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16:58 13th February 2010


Town fans will have left the Galpharm Stadium wondering how their side did not win this promotion battle against Swindon after Lee Clark's side dominated the second-half.

The Robins were impressive during the first 45 minutes and led by a single goal at the break despite Peter Clarke's opener, but Antony Kay's early goal in the second-half set up a pulsating encounter and it was a great surprise that no more goals were added to the scoreline.

An early move from the Terriers down the right flank almost led to half a chance for Lee Novak, who had been restored to the starting line-up in place of Nathan Eccleston; however, the striker's touch to divert Pilkington's cross away from a defender diverted the ball behind for a goal kick.

The same duo combined again in the fourth minute to create another half-chance - the winger turned full-back Jean-Francois before crossing to the near post and although Novak got in front of his marker, he could only divert his volley wide of the near post.

GOAL - After a succession of Town corners and great early pressure from Lee Clark's side, they deservedly took the lead through skipper Peter Clarke's superb 8th minute strike. A deep corner delivered by Roberts from the right was cleared to the left corner, where Clarke stepped inside his marker before running towards goal down the dead ball line. Just as it looked like the Captain would cross, Peter looked up and squeezed a shot between 'keeper Lucas and the near post to give his side the lead.

GOAL - However, the Terriers were immediately pegged back a minute later when Swindon striker Charlie Austin scored a quick-fire equaliser. Bolton loanee winger Danny Ward found space on the Town right to cross from the corner and the striker nipped between the two Town centre-backs to power home a header from extremely close range, leaving Alex Smithies absolutely no chance.

Swindon created another good chance in the 14th minute, when some patient build-up play saw the ball worked to the visitor's right for winger JP McGovern; he crossed left-footed into the box and found the head of top scorer Billy Paynter, but the big forward could only divert his header straight at Smithies from fifteen yards.

Town tried to fight back, with Pilkington's 25-yard free-kick almost deflecting into the path of Novak at the far post in the 24th minute before falling to safety.

The game was interestingly poised, with a good battle developing between Ward and Peltier on the Town right and Jordan Rhodes causing the Swindon defence problems with willing running at the other end.

GOAL - Swindon attacked again in the 28th minute and took the lead for the first time in the game through Danny Ward. A long clearance out of defence was flicked on by Paynter before Austin played the ball to the left side; Ward stepped infield before sending a low shot towards goal that cut between Peltier and Trotman before nestling in the bottom corner of the goal.

Swindon 'keeper Lucas came to the rescue for his side a minute later after Town had forced a left-sided corner. Pilkington delivered a dangerous, pacey cross to the near post where big Neal Trotman rose highest to nod towards goal, but the custodian did very well to push the ball to safety with Novak in close attendance. The ball fell to the edge of the box where Michael Collins volleyed towards goal, but his effort clipped the top of the netting before falling to safety.

A Town short corner on the left side created another chance for the home side in the 33rd minute, with Pilkington's looping cross finding the head of Kay inside the area; his header skimmed off defender Jean-Francois before falling to Rhodes at the back post, but he could only drill the ball into the wrong side of the side netting from an acute angle.

BOOKING - Swindon full-back Kevin Amankwaah picked up the first booking of the game in the 39th minute for a trip on Pilkington down the left flank; from the resulting free-kick Lucas made an outstanding save to tip Rhodes' header around the post, but as it stood the striker was deemed to have been offside at the time anyway.

Lee Novak then spurned a glorious chance to level the scores just two minutes before the half-time break. Smithies' long clearance out of his hands found the head of Rhodes and from his flick Roberts cleverly turned the ball inside first-time into the path of the striker. Novak took two steps into space on the edge of the box before shooting, but could only send his effort wide of the 'keeper's right-hand post.

Lucas then pulled off another outstanding save as the half drew to a close, pushing Novak's powerful header from Pilkington's excellent cross over the bar when it looked certain that Town had levelled.

The last meaningful action of the half saw Smithies comfortably smother Paynter's twenty yard snapshot.


The second half started at a frenetic pace and some early pressure soon heralded a Town equaliser.

GOAL - Antony Kay netted a 50th minute equaliser for the Terriers from a right-sided corner. Pilkington won the set piece on the flank, with his cross being deflected behind by midfielder Douglas; Roberts took the delivery and at first it looked like Neal Trotman would connect at the near post, but the ball travelled further into the box and Kay smashed a header home from close range.

Pilkington went close to giving the Terriers a lead soon afterwards, but his powerful drive from 25 yards was excellently turned around the left-hand post by 'keeper Lucas. The resulting corner was cleared as far as Michael Collins on the edge of the box who volleyed towards goal, only to see his shot cleared off the line by Swindon's Simon Ferry.

Clark's side were putting their opponents under constant pressure by this stage and Rhodes went close with an acrobatic volley just before the hour mark, but in the end he scuffed his effort wide.

SUB - Swindon boss Danny Wilson made his first change in the 62nd minute, with former Carlisle striker Vincent Pericard replacing Charlie Austin.

The substitute was immediately in the action, picking up a clever reverse pass from McGovern before racing into the area - however, he was stopped in his tracks by an excellent covering block from skipper Clarke. The resulting corner was nodded across goal by Paynter, but none of his teammates could convert the ball.

Novak pulled another outstanding save out of 'keeper Lucas on the stroke of the 68th minute. The striker latched onto Kay's ball down the line before stepping inside and smashing a dipping volley towards goal from 25 yards, but somehow the 'keeper tipped the ball over the bar at full stretch.

SUB - Swindon made their second substitution in the 75th minute, with midfielder Craig Easton replacing Simon Ferry.

Kay's deflected shot then dropped just over the Swindon crossbar, with the referee bizarrely awarding a goal kick despite the obvious change of direction.

SUB - Lee Clark made his first change soon afterwards, with Theo Robinson replacing Jordan Rhodes.

An 84th minute corner from Roberts found the heads of Peter Clarke and then Trotman before the 'keeper caught the ball and then the lively Robinson was inches away from connecting with Novak's low cross.

Robinson blazed over the bar with his left foot soon after before Man of the Match Clarke had a back post header cleared off the line from yet another corner.


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

Alex Smithies; Dean Heffernan, Peter Clarke (c), Neal Trotman, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Michael Collins, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes (Theo Robinson 78)

Unused Subs: Simon Eastwood, Robbie Simpson, Tom Clarke, Danny Drinkwater, Krystian Pearce, Nathan Eccleston

Swindon Booking: Kevin Amankwaah (39)

Gate: 14,610

Visitors: 443

    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.