quiet that the distressed calls of Bevan were ringing in the ears of Town's very cold and unimpressed fans. However, Town's defenders were not taking heed of Bevan's calls and an out of position Brown allowed Jones another shot. His curling effort from the edge of the box after thirteen minutes went just past the left top corner of the goal, to the obvious relief of Brown and visiting supporters.

Town's second highlight of the match came a minute later when Holland attacked down the left wing and crossed the ball towards the far post setting up an acrobatic volley for Jon Stead. However his spectacular attempt was closer to damaging a Wrexham fan's meat pie than it was to improving Town's poor performance.

Nonetheless Town did have a rare period of pressure which saw Simon Baldry exploit Wrexham's defence with his unique twists and turns as he earned Town a free-kick on the corner of the box. Mansfield hero Smith stepped up to take it and his cross-come-shot forced 'keeper Whitfield into pushing the outrageous effort over the bar. However Town couldn't capitalise at the corner as Baldry wasted the chance to cause mayhem in the box as his cross was too long and went out for a Wrexham throw-in.

Twenty-minutes gone and Wrexham had their best shot of the half when Stephen Thomas had a piledriver saved by the impressive Bevan. The rocket from Thomas created a terrific one-handed save from Bevan after a scramble in the box saw the ball fall invitingly for the Wrexham player. Yet the ball was not cleared convincingly and an air-kick from Moses after an attempted interception fortunately allowed the ball to be gathered by Town's 'keeper.

Five minutes later and a smooth passing move in midfield saw Baldry bearing down on goal, but his frustrating step-over move allowed the defender the chance to tackle him. But a supporting Stead pounced on the loose ball and shot into a crowded area. The chaos produced a scramble away.

Worried travelling terrier fans were once again relieved after a confident Wrexham attacking move. Slick passing around the edge of Town's box ended with Jim Whitley having a shot on goal which went just over the bar. The Wrexham move gave the impression that Denis Smith's men were toying with their Yorkshire rivals.

However an improved piece of Town attacking saw them test Wrexham to the full extent. First, John Thorrington was played through by Dwayne Mattis, his attempted lob over an on-rushing Whitfield came off a Wrexham defender and flew over the crossbar, but it led to a string of Town corners which kept their Welsh hosts camped in their own defence. The first corner from Smith went into the middle of the area, but was headed out by a defender. Corner number two, also from Smith, was to the near post where Stead headed the ball down towards goal, but a defender sliced his clearance for another corner. Number three, from Smith was long, but Thorrington retrieved it and crossed the ball back into the crowds for Smith to shoot, but his effort was deflected wide, seemingly by the hand of a Wrexham defender. However, instead of a penalty, Town had another Smith corner which was crossed into the middle for a defender to head out. However, the poor clearance fell to Thorrington who had a tame low effort easily saved by 'keeper Whitfield.

On minute 34, Thomas Heary turned defence into attack as his miss-kick clearance went off his shins towards Baldry. His quick thinking provided a neat through ball pass to an equally alert Smith who already had a yard on his marker. But his attempt on goal wasn't a problem for Whitfield.

Wrexham's final effort of the half came seven minutes later from a Ferguson free-kick which was crossed to an unmarked Dan Bennett, but his header soared wide of the post. Two minutes later and Town had their last chance of the half. A Baldry free-kick, which was given after Stead had been obstructed on the edge of the box, came to the head of Brown who directed his effort wide, arguably summing up his evening.

Words of motivation were definitely needed from Mick Wadsworth, but must have been ignored as the second half started in end-to-end fashion. After only three minutes Barrett had the home side's first attempt of a half, but his shot was low and easily saved by Bevan.

Two minutes later Stephen Roberts bundled over Stead. The awarded free-kick saw Smith shoot from approximately 30-yards out, although his effort curled round the Wrexham wall, 'keeper Whitfield was perfectly positioned to save the shot. Three minutes later Wrexham attacked once more as a dodgy Town defence allowed Trundle through for another shot which Bevan comfortably saved.

On the hour mark, the home fans shouted for a penalty as referee Mr A. Penn harshly dismissed the home team's calls after Brown had roughly pulled over Trundle when he was through on goal.

Nonetheless three minutes later Wrexham scored the opening goal. It came from a corner which was a result of a marvellous Bevan save from an unmarked Holmes. The Holmes effort was pushed wide by a diving Bevan for the corner which was swung to the edge of the box for a perfectly executed volley from Roberts.The knee-high effort went through a crowd of bodies and past an unsighted Bevan. The goal brought back memories of a very similar Paul Scholes' goal a couple of seasons ago for Manchester United against Bradford City.

A meaningful response didn't come from Town until six minutes later when Baldry was through on goal, however he was tackled by Bennett whose clearance was blocked by Baldry. His cross then took a ricochet off a Wrexham defender back to the 'keeper, leading desperate terrier fans into claiming a back pass.

Indeed the loyal travelling support wasn't getting their money's worth on a cold Welsh night. However, spirits weren't too low and collective amusement came from a series of hearty miniature Mexican waves. If only the performance on the pitch had the same organisation as their fans ... it could have been oh so different.

The players must have seen the show of unity in the stands as they finally looked like scoring. Heary and Mattis attacked together on the right wing and after good work together, Mattis got the ball to the touchline to lay the ball back to Stead. His effort beat the 'keeper but was cleared off the line by Shaun Pejic. The resultant break illustrated how dangerous Wrexham could be as Trundle had another chance flash just wide of Bevan's post.

