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13:59 29th August 2009


When Lee Clark talked about the need to grind out results, he must have had this afternoon's early kick-off against Yeovil Town in mind! In a scrappy encounter that started with an amazing Kieran Murtagh goal for the visitors, goals from Theo Robinson and Michael Collins secured all three points for the Terriers.

Town started brightly in the glorious conditions and created the first chance of the game through a speedy 4th minute breakaway. A Yeovil corner broke to Lionel Ainsworth on the edge of the box but instead of dribbling with the ball, he cleverly turned the ball over the top of defender Jones for Theo Robinson to chase. The Town striker got there, but scuffed his left-foot shot at the 'keeper rather than squaring to fellow forward Jordan Rhodes.

GOAL - Yeovil took a surprise lead in the 6th minute with their first shot of the game and it was midfielder Kieran Murtagh who netted what was likely to be the best goal of his career. A left-sided corner was cleared at the near post by a Town defender and fell to the Yeovil man, who hit an amazing volley from 30 yards out that gave the sprawling Alex Smithies absolutely no chance.

Town soon settled back into the game and created a superb opportunity to hit back in the 12th minute. A left-sided corner taken by Ainsworth drifted all the way across the face of goal before finding Pilkington at the back post, who whipped in a tremendous cross; that fell to skipper Clarke at the near post, but like a true centre-back he placed his effort from ten yards out straight at the goalkeeper!

The home side then conceded a penalty - their fourth in only three games - in the 12th minute. Yeovil striker Obika had a wild swing at the ball just inside the Town area - totally missing the ball - but span and poked the ball past Lee Peltier before being tripped by the defender's outstretched leg.

Up stepped striker Gavin Tomlin to make it 2-0 to the visitors - but Alex Smithies had other ideas. A full-length dive to the left from the 'keeper was enough to block Tomlin's powerful spot-kick and the young custodian did well to recover and smother the ball at the feet of a Yeovil man. Watching England under-21 boss Stuart Pearce must have been impressed!

Michael Collins blazed wide with teammate Pilkington screaming for a pass to his right two minutes later before Robinson set winger Ainsworth free on the right flank in the 19th minute, who sent a powerful volley into the side netting at the near post.

A clever one-two on the edge of the Yeovil area between Robinson and Pilkington in the 20th minute led to the former dragging a shot wide of the far post when under pressure.

A breakdown in communication between Butler and Smithies almost gifted the visitors a second goal a minute later, but fortunately the 'keeper managed to clear the ball to safety.

The Glovers always looked dangerous on the attack, with strikers Obika and Tomlin always willing runners into the channels.

GOAL - However, it was Town who scored an equaliser in the 33rd minute through Theo Robinson. The striker, who had just received treatment from physio Dave Buckby, picked himself up and limped into the area to meet winger Anthony Pilkington's fantastic low delivery into the penalty box at the far post. The goal was down to Pilkington's great work; he had turned on the afterburners to blaze past full-back Alcock down the right before crossing.

BOOKING - Yeovil striker Tomlin was booked in the 35th minute following a poor challenge on Lee Peltier.

Yeovil winger Nathan Smith showed quick feet to create room for a shot in the 39th minute, but he sent his effort well wide of goal.

Theo was the victim of a very narrow offside decision given in Yeovil's favour in the 42nd minute after he latched onto Pilkington's pass, which would have put him one on one with 'keeper McCarthy.

Just before the interval, the lively Tomlin nodded a Schofield cross over the bar at the near post.


Yeovil full-back Alcock did brilliantly to block Pilkington's early second-half shot after he had played a neat one-two on the edge of the box with Jordan Rhodes.

Town started the second 45 minutes at a higher tempo, pushing the Glovers back into their own half. Ainsworth and Pilkington started to see a lot of the ball in wide areas and Rhodes was unlucky to be given offside in the 54th minute.

SUB - Lee Clark made his first change in the 57th minute, with Jordan Rhodes being replaced by Lee Novak.

Away defender Terrell Forbes scuffed a hopeful shot wide of goal two minutes later before Smithies tipped a low cross-come-shot from Schofield inches wide of the far post. From the resulting corner, lofty striker Obika headed the ball down into the floor and was unfortunate to see it bounce over the crossbar.

Town hit back soon after, with Peter Clarke heading another Ainsworth corner wide of the far post.

GOAL - Town scored their second goal of a scrappy game in the 65th minute, with Michael Collins netting his opening goal of the campaign. Midfielder Antony Kay received a pass in the middle of the park and played the ball out to the right immediately for winger Ainsworth; he teased the defender before chipping the ball towards the penalty spot for the onrushing Collins to head home.

SUB - Robbie Simpson replaced in Lionel Ainsworth in Town's second substitution of the afternoon in the 65th minute. This change saw Lee Novak move out to the right wing, with Simpson moving alongside Robinson.

The substitute showed a real turn of pace five minutes later to burst past two defenders on the edge of the box, but unfortunately he sent his low shot wide of goal.

SUB - Yeovil made a double change in the 72nd minute - Nathan Jones and Gavin Tomlin were replaced by Andy Welsh and Sam Williams.

Smithies comfortably saved a snapshot from Obika with 12 minutes remaining before Pilkington's sublime pass put substitute Simpson in on goal a minute later - only for 'keeper McCarthy to block his attempt at lifting the ball over the goalkeeper.

SUB - Antony Kay was replaced by the returning Jim Goodwin in Town's final change of the afternoon.

SUB - Yeovilalso replaced Mason with George O'Callaghan at the same time.

Simpson scuffed a shot wide of goal in the 82nd minute before the outstanding Peter Clarke superbly blocked a useful-looking shot from Obika at the other end seconds later.

Goodwin immediately sent a superb ball over the top for Robinson to chase that caused havoc in the Yeovil penalty area and after the Glovers conceded a corner, the immense Clarke powered a header across the face of goal.

Novak blazed a shot way over the crossbar in the closing moments before Smithies tipped a Welsh free-kick around the post, although it may have been going wide anyway.

BOOKING - Town's Robbie Simpson and Yeovil's Nathan Smith were booked in the last meaningful action of the game.


Town's Team (4-4-2):

Alex Smithies; Joe Skarz, Andy Butler, Peter Clarke (c), Lee Peltier; Anthony Pilkington, Michael Collins, Antony Kay (Jim Goodwin 81), Lionel Ainsworth (Robbie Simpson 65); Theo Robinson, Jordan Rhodes (Lee Novak 57)

Unused Subs: Matt Glennon, Nathan Clarke, Robbie Williams, James Berrett

Attendance: 12,646

Visitors: 233

Town Booking: Robbie Simpson (90)

Yeovil Bookings: Gavin Tomlin (35), Nathan Smith (90)

    Data provided by Press Association


    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.