Huddersfield Town 0 v 0 Wycombe Wanderers

Huddersfield Town story posted by Andy Dixon on 09/11/2002
Once again I feel like the bearer of bad news as our beloved Huddersfield Town failed to put another fairly poor division two side away even after arguably controlling most of the game. Although Wycombe only had ten men for around ten minutes they looked as if their game plan was to frustrate the terriers and earn themselves a point through defending from the start.Huddersfield Town 0 v 0 Wycombe Wanderers

Nonetheless, a young Town team could not capitalise on the away teams lack of attacking confidence, therefore neither side managed to merit a goal as both teams performances were poor. Although Mick Wadsworth's men could be described as a shoddy effort, it was not as bad as Colchester, evidently good news for the future?

Talking of the future, youngsters Paul Scott and Jon Worthington both had their first-team debuts at home alongside returning centre-half Nathan Clarke, who surprisingly replaced Nat Brown. However, the most prominent youngster on the field was the irrepressible Jon Stead who showed that he can do a job at this level (even though he did not score).

After a mere 3 minutes Stead was making a nuisance of himself by hassling the Wycombe defenders off the ball. A pressured headed back pass was left to Wycombe goalkeeper Frank Talia, who charged out of his goal and cleared the ball before Stead could pounce.

A minute later American winger John Thorrington looked to be fully fit and skilfully twisted, turned and weaved his way down the right wing past at least three visiting defenders before he collided with the backside of the right-back. The majority of the stadium believed he had been obstructed, but referee, Mr C. Boyeson, waved play on to the disbelief of the 'bumper' 8,695 football supporters.

Six minutes on the clock and Town's first shot of the game. A throw-in from the left wing fell to Stead, who instinctively turned past one defender then cut into the box. His shot drifted wide, but he was setting his sights for future chances. Moments later and Stead mazed his way through a couple of defenders on the edge of the box, but the havoc created failed to reward the striker with a shot as the 'keeper smothered the ball at the youngsters feet.

Three minutes later and home debutante Paul Scott had the chance to fulfil every schoolboy's dream as he had a free header deflected wide. The chance was concocted by young Dwayne Mattis, who crossed from the right, for Scott to attack the ball at the far post, only to see his goal-bound effort hit a defender, but neither the referee nor the linesman awarded Town with a deserved corner.

After 11 minutes Wycombe had their first 'shot' on target as Michael Simpson, from about 40-yards out, took a free-kick which Scott Bevan had no problems claiming. The free-kick was probably more of a cross, but it was going in if Bevan hadn't reacted with his cat-like reflexes.

One minute later, knowledge of Delroy Facey's goal for Bradford City filtered through the stands and the reaction was disappointing to say the least. An undeserved "Facey is a Judas" chant rang around the ground, yet I am proud I did not take part as it is fully undeserved as the former Town striker is only looking to make a living on first-team football.

Anyway, on the 14th minute 'Welsh David Beckham' Steve Jenkins caused problems in the Wycombe penalty area with a dangerous whipped cross which was headed out for a throw-in. The returning Clarke stepped up and performed a trademark long throw in front of the John Smith's Stand. The throw produced a half-time talking point as the penalty area looked like a pinball machine with the ball eventually being passed back to 'keeper Talia who picked the ball up - surely a back pass and indirect free-kick from inside the box for Town? But no, the linesman and referee both ignored the foul play and allowed the game to continue.

After 20 minutes, Town's top-scorer Martin Smith had his first chance of the match. A hard-working Jon Stead received the ball as the terriers pressed forwards, only to release a through pass to Smith before being violently pulled over. However, the referee decided to play the advantage as Smith latched onto the pass and shot low, but wide of the Wycombe goal.

On the 25th minute, the game looked reminiscent of a park match as Steve Brown hacked down midfielder Scott and deservedly received the first booking of the afternoon. Yet a minute later Scott was also booked as he got his own back on Brown with a badly timed challenge.

Nevertheless, Stead had another opportunity to add to his three goals so far this season as he created a chance for himself out of nothing. But inexperience and the attention of at least two Wycombe defenders meant the desired goal didn't arrive as the shot was low and wide.