On 73 minutes, short sharp passing between Mattis, Stead and substitute Danny Schofield almost led to Schofield being through on goal but 'keeper Whitfield had enough confidence to come and claim the ball from a Stead pass before Schofield could run on to it. A lively Schofield was at the heart of the action once more three minutes later as he played a clever through ball to Smith, but his shot was just over the bar after Whitfield had made the opportunity as hard as possible by charging him down.

Seemingly Town had Wrexham rocking and soon they were reeling as Mattis scored a brilliant individual goal for the terriers in the 77th minute. Wrexham's programme highlighted Mattis as the 'one to watch' and his goal was certainly not to be missed. A long pass from Kevin Sharp was expertly headed back into the path of Mattis. Perfect control saw the midfielder dummy his way past two defenders while beating another two as he dribbled into the box, once in position he calmly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner past a diving Whitfield. His second goal of the season was one to savour as he pulled Town from the brink of a cup exit, providing terriers fans with Millennium Stadium hope.

Three minutes later and Town attacked again with Sharp crossing to Stead. His headed effort went just beyond a running in Schofield and also just past the post. Seconds later and Smith had the chance to wrap up the game for the terriers. Schofield set up the chance after attacking down the right and cutting inside, he faded to shoot but squared the ball past a diving Whitfield to Smith. However Pejic and Bennett managed to cover the goal as Smith's shot struck the crossbar when it looked easier to score.

The only booking of the game occurred after Brown fouled a Wrexham player after 86 minutes. The resultant free-kick was taken by Thomas and looked as if it had come straight off the training pitch. His effort went directly into the back of the net, beating a six-man wall and a flat-footed Bevan. The superb curling shot was hit with pinpoint accuracy and even if Bevan had dived I doubt he would have reached it as it struck the join between the post and bar and nestled in the back of the net.

Four minutes later Wrexham could have added to their goals as the impressive Trundle out paced Moses and only a charging Bevan could stop him. One-on-one with the 'keeper Trundle took too much time thinking about his shot, when Bevan ran out and snatched the ball at the striker's feet.

With two minutes added time Town had two more chances to equalise. The first was intercepted by Bennett after Stead tried playing the ball square to substitute Kenny Irons, who must have felt like he was in nosebleed territory, being so far up the pitch. A minute later Town had a last minute free-kick which Bevan came up for. However, Sharp's ball to the back post towards Stead and Bevan was too far and was also the last kick of the match.

Disappointment was the obvious emotion among Town fans, as their team had been knocked out of the cup they were so close to winning last season. On the night Wrexham were as impressive as their brand new Pryce Griffiths stand and defiantly continued their attacking game even after surrendering their lead. Two quality goals saw a 'giant-killing' performance in a match many Town fans would have expected their side to win. However, the positive side of this defeat is that Mick Wadworth's men can now focus on the league, but their only chance of cup silverware now is the F.A. Cup which Town haven't done well in for quite sometime.


Bevan (7): A man of the match performance from the big man who could do nothing about either goal as the finishes were just unstoppable. He also showed much needed passion at the end when he came up for the last free kick.

Heary (6): Looked completely at ease in a first team defence he has rarely played in.

Sharp (6): Defended and attacked well.

Brown (4): Regularly out of position and often led to a lot of their attacks.

Moses (4): Shockingly poor performance from Town's replacement captain.

Mattis (7): Scored a superb goal and formed a great partnership with substitute Schofield.

Holland (6): Workman like performance from the hard working midfielder who attacked and defended well.

Thorrington (5): Had a couple of chances, but didn't last the full game.

Baldry (6): Tackled back and attacked well.

Smith (6): Had the chance to seal the game for the terriers but failed to score when it looked harder to miss. Also had some good free-kicks.

Stead (7): Pressurised and closed down the Wrexham defenders and also worked very hard to get into positions for chances.


Schofield (6): Looked very lively and dangerous on the attack and was in the mix of a lot of Town's latter chances.

Irons (4): Probably would have had a nosebleed if Stead's square pass had reached him, but at least he was attacking in their box.

Referee rating:

Mr A. Penn (5): Liked to play advantage, but failed to award Wrexham a clear cut penalty and also missed what appeared to be a Wrexham hand-ball in their own penalty area.



1. Andy Dibble (OFF 6)
2. Jim Whitley
3. Shaun Holmes
4. Stephen Roberts
8. Lee Jones (OFF 76)
9. Lee Trundle
10. Darren Ferguson
12. Paul Barrett
15. Dan Bennett
18. Shaun Pejic
19. Stephen Thomas


5. Brian Carey
14. Paul Edwards
21. Paul Whitfield (ON 6)
23. Hector Sam (ON 76)
25. Mark Jones

Huddersfield Town:

1. Scott Bevan
20. Thomas Heary
22. Kevin Sharp
5. Adie Moses (CAP)
27. Nat Brown (YELLOW)
11. Simon Baldry (OFF 81)
33. Dwayne Mattis (1 GOAL)
6. Chris Holland
10. John Thorrington (OFF 64)
14. Jon Stead
19. Martin Smith


15. Scott McDonald
8. Kenny Irons (ON 81)
29. Jonathan Worthington
7. Danny Schofield (ON 64)
35. Philip Senior

Half-time: 0-0
Attendance: 1,350


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