Skip to main content


21:44 1th December 2009


In an amazing game of football at the Galpharm Stadium, determined visitors Tranmere Rovers fought back from a goal down on three separate occasions to earn a draw.

Goals from Lee Novak, Michael Collins and Antony Kay (pictured) gave Town the lead on three occasions but each time, the visitors pegged the Terriers back.

Town could have easily opened the scoring within 80 seconds of the start; Anthony Pilkington showed he was suffering no ill-effects from the slight injury that kept him out of Saturday's win at Port Vale by skinning full-back Bakayogo down the right and crossing, but Lee Novak diverted his powerful diving header over the crossbar at the near post.

GOAL - Lee Novak made amends for his early miss with the first goal of the game in the 6th minute. Nathan Clarke picked up the ball from fellow centre-back Peter Clarke before striking a raking pass to the right; the overlapping Lee Peltier rose above full-back Bakayogo to nod the ball into the path of the striker, who had got goal side of centre-back Broomes. Novak approached the goalkeeper before hitting a clever shot into the near post for his sixth goal of the season.

GOAL - However, Tranmere levelled the scores just two minutes later. A long pass from a midfielder fell to striker Terry Gornell, who managed to get the better of Peter Clarke inside the penalty area - his initial shot was well blocked by Alex Smithies, but the rebound fell straight to Ian Thomas-Moore who gleefully smashed the ball into the net from ten yards.

Jordan Rhodes' snapshot from a very narrow angle was gathered in by 'keeper Daniels as Town battled to restore their early lead in the 12th minute.

Tranmere's formation included three central midfielders and the Terriers were finding it hard to get the ball down and play their usual passing game as Rovers pressed them high up the pitch in possession. However, a succession of corners just before the 20 minute mark allowed Lee Clark's side to press Rovers back into their own half.

One corner from the left flank in the 22nd minute, taken by Pilkington, was headed towards goal at the back post by Peter Clarke but the goalkeeper tipped the ball over the crossbar.

The impressive Peltier was the next to try his luck at goal in the 23rd minute; having used the run of Roberts on his outside as a decoy, he cut infield inside Thomas-Moore but lashed his left-footed effort way over the crossbar.

A stinging long range drive from former Tranmere man Antony Kay stung the palms of Daniels in the 27th minute as Town continued to press, but the custodian gathered the ball in at the second attempt.

A route one move from Town led to the next chance just before the half hour mark; Nathan Clarke's long ball out to the left was flicked on by Rhodes into the path of the onrushing Pilkington, but as the winger looked to unleash a volley on the edge of the box defender Goodison pulled off a superb diving block to diver the ball over the bar. From the resulting Roberts corner, Peter Clarke rose above everyone but diverted his far post header over the bar.

Roberts bent an edge of the box effort wide of goal two minutes later before Michael Collins' shot out of a huddle of players was deflected wide in the 37th minute.

Kay's 30-yarder was mistakenly blocked by Rhodes as the ball arrowed towards goal in the 38th minute after right-back Logan had made a vital last ditch tackle on Michael Collins inside the area.


Neither side made changes to their personnel during the interval and the game restarted in a similar vein to the first half - with the Terriers on the attack. However, the visitors were defending staunchly and clear shots on target were hard to come by.

The first clear shot at goal came in the 56th minute when Gary Roberts collected a pass from Michael Collins and stepped infield from the right flank, but he drilled his effort too high.

GOAL - Town got their just rewards for a very patent passing move spanning the entire width and length of the pitch when MichaelCollins netted his third of the season. The ball ended up with Peltier on the right flank courtesy of Antony Kay and the right-back played a neat one-two with winger Roberts to find space down the wing; his low near-post cross was deflected back into the area by Goodson, allowing the midfielder to calmly step forward and place a left-footed shot into the corner from fifteen yards.

GOAL - However Town's lead was short lived again, with Craig Curran netting a second equaliser just two minutes after Collins' strike. A long ball forward was misjudged by Robbie Williams, allowing Curran space to enter the area unchallenged and stroke the ball past Smithies at close range.

Tranmere striker Terry Gornell had a penalty claim turned down by the referee soon after when Peter Clarke challenged him inside the area before midfielder Welsh sent a good dipping volley towards goal that Smithies had to acrobatically tip over the bar.

BOOKING - Goalscorer Craig Curran was booked in the 66th minute after challenging Antony Kay with his studs showing.

SUB - Lee Clark made a double change in the 67th minute when Jordan Rhodes and Robbie Williams were replaced by Theo Robinson and Joe Skarz.

Robinson was immediately involved, flicking a header towards goal from a Peltier free-kick that the 'keeper dealt with comfortably.

The Terriers still had the lion's share of possession after the equaliser and Robinson was only denied by a great save from 'keeper Daniels in the 77th minute. Novak peeled onto the right flank to collect a pass from Pilkington and sent a deflected cross towards the back post, where Robinson headed towards goal; the striker did everything right, but the 'keeper got across well and saved with his legs.

GOAL - Town took the lead for a third time in the 82nd minute through Antony Kay. The move progressed down the right flank, with Pilkington advancing before slipping the ball to the outside for the overlapping Peltier; his low cross found Kay who had made a run to the near post and the midfielder did well to turn the ball in at the near post. Antony, who had played for the opponents for two seasons, showed real class with an understated celebration.

SUB - Michael Ricketts replaced Terry Gornell in the 84th minute for Tranmere.

GOAL - Amazingly, Tranmere scored a third equaliser just a minute after the substitution - with Michael Ricketts claiming it. Rovers were awarded a free-kick wide on Town's left flank after Skarz clipped the heels of Curran and from Welsh's delivery, a clutch of players attacked the ball and it rolled gently over the line - despite an attempted last ditch clearance from Skarz.

SUB - Tranmere replaced Ian Thomas-Moore with Charlie Barnett in the final minute of the game.

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

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams (Joe Skarz 67), Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Michael Collins, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes (Theo Robinson 67)

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

Tranmere Booking: Craig Curran (66)

Gate: 13,509

Visitors: 317

    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.