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21:41 23rd February 2010


Just as they did at Carlisle a week ago, Lee Clark's Town side defied the history books to record a comprehensive victory at Tranmere Rovers - a notorious bogey ground for Huddersfield teams in recent years.

The first win at Prenton Park in over ten years came courtesy of a superb brace from the in-form Lee Novak - the striker took his seasonal total to eleven with goals early in both halves. However, it was another battling, professional performance from all eleven players.

With the snow hammering Prenton Park as the game kicked-off, The Terriers - in their change strip of red and navy once again - came under some early pressure from the home side. However, it was Lee Clark's side that had the first shot at goal inside three minutes. A raking pass from Pilkington was turned to the left flank brilliantly by Jordan Rhodes, but unfortunately Gary Roberts could only send his long range strike wide of the 'keeper's right hand post.

At the other end, Peter Clarke made a great sliding block to deny striker Ian Thomas-Moore a clear shot at goal barely a minute later.

Danny Drinkwater's persistence and closing down created a great chance for the visitors in the 7th minute; the midfielder closed down defender Goodison as he dwelled on the ball before sliding a great low ball into the feet of Jordan Rhodes, who forced 'keeper Daniels to push the ball around the post with a first-time snapshot.

GOAL - It was from that right sided corner that Town took a seventh minute lead and this time it was definitely Lee Novak's tenth of the season! The Terriers worked a short corner before Roberts delivered a great ball to the far post; Novak's initial header was saved brilliantly by Daniels, but after Neal Trotman challenged a defender on the line for the loose ball Novak was presented with another opportunity to head home from very close range. A defender desperately tried to clear the ball to safety, but the assistant referee immediately signalled that the ball had crossed the line.

It was worth remembering that Danny Drinkwater deserved immense credit for the goal - it was his excellent work that had led to the corner in the first place.

Town were really buoyed by the goal and more good combination between 'Drinky' and Pilkington almost led to a headed chance for Rhodes at the near post, but centre back Broomes did excellently to get in a vital defensive clearance.

Pilkington flashed another fantastic low delivery across the face of goal in the 12th minute, but somehow Novak couldn't get the touch that would have given him his second goal of the game and the ball was cleared to safety.

Sordell hit a rare Tranmere shot straight at Smithies a minute later as the home side tried to fight back and a rare error from Drinkwater gave Les Parry's side another shooting chance just after the quarter hour mark. The Manchester United loanee missed his kick when trying to clear a near post cross and the ball ran to Thomas-Moore; however, the striker hit his drive straight at Smithies from 18 yards out.

Antony Kay drove an effort wide of goal from 25 yards with his weaker left foot two minutes later before the home side started to enjoy another period of possession. Tranmere had a decent chance to equalise in the 22nd minute after left-back Bakayogo returned a half-cleared corner back into the Town penalty area, but defender Ian Goodison skied his effort with Smithies closing down the angle.

Town knew by now that they were in a real battle - Tranmere were battling very hard for every loose ball, with main striker Marvin Sordell looking a real handful in attack. However, the Terriers were giving just as good as they got all over the field.

The home side got great numbers in the Town area as often as possible and looked to deliver crosses into the penalty box at every opportunity. It took one great bit of defensive play from skipper Clarke in the 34th minute to deny wide forward Curran a clear headed chance at Alex Smithies' goal.

A great piece of individual play from Jordan Rhodes in the 38th minute created a half-chance for Town - he knocked the ball past Broomes before beating Goodison on the outside, but his snapshot from just inside the area was straight down the throat of the Tranmere goalie.

Ian Thomas-Moore headed a raking free-kick delivered into the Tow box straight at Smithies with a minute of the half remaining and the Terriers held firm to lead at the interval.


SUB - Tranmere made a half time substitution, with midfielder Gareth Edds replaced by Charlie Barnett.

The home side had an early shot at goal when Sordell turned inside Trotman and forced a decent save out of Smithies, but it was the Terriers who notched again soon afterwards.

GOAL - Lee Novak scored a superb second goal of the game in the 48th minute to double his side's advantage. When Peter Clarke turned the ball over the top of the home defence, Novak showed great positional awareness to stay onside before outstripping Goodison for pace; as he entered the penalty area he looked up before hammering a volley across 'keeper Daniels and into the far corner.

Pilkington soon turned Roberts' cross into the waiting hands of the 'keeper as Town pressed for a third goal before Kay produced a fantastic diving block to prevent a strong volley heading towards goal.

The chants of 'Super Novak' and 'Lee Clark's Barmy Army' rang out from the packed away end at Prenton Park as the game settled down again and the fans were on their feet again for the goalscorer in the 55th minute when the former Gateshead man turned a defender brilliantly down the left channel. His cross come shot almost fell to Jordan Rhodes in the six yard box, but defender Goodison got a vital block in at the near post.

SUB - Tranmere boss Les Parry made his second change in the 58th minute, with former Barnsley man Chris Shuker replacing John Welsh. This sub saw Tranmere change their shape to 4-4-2 from 4-3-3, with Thomas-Moore joining Sordell as an orthodox striker.

Jordan Rhodes had a great opportunity to put the game to bed in the 65th minute after Novak had flicked Peter Clarke's cross back into the area with his head - he looked offside, but the linesman kept his flag down and it was only 'keeper Daniels' legs that prevented the top-scorer from netting Town's third of the evening.

A rare Tranmere corner, taken by midfielder McLaren in the 68th minute, gave Tranmere a rare effort on target - however, defender Goodison's header went straight into the waiting hands of Smithies.

Novak pulled a shot wide of target from a narrow angle five minutes later after good passing play from Roberts and Rhodes. The striker had targets to hit with a cross, but you couldn't blame him for trying a shot after the evening he had enjoyed!

SUB - Tranmere made their final change of the evening in the 75th minute, with Terry Gornell replacing Sordell.

'Robbo' was claiming handball inside the Tranmere area moments later after cutting inside a defender and seeing the ball flick up onto the defender's arm but the referee was having none of it.

Pilkington's low drive from range was easily saved by the Tranmere custodian as the game entered the final ten minutes.

Lee Novak went very close to his first Town hat-trick with two minutes of the game remaining, but was denied by a good save from the home 'keeper. After Gary Roberts made a superb block on the edge of his own area, he raced up the pitch to collect Heffernan's through-ball; Robbo cleverly turned inside before squaring to the striker, but Lee's powerful drive was turned around the post for a corner.

Roberts' deep corner to the far post fell to Novak once again, but his snapshot was blocked excellently by Daniels. The rebound fell to Drinkwater on the edge of the box, who powered a volley straight into the midriff of defender Bakayogo.


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

Alex Smithies; Dean Heffernan, Peter Clarke (c), Neal Trotman, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Danny Drinkwater, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes

Unused Subs: Simon Eastwood, Michael Collins, Nathan Clarke, Theo Robinson, Tom Clarke, Krystian Pearce, Nathan Eccleston

    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.