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22:17 18th May 2010


Town's Play-Off campaign came to an end at the semi-final stage tonight after defeat at Millwall, with the goals coming from Steve Morison and Paul Robinson.

The Terriers fought gamely in the first-half and were well in the tie despite Morison's opener, but when defender Robinson powered home an 82nd minute header from a corner it signalled the end of what has been a good 2009/10 season for Lee Clark's side.

Town kicked off in their change strip of red and navy, but had to defend an early Millwall corner after Robbie Williams blocked Liam Trotter's cross behind inside the first minute. However, ever-dependable skipper Peter Clarke was on hand to head the ball clear at the near post.

Lions legend Neil Harris showed a quick piece of thinking in the sixth minute to pick up Barron's free-kick down the left flank, but after making space for a cross he sent his effort flying over the crowd of players inside the area and behind for a goal kick.

A strong challenge from Lee Peltier down the Town right on Barron earned the home side an eighth minute free-kick and the winger picked himself out to pick out the head of striker Steve Morison with his cross; however, Alex Smithies easily claimed the ball above his head.

Town almost set Roberts away down the left in the 10th minute after a swift break involving Jordan Rhodes, but the winger couldn't quite latch onto the pass.

BOOKING - Anthony Pilkington was booked in the 12th minute for a late challenge on Paul Robinson after the break broke down.

The Terriers created their first effort at goal in the next minute; a one-two from a right sided throw-in between Peltier and Pilkington allowed the latter to cross left-footed into the penalty area. Big defender Trotman had come forward in anticipation, but directed his near post header wide under heavy pressure from home Captain Robinson.

Millwall were back on the attack in the 16th minute and when Harris' cross was partially blocked by Pilkington, midfielder Nadjim Abdou took the opportunity to shoot from 25 yards out. His right-footed piledriver hit a player en route to Smithies' goal, but the custodian did well to readjust and push the ball around his right-hand post.

An enterprising run from Roberts in the 20th minute led to Rhodes collecting the ball with his back to goal and cleverly switching the play to the right for Pilkington; the wide man pulled a low cross back into the area and Robinson's clearance hit Novak on the back, forcing 'keeper Forde into a low save!

Town were enjoying a good spell at this point and Novak forced Forde to push the ball around his post with a low skidding drive from 25 yards out.

GOAL - However, it was the home side who took the lead in the 23rd minute of the game through their top scorer Steve Morison. Millwall left-back Craig switched the play to the Millwall right, where the ball bounced through to right winger Schofield; his low cross was pushed back into the area by the sprawling Smithies - right into the path of the former Stevenage man, who tapped the ball into the vacant goal to put his side ahead in the tie.

Lee Clark's Town side recovered quickly and forced two attacking corners at the other end of the New Den. Trotman met the first at the back post, but his firm header hit a crowd of players before drifting wide.

The Lions forced their own corner barely a minute later after Roberts was forced to put the ball behind, but Smithies did excellently to push the ball away under extreme pressure from a horde of players before the referee rightly blew for a free-kick.

Good interplay between Roberts and Novak created space for the lively Pilkington to cross from the right on the stroke of the 28th minute and his delivery had to be pushed over his own bar by the Millwall 'keeper.

Kenny Jackett's side created the next chance barely two minutes later as the game developed into a real end to end affair. Morison beat skipper Clarke to a loose ball down the right flank and advanced before sliding a low pass into the near post, but onrushing right-back Jack Smith could only place his shot wide of goal when running at full pace.

BOOKING - Antony Kay was shown a yellow card by the referee in the 32nd minute for a late challenge on opposition midfielder Trotter in the centre circle.

Danny Drinkwater then inadvertently flicked Forde's long clearance into the path of Neil Harris in the 37th minute, but the striker drove a shot wide of Smithies left hand post from outside the area.

Barron delivered another corner to the near post a minute later and Morison got in front of marker Peter Clarke, but he powered his header over Smithies' bar from fifteen yards out.