With the half coming to a conclusion, Wycombe ventured forward with a very rare spell of pressure. Centre forward Craig Faulconbridge had the first intended effort on target as his header was plucked out of the air by Bevan, who didn't even have to jump to prevent the opening goal.

A minute later Wycombe's most dangerous player, in more ways than one, Danny Senda managed to run rings around Kevin Sharp before driving a low cross come shot across the face of the Town goal. The ball evaded two of his colleagues, three Town defenders as well as 'keeper Bevan, as it went inches wide.

Town went in at half time to some well earned applause, but the loyal fans hoped that the re-emergence of the terriers would see a change in fortune and maybe a few goals, but Wycombe came out in the same vein as they left. One minute after the restart and the visitors had their first corner of the afternoon. Brown crossed the ball to the penalty spot where captain Paul McCarthy expertly controlled the ball and let loose a terrific half-volley which was fortunately deflected wide by a grateful Town defender. The second corner was easily claimed by in form 'keeper Bevan.

After sustaining pressure, Town broke in the form of Worthington who played a perfect through ball to a running Stead. The ball cut through the Wycombe defence like a motorbike in rush-hour traffic and Stead was gifted probably the best opportunity of the match. He was one on one with Talia and it seemed as if he had an eternity to pick his spot and score a delightful goal for the terriers, however the striker's eventual shot was low and saved well by the 'keeper's legs.

Three minutes later, Stead may have been trying too hard to make up for the earlier miss as he was tackling back deep into his own half. Unfortunately for the youngster, he mistimed his challenge and ended up being booked. The free-kick caused a few problems as Town unconvincingly cleared the danger after weathering a number of Wycombe efforts including another header from Faulconbridge.

Danger-man Andy Rammell had been neutralised by Clarke and Adie Moses until the 54th minute where he had a snap volley that went inches wide after a cross from Faulconbridge. Two minutes after Simpson made a chance from nothing in pretty much the same way as Stead did earlier, but his effort went just inches over the bar.

From the resultant goal-kick Town had another good chance to score, with Smith coming close once again. The provider was Stead who attacked on the right wing and drove a low cross into the box. A poor attempt at a clearance saw the ball skip up into the danger area and a diving Smith made contact with it, but could not divert the chance towards goal.

Three minutes later Stead created another chance from nothing as he pressured the Wycombe defenders. Talia was not tested this time though as Stead's shot went high and wide of goal, but at least the youngster was buying a ticket and trying to win the raffle.

On the 65th minute Wycombe manager Lawrie Sanchez tried to change his team's tactics by introducing his first substitute and they played a lot more attacking football from then on. Only a minute later Keith Ryan had a chance as he was passed the ball after some good football by the visitors. However, his effort from outside the box went just wide of Bevan's goal.

Five minutes later Sharp attacked down the left wing for the terriers and managed to slide a cross to the back post where Stead picked up the pass and drove a shot towards goal. Talia fumbled the effort, inviting a sliding challenge from Smith, but the striker could not put the ball over the line as the 'keeper recovered with a great save.

On the 74th minute Wycombe threatened again as substitute Darren Currie had his first shot of the day from the edge of the box after some very attractive attacking football. Nevertheless, his effort didn't cause Bevan any serious problems as it drifted wide of the target.

The major highlight of the afternoon occurred in the 81st minute as Wycombe were brought down to ten men after Senda slapped Sharp across the face. The pair had been battling all afternoon, but this time the Wycombe man had reached boiling point. Sharp fouled the Wycombe defender and when he extended his hand to help the visiting player to his feet, Senda struck the Town man. The referee quickly resolved the situation and gave Sharp a yellow card before issuing Senda with a straight red card dismissal.

However, the free-kick caused problems for the full-strength Town team as Ryan had another notable shot, which was followed by a poor clearance which saw the ball eventually land at Bevan's feet. His punt up field was stopped by the head of a jumping Faulconbridge, but what would have been a freak goal floated just wide of the post.

A minute later and Thorrington attacked down the right wing as the game became an enthralling end to end affair. His cross created yet another chance for Stead, but his low shot was pushed wide by a full-stretch Talia. Three minutes later and Stead had another chance to put Town in front, but his low shot went just wide.

