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21:52 13th April 2010


The Terriers finally overcame ten man Walsall in a remarkable game of football at the Galpharm Stadium to seal an important three points towards their promotion push.

Goals from strikers Theo Robinson and Jordan Rhodes gave Town a 2-0 half-time lead after Saddlers skipper Mark Hughes had been issued with a red card but Troy Deeney changed the game with a brace before Alex Nicholls put the visitors ahead.

However, the Terriers managed to pull the game back in the final minutes through dramatic late goals from Antony Kay and substitute Lee Novak.

Town started the game determinedly, pressurising the Walsall players all over the pitch, despite this the first five minutes of the game passed with neither side threatening the opposition's goal.

In the 8th minute a poor pass from Neal Trotman resulted in Tom Clarke having to concede the first corner of the game. The in swinger corner from the right was well attacked by Walsall, their centre half Mannie Smith rose highest to produce a good save from Alex Smithies. Despite Smithies first-class reactions he could only push the ball towards Darren Byfield who put away the rebound and thought he had opened the scoring. However, the striker had put the ball in the net illegally using his arm to force the ball over the line. His offence was spotted by referee Webb who chalked off the goal.

BOOKING - As a result of Byfield's hand ball the striker was awarded the first yellow card of the game in the 9th minute - to the pleasure of the Town faithful.

Town had their first real effort on goal in the 11th minute. A good one-two between Gary Roberts and Theo Robinson offered the latter a shot at goal. Unluckily for Town, Theo sent his snap-shot narrowly wide.

Following Robinson's effort Town got a grip on the game and went about applying pressure on the Walsall back four. Numerous chances followed and Walsall 'keeper Rene Gilmartin had to be on hand to stop Robinson when he burst through the Saddlers defence in the 14th minute.

As the game entered the 19th minute Town continued to apply the pressure and won their first corner of the game thanks to good interplay between Robinson and Pilkington down the Saddlers left. Unfortunately for Town, the resulting corner was well defended by Walsall who cleared the danger well.

SENDING OFF - Poor defending resulted in the dismissal of Walsall's centre half and captain Mark Hughes in the 20th minute. A good long ball by Trotman found Hughes wanting with Rhodes in behind him and through on goal. Hughes knew he could not catch Rhodes and was forced to pull him to the ground a few yards inside Walsall's penalty box. Referee Webb showed no hesitation in sending off Walsall's skipper and awarding Town a penalty.

GOAL - Town opened the scoring moments later when Robinson shouldered the responsibility and coolly slotted the ball past a diving Gilmartin.

SUB - As a result of been down to ten men, the Saddlers manager Chris Hutchings changed formation replacing winger Steve Jones for Clayton MacDonald.

In the 26th minute Town were back on the attack again through the skilful Roberts. The winger craftily managed to make a yard of room up against the touchline and swung in a delightful looking cross. Jordan Rhodes attacked the ball excellently and got in front of Mannie Smith to meet the ball with his head, unluckily for Rhodes his bullet header was straight at 'keeper Gilmartin.

Jordan Rhodes went close again only minutes later. More good pressure from Town resulted in them winning their second corner in a matter of minutes. Anthony Pilkington stood over the ball and played in a fantastic looking cross which was once again attacked brilliantly by Rhodes. He timed his run perfectly and connected solidly with ball, the only thing missing from the effort was accuracy as the ball skimmed narrowly past Walsall's near post.

The best move of the game greeted Town fans in the 39th minute. A delicious, diagonal ball from Danny Drinkwater landed perfectly at the feet of Roberts. The winger's first touch was inch perfect knocking the ball inside of Walsall's right back Darryl Westlake. Robert's exquisite touch opened up a shooting opportunity which he duly accepted forcing Gilmartin into another excellent save.

GOAL - Jordan Rhodes bagged his 22nd goal of an excellent season in first half injury time, calmly sliding the ball past Walsall 'keeper Gilmartin. Walsall were hanging on for their lives as the first half drew to a close, and were unable to prevent a brilliant Town break away mastered through the creativity of Drinkwater. Walsall left themselves two on one at the back and Rhodes made them pay when he latched on to a brilliant through ball delivered by Drinkwater. Rhodes showed maturity way beyond his age, taking time over the finish and deservedly doubling Town's advantage.