The half soon ended with the Lions one goal ahead, but Town had plenty to be hopeful about going into the second half. It would only take a single goal to get the Terriers back into the encounter and at times Lee Clark's side had counter-attacked very well - with Roberts and Pilkington particularly involved - but the final ball just wasn't quite there in the opening 45.


The second-half started with a bang - quite literally for Gary Roberts. The winger was a recipient of a very strong challenge from full-back Jack Smith down the touchline that had the travelling supporters up in arms, but the referee deemed that the former Swindon man had taken the ball.

An early Town corner came to nothing and it was Millwall who had the first shot of the half in the 52nd minute, although Barron's long range drive was always drifting well wide of goal.

Town were obviously trying to get the ball down and play through midfield in the second half, with Drinkwater coming into the game more in the opening ten minutes. That was paying dividends territorially, but the Terriers were still looking for that clear cut opening to come.

When Drinkwater rose above Morison to nod a right-sided throw-in infield, Roberts picked up the loose ball and sent a strong 25-yard volley flashing over the Millwall crossbar.

SUB - Lee Clark made his first change of the game in the 57th minute, with Theo Robinson replacing Jordan Rhodes.

Town's pressure high up the pitch had the home side a little bit rattled as the hour mark approached and the majority of the game was being played in the home side's half. Great interplay between Kay, Pilkington and Drinkwater allowed the latter to play Peltier into space down the right on the overlap and his excellent cross flashed across the face of goal, narrowly evading Novak at the near post.

Town had a let-off on the stroke of the 68th minute when the lively Barron hit the woodwork. Schofield found his fellow winger with a clever pass into the area and the former Ipswich man did well to skip past a couple of challenges inside the penalty area before crashing a shot against the post from close range, with the ball ricocheting to safety.

A clever short corner worked between Roberts and Drinkwater allowed the former to fire a low cross into the area with twenty minutes left, but somehow the ball evaded a few bodies and fell into the grateful arms of 'keeper Forde.

BOOKING - Millwall left back Tony Craig was booked in the 74th minute for a late challenge on Lee Peltier down the Town right. From the resulting free-kick, Drinkwater fired a volley way over the bar from the edge of the box after the ball was half-cleared.

SUB - Lee Clark made his second change in the 75th minute, with Nathan Eccleston replacing Pilkington on the left side of midfield.

Neal Trotman had to be at his powerful best in the 78th minute when Smith's hopeful long clearance almost released striker Morison through on goal - he got back alongside the Millwall man as he looked to pull the trigger and pulled off a goal-saving tackle.

Abdou nodded Harris' lofted cross from the left miles over the bar as the final ten minutes approached.

GOAL - Millwall scored their second goal of the game to effectively seal the tie in the 82nd minute through Captain Paul Robinson. The home side forced a corner when Danny Drinkwater had to block Harris' attempted cross behind goal and when Barron sent a long delivery to the far post, the defender rose highest to send a towering header across the face of goal and into the far corner.

SUB - Town made their final change immediately, with Nathan Clarke replacing Neal Trotman.

Lee Clark pushed skipper Peter Clarke forward in the final stages to try and find a goal, with the ball going a bit longer as a result.

SUB - Millwall made a change in the 88th minute, with Neil Harris replaced by Gary Alexander.

The substitute was immediately involved, collecting Morison's low cross and firing across the face of Smithies' goal.

BOOKING - Lee Peltier was booked in added time after an altercation with Morison in the corner.

The last meaningful action of Town's 2009/10 season saw Drinkwater volley over from range.


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

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams, Peter Clarke (c), Neal Trotman (Nathan Clarke 82), Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Antony Kay, Danny Drinkwater, Anthony Pilkington (Nathan Eccleston 75); Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes (Theo Robinson 57)

Unused Subs: Simon Eastwood, Michael Collins, Robbie Simpson, Jim Goodwin

Town Bookings: Anthony Pilkington (12), Antony Kay (32), Lee Peltier (90)

Millwall Booking: Tony Craig (74)

    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.