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16:54 23rd October 2010


Town battled hard in a physical encounter at Plymouth's Home Park this afternoon, but two goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips proved to be enough to give the hosts all three points despite Anthony Pilkington's seventh of the season.

Town, in their change strip of red and black stripes, suffered an early fright when Pilkington picked up a knock when tackling left back Onismor Bhasera, but he picked himself back up and within 90 seconds of kick-off Graham Carey had registered the first shot at goal. The Irishman picked up a good knock-down from Lee Novak before dribbling to the edge of the Plymouth box, but as he looked to pull the trigger Argyle's Conor Clifford knocked him off his stride and he ballooned his shot over the bar.

Carey was at it again on the stroke of the third minute, forcing 'keeper Button to push his powerful 35-yard free-kick around the post after Gudjonsson had been tripped.

At the other end, big defender Bondz N'Gala headed a long throw from Arnason way over the bar under heavy pressure from Alan Lee.

Winger Chris Noone was playing on the right of midfield for the home side, but was clearly left-footed from his early touches on the ball. His decent in-swinging cross in the 8th minute was comfortably headed over the bar by striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.

Town were back on the attack barely a minute later when Bennett's long clearance was nodded down by Lee into the path of Gudjonsson; the Icelander steadied himself before striking a powerful shot narrowly over the crossbar from range that had the custodian diving at full stretch.

However, it was a poor pass from Joey in the 10th minute that gifted possession to Wright-Phillips and allowed him to advance well into the Town half before shooting. Luckily for Town, he pulled his effort wide of Bennett's right-hand post.

The aerial battle between Town skipper Peter Clarke and big target man Rory Fallon was intriguing in the early stages, whilst at the other end big Alan Lee was having a similar tussle with former West Ham trainee N'Gala.

It was Fallon who made it difficult for Clarke to clear Bhasera's long ball into the area in the 14th minute and when the ball fell to Noone on the edge of the box, it needed a block to divert the ball wide of goal. The following Argyle corner was dangerous, but Bennett used all his experience to claw the ball to safety under heavy pressure.

GOAL - Plymouth then scored the first goal of the game on the stroke of the 16th minute and it was Fallon's head that setup the goal for Bradley Wright-Phillips. After Lee Peltier was adjudged to have fouled Bhasera high up the pitch, 'keeper Button sent a long ball towards the target man and his flick-on fell perfectly to Wright-Phillips inside the area - who made no mistake in slipping the ball under the body of Bennett from close range.

GOAL - However, Town responded immediately with a very good move, leading to Anthony Pilkington netting his seventh goal of the season in the 19th minute. Liam Ridehalgh's left-sided throw-in was flicked into the path of Novak by Lee and the former Gateshead man immediately flicked the ball to the left for Graham Carey; the Celtic loanee was in space and drove into the penalty area before sliding the ball across goal for Pilkington to sweep into the top corner brilliantly at the back post, leaving Button with no chance.

A quickly taken free kick from Clarke found the goalscorer in space on the right edge of the area four minutes after the restart, but he hurried his shot and volleyed high and wide of goal.

A superb long pass from Lee Peltier in the 24th minute released Novak into space behind the Plymouth defence soon after and he turned centre back Reda Johnson neatly inside the area - only to lift his left-footed shot over the bar from 15 yards out.

Bennett had to be alert to collect Noone's back-post header from a deep Bhasera cross soon afterwards as it threatened to loop over him.

Argyle midfielder Yala Bolasie sent a very speculative long range drive arrowing into the travelling Town supporters with just under 15 minutes of the half remaining before Fallon sent a similarly hopeful volley well wide of goal two minutes later.

Rain combined with a strong wind to batter the Town players and fans in the face as the half came to its conclusion, but the Terriers defended stoutly - and the supporters responded by taking their shirts off!

The impressive Clifford's 39th minute snapshot went straight into the waiting hands of Bennett as the Pilgrims finished the half strongly, but Town still created a very presentable opportunity in the 42nd minute after Gudjonsson threaded the ball through the home defence for Novak; he held it up inside the area before sliding a sideways pass to Arfield, but he placed his side-footed effort straight at the goalkeeper.

Plymouth had the last chance of the first half after Gudjonsson clipped Clifford on the edge of the Town box, but winger Noone lifted his free-kick over the Town crossbar.


