Huddersfield Town 1 v 1 Colchester United

Huddersfield Town story posted by Phill Rodgerson on 26/10/2002
After a disappointing second exit in the early rounds of the Cup competitions it was time for Town to get their minds back on what is, in the long run, the most important competition ? the League. After two fantastic wins it looked like the Town Play-Off Wagon was finally back on it?s track after a month of disappointment. A victory at struggling Colchester United today would?ve further calmed early fears of relegation and pushed us further to our ultimate goal or promotion to Division 1 this season.Huddersfield Town 1 v 1 Colchester United

The game didn?t quite follow that plan, though, as Town got off to a bad start conceding after just 11 minutes to Kevin Rapley. For the following 80 minutes Colchester looked solid and closed down our opposition very quickly forcing many errors. The result was many jeers from the frustrated Town fans as one-too-many balls were harmlessly sent back to Bevan as Colchester harried us back. Despite the poor performance, Town were lucky to gain 90th minute goal via Jon Stead after he pounced on a rebounded shot off the post. It?s one-point a piece but Town really should consider themselves very fortunate to get away with such a performance this time round!

The game got off well enough for Town. It looked like their dominating form would continue as two half-chances fell Town?s way. After just 30 seconds of kick-off Simon Baldry, who was very much ineffective down the middle (or tied to John Thorrington, I could never tell!) for the rest of the game, laid a ball into the area for leading goalscorer Martin Smith. The chance arose for a shot but as was to become the norm of the day Mark Warren was able to get his body in the way of the shot.

Just a minute later and Dwayne Mattis looked to be through on goal after John Thorrington had lobbed a ball over the top. What looked like a comfortable catch for U?s ?keeper Brown soon turned into a moment of embarrassment for the 6?2 shotstopper as the ball bobbled over his head. The chasing Mattis tried to capitalise on Brown?s mistake when it appeared he was bundled over in the area but the referee, Mr. P. Joslin, just like every other ref to visit the Mac this sesason, decided against awarding Town the penalty.

A mixed bag of Town?s side-passes and Colchester?s dogged defending lead to an indifferent following ten minutes until the away team, with a following of just 150 fans, opened their account. Scott McGleish chipped the ball over a static Town defence leaving Rapley bags of time to bring the ball under control. Bevan was quick off his line to close him down but it wasn?t enough to put off the striker as he coolly sent Bevan the wrong way to give the men in red an early lead. The lead was to deservedly last for a staggering 80 minutes.

After some fantastic passing football, featuring some 15 passes strung continuously, Colchester dominated the rest of the opening 20 minutes playing on the confidence of their early lead. The constant possession held by Colchester lead to many frustrated fans booing their players leading to even more nervous legs out on the pitch, especially the young lads such as Jon Stead who were afraid that any mistake they made would be amplified by the vociferous Town fans.

On 21 minutes a long ball into the area from a free-kick found Jon Stead near the edge of the area. He flicked a header into the box for his strike-partner Martin Smith. With his back to goal he decided to attempt a flamboyant overhead kick. He connected but was unable to direct it wide of the keeper as it was harmlessly hit straight at Simon (or as my programme says ? Simom) Brown.

Just 5 minutes later and Colchester were threatening the Town goal. This time it was goalkeeper Scott Bevan receiving the stick after a cross which flashed across his goal should?ve easily been collected by the big keeper but instead was left to be dealt with nervously at the back post by Kevin Sharp. The resulting corner almost created a goal as danger-man Scott McGleish had more time on the ball than he knew of and hit an easy chance way over the bar.

On 28 minutes it was proven why Smithy SHOULD be our set-piece taker. A freekick awarded just outside the area had both Stead and Smith licking their lips at the chance. Both men stood over the ball, with Town fans sure that it would be Martin that would hit it after a Stead stepover. Instead, the young striker harmlessly floated a ball over the U?s bar, wasting a great scoring chance for proven set-piece ?expert? Martin Smith.

The last piece of action worth a mention in the first-half came from the only goalscorer of the game Kevin Rapley. A bit of miscommunication at the Town back had Nat Brown leaving a ball that Adi Moses was sure he was going to collect. The result was an unmarked Rapley in the box awaiting his second of the game. This time he went for the lob and was unlucky to see his effort skim off the top of Bevan?s crossbar. Town could breathe a sigh of relief that they were only one-nil down at half-time.