The final opportunity of the match could have fallen to Wycombe as they pressurised a tired Town defence. However, after Simpson out-paced Jenkins and delivered a cross to the near post, attacker Stead performed a piece of textbook defending to perfection.

The fourth official held up four added minutes, but neither side could score as the game ended in a goaless draw. Although Mick Wadsworth's men gained a well earned point they should surely aim higher against a side whose basic ambition from the start was to get a draw. An unlucky Stead worked hard all afternoon, with little help from Smith, and should have grabbed at least one goal as his personal performance definitely deserved it.

However, the team as a collective unit did not perform as well as the young striker, and without the heart, ambition and passion shown by this inspirational centre forward, the rest of the team looked (at times) like division three players. So next Saturday's F.A. Cup encounter against Swindon would be a perfect opportunity to give Paul Macari a chance in the first team. Surely he will have similar characteristics to young Stead and may prove to be the missing link that Town need if they are ever going to win a football match again.


Bevan (6): Overall a sound performance in which he was tested more in the second half. He caught well throughout the game and had no problems with his kicking.

Jenkins (6): Another job well done by the returning captain. As ever, he had spells in attack and provided some good crosses.

Sharp (5): After a good first half performance, he had a torrid second 45 minutes, in which he was booked and involved in the sending off. He also didn't attack as much as he has done before.

Clarke (6): The youngster was solid in the centre of defence and will be pleased that his first home appearance of the season ended with a clean sheet.

Moses (6): Yet again, he didn't put a foot wrong, as he came up against the tall and strong Wycombe forwards.

Mattis (6): Hard-working in midfield and tackled back well. He was a vital cog within a young midfield set-up.

Worthington (7): The debutante was the first ever text message man of the match, even though he was booked and did not complete the full 90 minutes. He showed the heart and passion needed at this level.

Thorrington (5): Pacey down the right wing and caused problems on the brief occasions when he penetrated the Wycombe box..

Scott (7): Worked hard on his home debut and was very impressive alongside Mattis.

Smith (5): A very under-par performance in which he worked hard and had a few chances but never looked likely to score.

Stead (8): Several chances missed by the man of the match, but a lot were down to his own creation. The striker is looking more and more impressive at this level and appears to be the next Andy Booth. When he has more confidence he will have no problems putting away the best chances he gets, but at the rate he is improving he may get to the stage of putting even half chances in the back of the net. Maybe a combination with Macari will provide even more goal-scoring opportunities.


Schofield (4): He troubled Wycombe defenders on the left wing in the closing moments but didn't do anything of note.

Irons (1): A waste of a substitution from Wadsworth as the midfielder had little time to make an impression.

Referee rating:

Mr C. Boyeson (4): A very poor referee, but it is to be noted that he was not helped out by his uncertain assistants. An example of this was when he missed the clear back pass in the first half. This can be very frustrating for supporters because if it had been awarded, then it would be a very good goal-scoring opportunity. All through the match there seemed to be wrong messages being passed between the referee and his assistants, thus leading to some bad decisions. However, he did show authority by giving a number of yellow cards and a late red.


Huddersfield Town:

1. Scott Bevan
2. Steve Jenkins (CAP)
22. Kevin Sharp (YELLOW)
5. Adie Moses
4. Nathan Clarke
29. Jonathan Worthington (YELLOW) (OFF 76)
33. Dwayne Mattis (OFF 90)
28. Paul Scott
10. John Thorrington (YELLOW)
14. Jon Stead (YELLOW) (Man of the Match)
19. Martin Smith


27. Nat Brown
8. Kenny Irons (ON 90)
31. Paul Macari
7. Danny Schofield (ON 76)
35. Philip Senior

Wycombe Wanderers:

22. Frank Talia
5. Paul McCarthy (CAP)
3. Chris Vinnicombe
2. Danny Senda (RED)
4. Andy Thomson
8. Keith Ryan
9. Craig Faulconbridge (OFF 90)
11. Dannie Bulman
16. Andy Rammell
28. Michael Simpson
30. Steve Brown (YELLOW) (OFF 65)


7. Darren Currie (ON 65)
12. Richard Harris (ON 90)
?. Mystery (ON 83) - distracted and missed who came on and who went off - sorry!


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