The second half began as the first did - with Graham Carey registering the first shot at goal. However, his 47th minute free kick was easy fodder for the goalkeeper.

Liam Ridehalgh then slid an excellent ball into the left channel to pick out the run of Scott Arfield and after playing a clever one-two with Carey, he slid a cross-come-shot across the face of goal that Button claimed low to his left side.

The Plymouth faithful thought their side had retaken the lead on the stroke of the 54th minute when Noone crossed for Fallon to head home, but the big New Zealander had clearly pushed Antony Kay when climbing to reach the ball and the goal was immediately disallowed by the referee.

The ball was soon at the other end and Town forced a right-sided corner a minute later, from which Peter Clarke headed wide at the back post after losing his marker.

Moments later a clearance from Clarke set Alan Lee away behind the back line and he managed to outpace centre back Johnson, only for Button to get down well and smother Lee's toe-prod at the Irishman's feet just as he entered the penalty area.

Pilkington shot wide from a narrow angle just before the hour mark as Alan Lee received treatment from physio Dave Buckby after he sustained a cut on the side of his head.

Town almost scored a fortuitous second a minute later when defender Johnson deflected Peltier's cross towards goal - but luckily for him it went straight into the arms of the 'keeper.

SUB - Town were forced into their first change of the game in the 64th minute when Lee Novak went down holding his hamstring - he was replaced in attack by Joe Garner.

The Terriers almost broke on the hosts upon the restart thanks to Ridehalgh's excellent reading of the game - he intercepted Clifford's pass on the halfway line before advancing and sliding the ball to his left for substitute Garner, but the striker's shot was blocked on the edge of the box.

GOAL - Plymouth then scored a second goal in the 66th minute that echoed the first, with Bradley Wright-Phillips netting his second of the game. Again it was a long clearance from the goalkeeper that was flicked on by Fallon into the path of the striker, who was goal-side of Antony Kay and stroked the ball past the advancing Ian Bennett.

Town almost replied in quick-fire fashion again when Carey beat full-back Duguid on the Town left before crossing to the near post, but defender N'Gala did brilliantly to reach a foot around Lee to clear.

Joe Garner was screaming for a penalty in the 72nd minute after Duguid got between Carey and his pass inside the Plymouth area, but it did look like the defender played the ball rather than the man and the claim was waved away by Mr. Russell.

BOOKINGS - The man in the middle booked Alan Lee and Reda Johnson in the 75th minute after the pair clashed challenging for a header.

Lee was immediately back in the action and went very close to registering his first goal for the Club a minute later. Garner won a 50-50 in midfield and played a low pass to the right for Pilkington; the winger cleverly slid the ball across the face of goal and the big striker managed to get in front of the 'keeper - but could only prod the ball wide at full stretch.

A minute later Town had to be thankful to Ian Bennett after the custodian came off his line sharply to block Wright-Phillips' shot from inside the area.

Lee was doing superbly for his team in the closing stages; beating Johnson to every long ball that came his way.

SUB - Plymouth made their first substitution in the 81st minute after N'Gala was hurt in a challenge with Joe Garner; he was replaced by youngster Curtis Nelson.

SUB - Lee Clark introduced Jamie McCombe to the game with seven minutes left; he replaced Lee in attack - a role he had performed for Lincoln in the past.

SUB - Town then made their final throw of the dice in the 86th minute, with Arfield replaced by Jordan Rhodes - who went straight up front as the team switched to a 4-3-3 formation.

SUB - Plymouth then Wright-Phillips for Rory Patterson in added time.

The Terriers started launching the ball into the box at every opportunity in the closing stages, but the closest they could come in added time was from a Peter Clarke flick-on when Garner's shot was saved by Button to his right side.


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

Ian Bennett; Liam Ridehalgh, Peter Clarke (c), Antony Kay, Lee Peltier; Graham Carey, Joey Gudjonsson, Scott Arfield (Jordan Rhodes 86), Anthony Pilkington; Alan Lee (Jamie McCombe 83), Lee Novak (Joe Garner 64)

Unused Subs: Nick Colgan, Nathan Clarke, Lee Croft, Chris Atkinson

Town Booking: Alan Lee (75)

Plymouth Booking: Reda Johnson (75)

Attendance: 7,048

Town: 597

    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.