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16:58 21st November 2009


After trailing at the interval, Lee Clark's side showed they have character as well as talent to come from behind and take all three points against a good Hartlepool side.

Defender Gary Liddle scored from an early Hartlepool set-piece, but from that point the Terriers attacked almost non-stop and were rewarded for their endeavours by goals from Nathan Clarke and a superb Robbie Williams strike.

The Terriers pressed Hartlepool back into their own half in the opening stages and had the first shot on goal inside the fifth minute. Novak did well to hold the ball up down the right channel before allowing Pilkington to run infield with the ball, who in turn played a square pass to Williams; the left-back took aim before unleashing a 25-yard piledriver that shaped wide of the away goal.

The swirling wind and damp pitch meant that several passes were being overcooked by both sides in the early moments. Former Town man Sam Collins still looked an imposing force in the air - he challenged competitively with both Rhodes and Novak for high balls.

GOAL - With their first chance, Hartlepool took the lead. A free-kick was awarded against Nathan Clarke down the right channel for an unfortunate handball - up stepped right-back Austin to curl in a free-kick towards the back post, where centre-back Gary Liddle rose unchallenged to head the ball home past the helpless Smithies.

The visitors could have doubled their advantage on the stroke of 19 minutes when winger Larkin picked up a loose ball before beating Peltier on the outside and standing a superb cross up to the back post for fellow wide man Monkhouse, but a combination of Smithies and Nathan Clarke prevented the ball from crossing the line.

Town fought back and won a right-sided corner a minute later, but Kay's back post header from a Gary Roberts delivery was deflected over the crossbar by a defender. In the 24th minute Collins did well again to head away a dangerously delivered free-kick from Williams just as Peter Clarke looked set to head home.

Top scorer Rhodes was the next to try his luck with a twenty yard snapshot after a Pilkington cross was only half-cleared at the near post, but the ball wouldn't drop for him and he ballooned his volley into the Pink Link Stand.

BOOKING - Hartlepool striker Adam Boyd was booked by the referee in the 28th minute for leaving the field of play without prior permission from the referee.

Town were knocking hard on the door at this stage and a minute later Peter Clarke went close with a header from another Roberts corner that grazed the top of the netting.

BOOKING - Pool centre-back Gary Liddle was booked in the 31st minute for tripping Jordan Rhodes as he raced down the right flank. From the resulting Pilkington set-piece, Nathan Clarke flicked the ball wide with his head.

The away side had to defend for the majority of play, but Humphreys had a rare chance to shoot from range in the 33rd minute. Unfortunately for him, he almost found the upper tier of the Fantastic Family Stand with his effort!

The Terriers were flooding towards goal in the final five minutes of the half, but the Monkey Hangers defended stoutly - Antony Kay rifled a powerful left volley towards goal from the edge of the box in the 40th minute, but it was deflected wide by a defender.


Town started back on the attack in the second period, forcing a corner within the first ninety seconds. That was half-cleared to the feet of Robbie Williams, but the defender dragged his long range shot wide of goal.

BOOKING - Antony Kay was shown a peculiar third yellow card of the season in the 50th minute, apparently for interfering with the defensive wall on a Town free-kick.

That free-kick had been awarded 27 yards from goal when Collins challenged Rhodes from behind; up stepped Anthony Pilkington to smash a superb effort against the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten. The ball stayed in play and found its way to the right flank, where Peltier crossed; unfortunately Rhodes couldn't direct his near post header on target.

GOAL - Another Pilkington free-kick paid dividends in the 55th minute and led to the Town equaliser. Sam Collins conceded the set-piece again, this time hauling down Peter Clarke 25 yards from goal - Pilkington stepped up and took up a Cristiano Ronaldo-esque stance before rifling another superb effort off the post. Fortunately, Nathan Clarkewas on hand to tap home the rebound at the far post.

Town continued to flood forward thereafter and only a superb sliding block from defender Liddle denied Michael Collins a certain goal soon after before a Kay header was gathered in well by 'keeper Flinders a minute later.

Pilkington had another chance in the 62nd minute. After Novak's shot was blocked, the ball flew up into the air; Michael Collins won the battle for it inside the area before squaring to the left for his winger, who drove a shot over the crossbar from a narrow angle.

SUBS - Hartlepool made a double substitution in the 64th minute - Colin Larkin and Adam Boyd were replaced by Leon McSweeney and Denis Behan.

McSweeney immediately raced past Williams on the right flank, but Smithies held his low shot well on the skiddy surface.

GOAL - Town's Robbie Williamsthen scored a superb second goal to put the Terriers ahead in the 67th minute. The left-back picked up the ball from a Pilkington pass on the left flank before driving infield and into the opposition penalty area, breezing past three defenders, before slamming the ball home with his weaker right foot from fifteen yards.

The Terriers continued on the front foot after the second goal, with a Pilkington corner delivery firing right across the face of goal in the 74th minute.

At the other end, a 35 yard drive from Monkhouse didn't trouble Alex Smithies who collected low to his right side.

SUB - Theo Robinson was introduced to the game in place of Lee Novak in the 77th minute.

Rhodes did excellently to harass Liddle in possession in his own half with 11 minutes left, winning the ball off the defender in the corner. He immediately looked for strike partner Robinson with a pass into the area, but the ball ran through to the custodian.

Pilkington went close to setting up a tap-in for the lively Town sub soon after, but Sam Collins pulled off a great sliding challenge in the area to prevent the opportunity.

Kay sent a speculative curling effort over the bar in the 83rd minute following a Town corner.

A minute later Town should have put the game to bed; Rhodes found space in the left edge of the penalty area and shaped to shoot, but instead squared the ball across the face of goal - however, Robinson managed to steer the ball wide of the far post when unmarked from just eight yards out.

Roberts sent a deflected long ranger inches wide of Flinders' right-hand post with three minutes remaining before Peter Clarke nodded a deep free-kick wide of goal at the back post.

'Robbo' tested Flinders with another rangy drive in the four minutes of added time and the Terriers were still attacking when the referee blew the final whistle.


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

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Michael Collins, Anthony Pilkington; Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak (Theo Robinson 77)

Unused Substitutes: Matt Glennon, Jim Goodwin, Tom Clarke, Andy Butler, James Berrett, Lionel Ainsworth

Town Booking: Antony Kay (50)

Hartlepool Bookings: Adam Boyd (28), Gary Liddle (31)

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