SUB - Walsall made their second change of the night at the start of the second half, striker Darren Byfield was replaced by Alex Nicholls, leaving Troy Deeney to battle it alone up front.

Town started the second half where they left off the first in the defensive third of Walsall's half. However, despite their man advantage Town were finding it hard to break through the Walsall defensive line. Hutchings had set his side up with two banks of four, and Town were finding it tough going trying to break those barrier lines down.

Town went close in the 55th minute through a combination of Anthony Kay, Drinkwater and goalscorer Rhodes. The latter received the ball from Drinkwater on the edge of Walsall's box and immediately skipped past his marker opening up a few yards of room. Having already notched one goal tonight Rhodes took aim and narrowly curled the ball past Gilmartin's post.

Moments later Rhodes was once again the receiver of an excellent cross from the left. Rhodes rose highest against Clayton McDonald but could only manage to head his effort over the top of the Walsall goal.

GOAL - Town conceded a disappointing goal in the 64th minute giving Walsall a life line in a game they looked dead and buried in. Confusion between Smithies and Clarke at the edge of Town's box allowed Troy Deeney to skip in-between them both and knock the ball into an empty net. The goal was a sickener for Town who had looked comfortable throughout the game and would now need to score again to re-open their two goal cushion.

GOAL - Town were left shell shocked in the 68th minute when Deeney again stole in to double his and Walsall's total. Walsall charged down a defensive clearance from Town which landed kindly at the feet of the striker. His good first touch opened up a shooting opportunity and he made no mistake in hammering the ball home from 12 yards.

BOOKING - Antony Kay received the first Town booking of the game in the 72nd minute of the game. The caution was a deserving one as the midfielder slid through Richard Taundry and got nowhere near the ball.

Walsall were again on the attack in the 74th minute and were awarded a dubious free-kick 25 yards out from Smithies goal. Taundry stood over the ball and hit a fierce shot towards Town's goal. Luckily for Smithies the shot was straight at him and he was able to parry the ball over the bar, if the shot had been either side of him he may have struggled to keep it out.

SUB - Town's second goalscorer on the night Jordan Rhodes was replaced by the returning Lee Novak in the 76th minute.

BOOKING - Immediately after coming on, Novak was summoned by referee Webb for a foul on Dwayne Mattis. The striker was cautioned

SUB - Walsall's central midfielder Dwayne Mattis was replaced by Mark Bradley as Hutchings made his final substitution of the game in the 81st minute.

GOAL - Town's night turned into a nightmare when Walsall made Town pay for some slack defending at the back. Town failed to clear a Walsall corner, and as the ball bobbled about in the penalty area Alex Nicholls was first to react firing the ball past a hapless Smithies.

GOAL - Antony Kay delivered the response the Town fans were craving for, heading the ball home from a Pilkington corner. Good pressure from Town had forced the Walsall backline to drop further and further back towards their goal. After winning a corner, Pilkington played a brilliantly ball into Gilmartin's six yard begging to be attacked. Both Clarke and Kay duly obliged and it was the latter who headed the ball home in the 90th minute.

GOAL - The comeback was complete in the 3rd minute of extra time when Lee Novak scored a stunning volley from 12 yards. Good play from the make shift striker Peter Clarke offered Novak the chance to shoot. The captain chested down a ball from the right to the waiting Novak, the returning striker smashed the knock down into the back of net sending everyone but the Walsall fans into raptures.

Town Team (4-4-2):

Alex Smithies; Dean Heffernan, Peter Clarke (c), Neal Trotman, Tom Clarke; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Danny Drinkwater, Anthony Pilkington; Theo Robinson, Jordan Rhodes (Lee Novak - 77)

Unused Subs: Simon Eastwood, Nathan Clarke, Robbie Williams, James Berrett, Krystian Pearce, Nathan Eccleston

Gate - 14396

Away - 123

    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.