Knowing something must be done to change the tide of the game Mick Wadsworth brought on a substitute at half-time. Unfortunately, it was the substitution of Danny Schofield for Nat Brown. This caused much unnecessary reshuffling as captain Jenks moved to centre-back and Simon Baldry moved to right-back as Martin Smith effectively dropped to left-wing to allow room for Schofield up front. It seemed to hinder the team more than help them and left many fans puzzled as to why such a complicated change around was made by the manager.

Again it as Town who were quick out of the blocks. A corner resulted in a ruck of Colchester players determined to keep the ball out of their goal. Fortunately for them the plan worked and their clean-sheet was in tact for the time-being. Just before 50 minutes the American John Thorrington, after winning himself a freekick by running at the defence, played a great ball over the top. It was just inches short of Adi Moses who appeared to bottle out of the challenge rather than put it all on the line for the equalizer.

A poor Town performance could?ve easily been summed up in on moment on 65 minutes when a harmless backpass (one of approximately 1,000 today) was played back to Scott Bevan. The big-man lost his footing as he was about to clear the ball and the ball crawled heart-wrenchingly towards goal. To the relief of around 9,000 Town fans the blip was corrected before an embarrassing own-goal was given away by the Terriers.

Even with the game seeming to ever closer to ending in all 3 points to the way team they still managed to mount some more pressure on Town with 2 successive corners. The first was won when Kevin Rapley, still looking for his second, broke through on goal and forced Scott Bevan into an acrobatic one-handed save to tip it over the bar. The corner met McGleish at the back post who drove a shot back towards goal. The shot was deflected wide for another corner which didn?t prove to be anywhere near as dangerous.

Just a minute later and the pressure continued as a fantastic cross from Sam Stockley found prolific goalscorer Scott McGleish with a radius of 10 yards of space. The ball seemed just a slight too high for the striker though as experienced defenders Moses and Jenkins could only look on in glee as they saw McGleish head over the bar from such close range.

Some self-worked chances by Jon Stead came to very little as the game lowly drew to an end. A header from a corner and some good running against the defence didn?t look to be the answer for Town?s poor performance. So, in a bid to rescue a point former Colchester manager Mick Wadsworth introduced both Dyson and McDonald, the latter of which was to play a major role in Town?s late goal.

Just as the fourth official Mr. Swarbrick held up his board to indicate four minutes of added time Danny Schofield made a last ditch attempt to get into the box down the left channel. He found substitute Scott McDonald who lashed a first time shot towards the bottom left corner. With what remained of the Town faithful it looked like it had gone in but instead it rebounded off the foot of the post. Luckily Jon Stead was on hand to score his third of the season by spanking the ball home to gain Town an undeserved point against Colchester.

I think I?ll leave the ratings section as there will be no high scores awarded this time due to the appalling performances of every player on the pitch. My MOTM goes as a joint for Jon Stead for scoring the goal and trying hard to create things all match despite nothing going his or the team?s way and also to Scott McDonald for being the spark that seemed to create the last 10 minutes of hope for Town and also helped set-up the equalizer.

Referee?s Rating ? Mr. P. J. Joslin (5): I fear we will never get a good referee in this division! Often took about 5 seconds to make a decision, frustrating many people as it wasn?t clear what he was blowing up for. He also bottled for Mattis? early penalty claim. No yellow cards awarded though, which isn?t bad.

Teams:

Huddersfield Town

1. Scott Bevan
22. Kevin Sharp
2. Steve Jenkins ?
27. Nat Brown (OFF 45)
5. Adi Moses
11. Simon Baldry (OFF 81)
10. John Thorrington
6. Chris Holland
33. Dwayne Mattis
19. Martin Smith (OFF 81)
14. Jon Stead (Goal, 90)

Subs:

35. Phil Senior
23. Jon Dyson (ON 81)
8. Kenny Irons
7. Danny Schofield (ON 45)
15. Scott McDonald (ON 81)

Colchester United

1. Simon Brown
15. Adrian Coote
3. Joey Keith
20. Mickey Stockwell
19. Alan White
8. Mark Warren
25. Sam Stockley (INJ 89)
6. Thomas Pinault
10. Kemel Izzet
9. Scott McGleish (OFF 86)
12. Kevin Rapley (OFF 86)

Subs

11. Dean Morgan (ON 86)
18. Justin Richards (ON 86)
23. Leke Odunsi (ON 89)
(If anyone could tell me the two unused subs I?d be very grateful if you could tell me since I missed them ? cheers)

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