A brace from Jordan Rhodes and a third from substitute Theo Robinson ensured that Town progressed to the second round of the Carling Cup this evening at the expense of an inexperienced Stockport County side.
Home debutant Rhodes gave Town a late first-half lead with a cracking drive before doubling the advantage with a measured finish in the second period, leaving Robinson to mark his own debut on home soil with an impressive strike. A late County goal was a blot on the copybook for Lee Clark's side, but in the end it proved to be nothing more than a consolation for the visitors.
Town started the game in confident fashion and created a great chance within the first five minutes. Gary Roberts did well to keep the ball in on the left-hand flank and crossed deep to the back post, where Anthony Pilkington headed back across goal. Unfortunately for the Terriers, striker Novak couldn't get on the end of what had been a brilliant move.
Stockport threatened at the other end of the pitch in the 10th minute, with a last ditch tackle from a Town defender denying away winger Baker a free header from a right-wing Rose corner. Another corner followed and a rare spill from Alex Smithies forced Kay into a goalline clearance.
Tom Clarke tried to side foot the ball home from 25 yards out but only succeeded in launching the ball over the bar in the 15th minute before Kay drove an effort from similar range over a minute later.
Former Hatter Pilkington breezed past full-back Rose in the 18th minute before a good interception denied Novak a certain goal from his cross, but Town were continuing to turn the screw.
A fantastic break from a Stockport corner in the 28th minute ended with the creation of another great chance for Town. A punch from Alex Smithies landed at the feet of Pilkington, who picked out Novak on halfway with superb pass. The striker turned and waited for support before slipping the ball to his left for the onrushing Roberts, whose first time cross picked out the overlapping Peltier; his header was perfectly placed for Rhodes to shoot, but he shinned his left-footed effort wide of the far post.
Alex Smithies had to be alert to athletically tip over a powerful long range free-kick from Greg Tansey in the 31st minute before Town went back on the attack, with Antony Kay firing over from the edge of the box after good work down the right from Pilkington and Peltier.
Novak then did well to intercept a loose pass out of Stockport's defence before advancing and playing the ball right to Pilkington, but his attempted curler his defender Rose before drifting inches wide of the far post.
GOAL - Right on the stroke of half-time, Town took a deserved lead through home debutant Jordan Rhodes. The goal came through an effective break from Lee Clark's side following a Stockport attack, with Gary Roberts dribbling the ball into the opposition half; he played in the hard working Novak down the left, who beat one defender before passing across the face of the penalty area to his new strike partner. Rhodes steadied himself on the edge of the box before firing hard to Paul Gerrard's left side, with the ball nestling in the far corner for his second goal in as many games.
HALF-TIME: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 STOCKPORT COUNTY 0
Town had the ball in the back of the Stockport net after just 31 seconds of the restart, only for the linesman to rule it out for offside. An Anthony Pilkington snapshot was palmed into the air by 'keeper Gerrard; Novak headed the rebound towards the back post and although Rhodes nodded it home from close range, the assistant referee immediately ruled it out.
GOAL - It didn't matter, because on the stroke of the 47th minute Jordan Rhodes netted his second of the game with a splendid finish. Lee Novak received a pass into his feet with his back to goal on the edge of the box and after laying the ball off, the former Ipswich man sent a measured curling shot around the stationary goalkeeper and into the far corner of the goal.
Town continued to press the visitors and Kay flashed a powerful drive past the post of Gerrard in the 52nd minute after receiving a square pass from Tom Clarke.
Pilkington had a decent shot blocked by a defender soon after before another attempted curler spooned off the legs of defender Raynes and dropped narrowly over the crossbar with the 'keeper stranded.
Tom Clarke had a placed effort saved low by Gerrard as the Terriers overran their deflated opponents before putting striker Novak through on goal a minute later, with the ex-Gateshead man firing over from a narrow angle.
County survived a penalty shout for an obvious looking handball in the 61st minute after Rhodes' header appeared to strike an opponent's arm, but referee Salisbury didn't look interested.
The impressive Tom Clarke went close to a goal in the 64th minute when he rose highest to meet a left wing corner from Pilkington, but the ball hit his face and spooned over the crossbar.
Stockport had a rare attack in the 64th minute but winger Poole's decent low drive was comprehensively smothered by Smithies.
A horribly under-hit back pass from Nathan Clarke presented Stockport's Oli Johnson with the away side's best opportunity in the 66th minute and the speedy winger rounded Smithies inside the area, but his shot towards goal was brilliantly headed off the line by the recovering Peter Clarke. Town's skipper collided with the post during his brave attempt, but soon got to his feet to a hero's reception.
Nathan soon redeemed himself, hooking a deep cross from a County player off the line with Smithies stranded.
SUB - Stockport boss Gary Ablett made two changes in the 70th minute, with Oli Johnson and Paul Turnbull being replaced by Danny Pilkington and James Vincent.
SUB - Lee Clark took the opportunity to introduce Theo Robinson in the next minute; he replaced Lee Novak, who is already a firm favourite with the Town faithful.
GOAL -Substitute Theo Robinson wasted no time in making an impression, netting his first competitive goal in Town colours in the 74th minute. A clever first time ball over the top of the defence from Pilkington was touched ahead by the striker, who raced past the last defender with amazing ease before slotting the ball comprehensively past the goalkeeper from an acute angle.
Rhodes went close to a hat-trick in the next minute, volleying inches wide from the edge of the box.
GOAL - That proved to be Rhodes' last action of the game - he was replaced by another home debutant, Robbie Simpson, in the 77th minute.
SUB - Stockport made their third change in the next minute, with Carl Baker being replaced by Adam Griffin.
Soon after Robinson appeared to be hauled down in the penalty box when trying to latch onto a cross from Skarz but once again the referee wasn't interested.
SUB - Town made their final change of the game in the 79th minute, with Lionel Ainsworth replacing Gary Roberts.
A great quick throw from Smithies in the 83rd minute set the new substitute away down the right flank, but his excellent near post cross was nodded wide of the far post by striker Simpson.
Pilkington then crossed low after a run down the left-hand side and Simpson collected before turning and shooting, only to see Gerrard pull off an excellent save to deny him his first in the blue and white stripes.
GOAL - Stockport scored a consolation goal in the 88th minute - substitute Adam Griffin firing home impressively after collecting a deep cross from Danny Pilkington - younger brother of Town's Anthony - to the left side of the penalty area.
Robinson still hard time to shoot a couple of yards wide on the turn and in the end, it was the name of Huddersfield Town that was in the draw for the second round of the Carling Cup.
FULL-TIME: HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 3 STOCKPORT COUNTY 1
Huddersfield Town (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Joe Skarz, Nathan Clarke, Peter Clarke (c), Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts (Lionel Ainsworth 79), Tom Clarke, Antony Kay, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak (Theo Robinson 71), Jordan Rhodes (Robbie Simpson 77)
Unused Substitutes: Matt Glennon, Robbie Williams, Andy Butler, James Berrett