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21:44 24th November 2009


Town were defeated for the first time in six games by Danny Wilson's Swindon at the County Ground this evening.

The home side took the lead midway through the first-half through Billy Paynter, only for Lee Novak (pictured) to net a stunning equaliser just four minutes later. However, with the strong wind in their faces during the second 45 minutes a goal from home striker Charlie Austin proved to be enough to condemn Lee Clark's side to defeat.

The Terriers kicked off with the powerful wind on their backs and had the first shot on target inside 90 seconds; Pilkington picked up a pass infield from Roberts before trying his luck with a curling effort that was comfortably dealt with by 'keeper Lucas.

Pilkington was in the thick of the action again inside four minutes - he collected a pass from Rhodes on the right flank before racing past full-back Jean-Francois and whipping a devilish cross towards the near post, but defender Greer did excellently to block Lee Novak's attempted shot before clearing to safety.

Swindon had their first effort on goal in the seventh minute after a high, looping cross from striker Austin dropped to diminutive winger McNamee inside the area, but he scuffed a tame effort straight at Alex Smithies from fifteen yards out.

Another superb low cross from 'Pilks' a minute later was dummied brilliantly by Novak at the near post, but just as Rhodes looked to slam the ball home from ten yards out centre-back Cuthbert made a vital interception.

A 10th minute cross from left-back Williams then dropped to Antony Kay inside the penalty area, but he ballooned a left-foot volley over the crossbar and into the vacant stand behind the Swindon goal.

The Terriers were moving the ball around excellently in the early stages and another great move down the right in the 12th minute involving Collins and Novak led to Pilkington troubling Lucas with a deep cross; however, the ball dropped just over the crossbar with the 'keeper frantically back-peddling.

There was no doubting that the wind was providing Town with assistance in the half - one typically long throw from Nathan Clarke a minute after caused havoc after the wind carried it right across to the left edge of the penalty area.

Peltier fizzed a left-footed cross into the hands of Lucas in the 19th minute as the rain started to hammer the County Ground. Along with the weather, the Terriers were living up to their nickname and persistently pressuring their hosts whenever they were in possession, which led to the Swindon players gifting the ball back to the men in blue and white stripes on quite a few occasions.

GOAL - Despite the almost constant Town pressure, it was Swindon who took the lead in the 24th minute through Billy Paynter. A long free-kick out of defence from Greer found the head of the former Bradford striker, who nodded the ball into the area for strike partner Austin; he turned cleverly before feeding the ball back to Paynter, who slipped the ball past Alex Smithies from ten yards out.

GOAL - Town didn't take long to equalise, with Lee Novak netting a stunning fifth goal of the season in the 28th minute. The former Gateshead man picked up a pass to feet from Roberts and used the run of Jordan Rhodes as a decoy, allowing him the space to turn towards goal. From 22 yards out, the striker switched the ball to his supposed weaker left foot and bent a brilliant curling effort in off the bar - leaving former Leeds 'keeper Lucas with no chance.

Pilkington headed a weak effort straight at the goalkeeper from a looping Peltier cross three minutes after the goal before Nathan Clarke did very well to block a shot from McGovern at the other end.

Novak went close to a second goal in the 33rd minute after Collins stole possession in the centre circle, but his rising drive from the edge of the box went a yard wide of the 'keeper's left-hand post.

Town went close to taking the lead in the final minute of normal time in the first-half; Williams found the feet of Novak with a ball into the Swindon penalty area and the striker cleverly laid the ball off to Kay, but he missed the target with his skidding effort from 22 yards.


Town started the second half as they finished the first - on the attack. An early corner was dealt with by the Swindon defence and they had to be alert in the 48th minute when a superb ball from Rhodes released Roberts. 'Robbo' took the set-piece, which was half-cleared to Peltier; he crossed to the edge of the box where Peter Clarke controlled, turned and rocked the crossbar with a superb bending effort that had the 'keeper beaten,

The wind had not let up during the interval and Swindon were having problems finding their range with balls out of defence. Antony Kay's height and aerial ability was vital for Town in this half - he was competing very well for Smithies' clearances as the ball hung above him in the air.

Town then gifted Swindon a 55th minute corner with two poor clearances and from McGovern's set-piece, striker Paynter glanced a far post header wide.

GOAL - Aftera scrappy period of play, Swindon re-established their one goal lead in the 58th minute through striker Charlie Austin. Town tried to break on their opponents through Anthony Pilkington, but left-back Lescinel Jean-Francois made an excellent challenge on the halfway line; he looked up before chipping a precision ball into the area for the striker, who had peeled off Peter Clarke to create space for a low shot that beat Alex Smithies from twelve yards.

A 64th minute corner from Roberts caused chaos in the Swindon six yard box soon after the goal, but the home survived as a defender made a great block to stop Kay's goalward shot.

SUB - Swindon replaced goalscorer Austin with Alex Revell in the 65th minute.

At the other end, right-back Amankwaah went very close to connecting with a Greer flick-on from McGovern's near post corner.

SUB - Theo Robinson was introduced to the game by Lee Clark in the 70th minute - he replaced Lee Novak. The new man was roundly booed by the home fans as he rejected a move to the County Ground in favour of Town during the summer. At the same time, Lionel Ainsworth replaced Roberts.

The ever-lively Robinson was soon in the action, beating a defender to a ball before volleying over the crossbar from 25 yards out.

Rhodes was the next man to try his luck in the 78th minute after collecting a chested lay-off from Theo, but he looped his volley over the bar from range.

Swindon striker Paynter sent a speculative curler over the bar at the other end soon afterwards.

Town created a decent chance on the stroke of the 85th minute after Collins picked out Ainsworth with a cross-field pass; he crossed to the back post with his left foot, but Antony Kay could only power a header wide of goal from 18 yards.

The Terriers tried to get the ball forward in the final three minutes of added time, but with the wind in their faces they could create nothing of note.


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

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts (Lionel Ainsworth 70), Michael Collins, Antony Kay, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak (Theo Robinson 70), Jordan Rhodes

Unused Substitutes: Matt Glennon, Joe Skarz, Jim Goodwin, Andy Butler, James Berrett

Attendance: 6,630

Visitors: 463

    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.