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17:00 12th December 2009


Town recorded a welcome home victory over Gillingham this afternoon as strikers Jordan Rhodes and Lee Novak both scored goals for the second consecutive week.

After falling behind to an early sucker-punch from Gillingham top scorer Simeon Jackson, Town responded late in the first-half through goals by the two strikers to lead in the interval and the scoreline ended the same despite a raft of chances for the Terriers in the second-half.

The Terriers started the game at a high intensity, but soon fell behind to a third minute sucker punch.

GOAL - The visitors took a third minute lead through their top scorer Simeon Jackson. A looping pass out of the Gills midfield by Kevin Maher allowed the striker to race clear of the Town defence and Alex Smithies hesitated twice before deciding to come for the ball, which gave the Canadian international the3 chance to deftly lob the ball over the stranded custodian and into the net.

Town almost replied immediately when a flat long throw from the right by Nathan Clarke found the head of Jordan Rhodes at the near post, but his flicked effort hit a defender before being cleared to safety.

Collins then did well to find Ainsworth on the right with a low cross-field pass, but although the winger did well to stand a cross up to the far post striker Lee Novak was stretching a little and could only head the ball wide of target.

Roberts then had a snapshot blocked at the far post after Novak's flick on fell to his feet inside ten minutes, but the Galpharm had been stunned by the visitor's early goal and Lee Clark's side could not find their feet for a spell afterwards too.

Collins looped an Ainsworth cross harmlessly over Gillingham's crossbar on the stroke of the 17th minute before Roberts went on a mazy run down the left and crossed towards Rhodes; the top scorer uncharacteristically dallied when given the opportunity to shoot and allowed a defender to get back and block his side-footed effort before heading Ainsworth's quickly delivered ball back into the area over the crossbar.

Rhodes headed another half chance wide in the 22nd minute from a Peltier free-kick after Kay had been fouled by Gillingham striker Dennis Oli just inside the visitor's half.

Town went the closest they had to scoring in the 27th minute when Antony Kay rattled the crossbar. Left-back Skarz found Ainsworth with a short pass, the winger having switched to the left wing; he raced on the outside of the full-back before crossing low to the near post where Rhodes touched the ball back to the midfielder, who volleyed against the woodwork with his left foot.

Rhodes went close again in the 38th minute after Roberts did excellently to find space for a cross down the right flank, but the striker placed his header too close to 'keeper Julian - allowing him to push the ball away to his right side.

GOAL - Town levelled the scores in the 40th minute when Lee Novak capitalised on a moment of defensive hesitancy to score his eighth of the season. Jordan Rhodes dropped into the hole in front of the Gillingham defence to flick a defensive clearance on and centre-back Fry misjudged the bounce, allowing the former Gateshead man to steal in and place a comprehensive shot past Alan Julian from fifteen yards.

Clark's side almost scored an immediate second after Rhodes was upended by Fry on the edge of the box, but Julian brilliantly turned Gary Roberts' free-kick around his left-hand post.

GOAL - As it was, the Terriers did go into the interval ahead after Jordan Rhodes netted his 15th goal of the season. Gary Roberts took the resulting corner from the right flank and the top scorer made a run across a defender at the near post to nod the ball home from close range.

It could have been three for the Terriers before the ref blew his whistle, but after Rhodes muscled his way past defender Fuller he was denied a shooting chance by an excellent block from Fry.


The start of the second half was interrupted by a an early clash of heads involving Nathan Clarke, but play was soon underway and Novak was close to getting on the end of a decent through ball from Skarz in the 51st minute.

Gillingham enjoyed more possession in the early moments of the second period, but Town almost capitalised on a 58th minute break when Rhodes' eventual shot was deflected wide by a defender after good work from Roberts and Novak. From the resulting Roberts corner, Novak's header was cleared off the line by a defender at the near post.

A one-two between the right-sided combination of Roberts and Peltier in the 62nd minute gave the latter the chance to poke a shot straight at Julian before Gillingham mounted an attack, with winger Barcham putting his shot high and wide after good work from midfielder Stuart Lewis.

Town were back on the attack soonafter, with Rhodes just missing out on latching onto a Roberts pass before Novak hit a long range drive at the 'keeper.

BOOKING - Antony Kay picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 65th minute for a late challenge on winger Payne, meaning he will now miss the trip to Norwich City next weekend.

Gills defender Fry pulled off a great tackle to deny Michael Collins a clear run at goal two minutes later before Roberts' snapshot from the edge of the box hit the head of defender Bentley before looping just over the crossbar.

SUB - Gillingham made their first change in the 72nd minute when Stuart Lewis was replaced by Rashid Yussuff.

The substitute was immediately in the action, hitting a 25-yard free-kick that Alex Smithies easily dealt with.

BOOKING - Gillingham defender Matt Fry was booked in the 75th minute for handballing a Lee Novak pass intended for Gary Roberts.

From the resulting free-kick Julian pulled off an outstanding save to deny Roberts a goal, pushing the ball around his right-hand post with one hand.

SUB - Giant striker Mark McCammon replaced Jack Payne in the 78th minute in the visitor's second substitution.

Town went close to a clever third goal just a minute after the restart; a superb pass from Ainsworth released Rhodes into space down the left channel and Novak back-heeled the ball narrowly over the crossbar on the volley.

Roberts then shot wide on his left foot after a cross-field pass from Kay released him into space behind full-back Palmer, bending his shot wide of the far post from 20 yards.

Ainsworth then cut inside full-back Fuller to slap a shot towards goal that the 'keeper spilled, but Rhodes chipped his follow-up into the side netting from a narrow angle.

Roberts found space infield in the 83rd minute to collect a pass and run at the Gills defence and although he lofted a superb cross towards the unmarked Rhodes, he could only divert his header wide of the target when falling backwards.

BOOKING - Michael Collins was booked in the 86th minute for a sliding challenge from behind on Dennis Oli.

BOOKING - Gillingham midfielder Kevin Maher was booked a minute later, apparently for time wasting when the Gills were lining up a free-kick.

SUB - Mark Stimson made his final change with three minutes left when Luke Rooney replaced Dennis Oli.

SUB - In second half added time James Berrett replaced Lionel Ainsworth, who had pulled up when running moments earlier.


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

Alex Smithies; Joe Skarz, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Michael Collins, Lionel Ainsworth (James Berrett 90); Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes

Unused Substitutes: Matt Glennon, Theo Robinson, Jim Goodwin, Robbie Williams, Andy Butler, Jack Hunt

Town Bookings: Antony Kay (65), Michael Collins (86)

Gillingham Bookings: Matt Fry (75), Kevin Maher (87)

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Visitors: 247

    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.