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17:02 16th January 2010


The Terriers extended their unbeaten home record at the expense of visitors Southend United in the first League game of 2010, with top scorer Jordan Rhodes netting a brace to take his seasonal account to 17.

Jordan scored a goal either side of the half time break to secure all three points, with Southend's only consolation a last minute goal for debutant Scott Spencer.

Town, in their special one-off kit of yellow and red stripes in support of the 'Keep It Up' campaign, started in positive fashion and pressed the Shrimpers back into their own half.However, Town survived a ninth minute penalty shout when Nathan Clarke went into a challenge with midfielder Alan McCormack - referee Ilderton giving a corner instead.

The Terriers went close to opening the scoring inside 12 minutes from a corner, awarded when defender Sankofa blocked Roberts' attempted cross. Anthony Pilkington provided the in-swinging delivery from which Antony Kay rattled the crossbar with a powerful header; the rebound then dropped to Novak, but his shot from just ten yards was deflected over the bar brilliantly by the diving Moussa.

An excellent cross field ball from Williams found Pilkington four minutes later and the winger immediately fed the ball to the overlapping Peltier, but after his cross was cleared Southend winger Moussa went on a dangerous run into Town's half. He was stopped by Nathan Clarke, who then set Novak away down the left side in a frantic few seconds.

A knock-down from Rhodes in the 18th minute made the ball sit up invitingly for Novak to strike from long range, but he sent his powerful volley wide of Steve Mildenhall's right-hand post.

Good hold-up play and a simple layback from Novak allowed Williams to pick out Roberts in space on the edge of the box soon afterwards, but he hit a tame curling shot straight at the Shrimpers 'keeper with his weaker right boot.

Southend top scorer Lee Barnard bent a very speculative effort well wide of Alex Smithies' goal from an acute angle in the 27th minute, before the Shrimpers' star man got goal side of Robbie Williams to latch onto Francis' long pass to fire narrowly wide a minute later.

Both sides struggled with their passing range after the half hour mark, with a tame Barnard header from twenty yards being the only effort of note on target at either end.

When defending, Steve Tilson had organised his side to get five men in midfield - leaving Barnard as a lone striker - and the Terriers were struggling to break them down.

GOAL - However, that all changed with a minute of the half remaining when Jordan Rhodes netted the opening goal of the game. A ball from Novak down the right flank released the striker into space down the channel and with Francis in close attendance, he crossed early towards the back post; the ball fell to Roberts, who passed to the overlapping Pilkington. The winger drilled a low ball back across the six yard box for the top scorer to tap home his 16th goal of the season, despite desperate efforts from Sankofa and 'keeper Mildenhall.


Town had an early scare after the restart when an early Southend corner flashed all the way across the penalty area, but Lee Clark's men were back on the attack soon afterwards and a cross from the right from Roberts managed to evade everyone in the opposition penalty area!

Chants of 'Red and Yellow Barmy Army' rang out from the Britannia Rescue Stand as Anthony Pilkington had a hopeful shot blocked in the 53rd minute with men looking for a cross in the penalty area.

Kay then unusually dwelt on the ball in the centre circle in the 56th minute, which allowed Grant to steal the ball and play in winger Scannell down the Southend left; however, Shrimpers old boy Peter Clarke was in no mood to let his former teammate score and pulled off a tremendous sliding tackle.

Rhodes drove the ball high and wide of the opposition goal from just inside the area three minutes later after a superb first touch to deceive defender Barrett before Roberts and Rhodes teed up Novak to hit a deflected shot towards goal that Mildenhall gathered in well.

GOAL - Jordan Rhodes then netted a simple second goal in the 63rd minute to extend Town's lead. A swift break from the home side earned a corner on the left side, with Roberts' cross being deflected behind; Pilkington delivered the corner to the back post, where Jordan rose above his marker to head the bal powerfully past the 'keeper and into the net.

SUB - Lee Clark introduced Danny Drinkwater to the game as a substitute in the next minute - he replaced Antony Kay.

The Terriers produced one of the best passing moves of the game in the 66th minute, with wingers Roberts and Pilkington combining brilliantly to pick out Rhodes with a low ball into the area; unfortunately, he couldn't steer the ball on target and it was cleared to safety.

Robbie Williams hit a typically powerful long range drive wide of goal in the 72nd minute as Town continued to press the Southend goal; moments later Lee Novak was inches away from converting Rhodes' excellent right wing cross.

SUB - Southend made a double substitution in the 77th minute; Jean Francois Christophe and Scott Spencer replaced Damien Scannell and Anthony Grant.

SUB - Theo Robinson replaced Lee Novak in Town's second change a minute later and was immediately in the action, turning defender Sankofa inside out down the left flank before crossing for Rhodes to head straight at the goalkeeper.

SUB - Town's final substitution came in the 82nd minute when Robbie Simpson replaced goalscorer Jordan Rhodes.

SUB - Dougie Freeman replaced Lee Barnard for Southend in the 84th minute.

A pass from Robinson set up fellow substitute Simpson for a shot from 23 yards with just two minutes remaining, but 'keeper Mildenhall made a comfortable save.

Moments later Robinson surged down the right, but could only steer a placed shot straight at the Southend custodian.

GOAL - Southend then made sure that added time would be nervous, with debutant Scott Spencer scoring on his first appearance for United in the final minute. A raking pass out of defence allowed the striker to get goal side of Peter Clarke for a split second as he entered the penalty area and the former Everton trainee lifted the ball over Smithies in competent fashion.

However, the Terriers kept possession well in the four minutes of added time to ensure they came away with all three points.


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

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay (Danny Drinkwater 64), Tom Clarke, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak (Theo Robinson 78), Jordan Rhodes (Robbie Simpson 82)

Unused Subs: Simon Eastwood, Joe Skarz, Michael Collins, Lionel Ainsworth

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