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16:55 28th November 2009


The Terriers are in the hat for a potential bumper Third Round FA Cup tie after beating League Two Port Vale by a single goal on a wintery November afternoon.

Nathan Clarke's early first-half goal proved to be enough to win the tie for Lee Clark's side and although the Terriers had plenty of chances to extend their advantage, they had to defend well during second half spells where the Valiants applied some territorial pressure.

The Terriers kicked off in their change strip of red and navy and started positively, pressing the hosts back in their own half. An early free-kick delivered into the Vale box forced a Town corner and Jordan Rhodes should have put his side ahead, but volleyed wide from just ten yards out at the near post.

The Valiants forced their own corner in the fourth minute, but left back Taylor's delivery drifted wide of the far post.

Town were back on the attack a minute later when Roberts, who had switched wings to the right, collected a quickly taken throw from Nathan Clarke before turning and hitting a 25 yard volley straight at 'keeper Martin.

In the 6th minute fellow winger Ainsworth was at it, driving in from the left before sending a skidding low drive wide of the custodian's right-hand post from outside the box.

The home side should have taken the lead in the 10th minute after a slip inside the area from Robbie Williams gave striker Marc Richards acres of space just twelve yards out, but he pulled a horrible left-footed shot wide of the left-hand post.

GOAL - Vale were made to pay two minutes later when Nathan Clarkeput the Terriers ahead. Town were awarded a free-kick on the halfway line, allowing Williams to chip a ball to the far post; Peter Clarke towered above his marker to nod the ball across goal where Novak headed the ball to the defender, who acrobatically overhead-kicked past the goalkeeper and off the underside of the bar from twelve yards out.

Some patient build-up down the right involving the goalscorer, Michael Collins and Antony Kay presented the latter with the chance to shoot from the edge of the box in the 19th minute, but the ball bobbled horribly as the midfielder looked to strike the ball and he ballooned his effort into the stand.

Lee Peltier then went close to a first for the Club with a superb left-foot shot from range in the 21st minute, but 'keeper Martin did well to scramble across his goal and turn the ball away.

Town were constantly on the attack at the time and Rhodes was the next to try his luck with a 23rd minute shot after good work from Novak down the channel, but former Town man John McCombe blocked his effort and the ball ran harmlessly through to the goalkeeper.

A ball into the channel for Jordan Rhodes in the 29th minute allowed the striker to whip a superb low ball into the box, but neither Michael Collins at the near post or Lionel Ainsworth at the far could connect to double Town's advantage.

At the other end, Vale midfielder Doug Loft scuffed a poor shot well wide of goal from range as the home side struggled to hold the ball up field.

Great interplay between Roberts and Collins setup a volleyed attempt for top-scorer Rhodes three minutes later and although he connected well with the ball, he couldn't keep it down.

Gary Roberts was the game's most influential figure, seeing a lot of the ball down Town's right side. He stepped infield to test the goalkeeper with a decent curler from 25 yards in the 39th minute after good hold-up play from Lee Novak, but the 'keeper easily pushed the ball away with two strong hands.

Vale had a rare attempt at goal from a 41st minute corner, but giant defender Prosser could only nod Kris Taylor's corner wide under heavy pressure from two Town defenders.

Rhodes had a shot blocked in the area after an added time set-piece before Williams volleyed over in the last action of the half.


Lee Clark's side were kicking towards the travelling supporters in the second-half and had the first shot at goal inside the 49th minute; McCombe scuffed a clearance to the feet of Kay on the edge of the box, but he hit a snapshot over the crossbar.

A determined dribble from Lionel Ainsworth saw him cover the entire length of the pitch in the 51st minute, but a last ditch tackle from defender Lee Collins denied him a clear shot at goal. The Vale defender conceded a corner when making the challenge and Roberts' delivery fell to Lionel outside the area, but he screwed his volley well wide of goal.

The home side enjoyed a rare spell of pressure approaching the hour mark without testing Alex Smithies at all - the best they managed was a speculative curler from the impressive Lewis Haldane that drifted way over the crossbar.

SUB - Defender Luke Prosser was replaced by striker Geoff Horsfield in the 67th minute in the home side's first substitution.

At the other end Kay's skimming 69th minute drive was easily dealt with by Martin before Collins created space for Novak to blast wide from 25 yards three minutes later.

SUB - Micky Adam then made a double change in the 78th minute, with Jason Jarrett and Louis Dodds replacing Doug Loft and Marc Richards.

Vale started to put more crosses into the box in the last fifteen minutes of the clash but Alex Smithies was taking everything in a very professional manner, often under pressure from the strikers.

SUB - Jordan Rhodes and Lionel Ainsworth were replaced by Theo Robinson and James Berrett with ten minutes left.

Kay sent another long range drive towards goal immediately after the restart, but his shot drifted wide of goal.

BOOKING - Antony Kay was shown the first yellow card of the game in the 83rd minute for a late challenge on defender Lee Collins as he looked to clear his lines.

BOOKING - James Berrett followed his teammate into the book two minutes later for kicking the ball away to waste time.


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

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Michael Collins, Lionel Ainsworth (James Berrett 80); Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes (Theo Robinson 80)

Unused Substitutes: Matt Glennon, Joe Skarz, Jim Goodwin, Andy Butler, Jack Hunt

Town Bookings: Antony Kay (83), James Berrett (85)

Attendance: 5,311

Visitors: 1,335

    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.