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14:16 3th January 2011


A superb strike from winger Anthony Pilkington was enough to give Town all three points in front of the Sky cameras this afternoon.

Pilkington's first half strike was the highlight of a very entertaining game, which was littered with chances for either team. However, over the ninety minutes Town deserved to win and in doing so got their promotion push back on track.

Town created the first chance of the game within 20 seconds of kick-off; new boy Kilbane found Scott Arfield behind the Wednesday defence and he slipped a pass into the area for Jordan Rhodes, whose shot was saved by 'keeper Weaver at close range.

From the resulting corner, Clinton Morrison survived a big handball shout as the ball bounced up at him.

Anthony Pilkington started on the left wing, with Gary Roberts on the right, and they saw plenty of the ball in the opening stages. However, the Owls were playing with similar width and Gary Teale started the game well. Left back Tommy Spurr possessed a long throw and from his fifth minute delivery centre back Beevers flicked the ball onto the far post where Morrison volleyed well over at full stretch.

The visitors continued to press and went close to the opener barely a minute later through the tall Beevers; he got his head to Teale's near post corner but the ball hit the post, with Gary Roberts on hand to clear if he had been needed.

At the other end birthday boy Peter Clarke's back post header from a Pilkington corner forced Weaver into a comfortable save. However, the Terriers were in the ascendancy once again by this stage and after cutting infield Pilkington smashed a low shot towards goal that forced the 'keeper to turn the ball around the post.

January signing Kilbane was showing his quality in the early stages and played several long passes that wowed the Town faithful; unfortunately for Lee Clark's side, his 12th minute delivery to Roberts was adjudged to be offside as the winger bared down on goal.

Alex Smithies had to be alert at the other end when Wednesday tried to break away two minutes later. Midfielder Tommy Miller sent a clever ball over the top into the path of striker Neil Mellor but the England youth custodian sprang from his line and played the ball off his opponent for a goal kick.

Miller looped a header harmlessly over the bar from another Teale delivery in the 16th minute as the game continued to race from end to end.

The lively Kilbane tested Weaver with a 25 yard volley two minutes later, but the custodian gathered the ball in to his left side.

Wednesday then created a great chance through a clever one-two between Morrison and speedy winger Jermaine Johnson, but the latter pulled his low shot wide from the edge of the box when well positioned.

Teale then smashed a free-kick straight into the chest of Smithies after Kay had pulled the shirt of Morrison to the right of Town's goalmouth.

Another minute, another attack; and this time Town were doing the attacking. Johnson fouled Roberts in the far left corner and from Pilkington's deep delivery Novak's header forced Weaver into a good reaction save above his head.

GOAL - Town opened the scoring with a contender for goal of the season in the 27th minute through Anthony Pilkington. The winger collected the ball wide on the right and used the overlapping run of Lee Peltier brilliantly to sidestep infield; 'Pilks' drove towards the area and sent a beautiful, curling left-footed shot into the top corner of the goal from 25 yards - leaving Nicky Weaver with absolutely no chance for his 11th of the season.

At the other end Tommy Miller forced Smithies into a good tip over his own bar with his own 25 yard free kick as the visitors tried to respond. The Town 'keeper did brilliantly to collect in the resulting corner to, drawing the plaudits from the stands.

Peter Clarke and Smithies then combined to thwart Neil Mellor just as it looked like the striker had broken Town's offside trap. Wednesday's balls over the top were causing Town's defence some problems and moments later Smithies had to rush off his line again to clear the ball as Mellor bore down on goal, with Alex clearing out the man at the same time.

BOOKING - Kevin Kilbane was shown the first yellow card of the game in the 36th minute for a tackle that won the ball, but which saw the Irishman leave the ground.

Lee Peltier showed great strength to barge full back Spurr off the ball upon the restart as he charged down the dead ball line to the right of the pitch, but after cutting slightly infield his low shot was blocked by the foot of Weaver.

Smithies was having an outstanding game and in the 39th minute he pulled off a super save to keep his side in front. A Wednesday corner fell to the feet of Miller on the penalty spot, but his powerful volley was kept out by the outstretched hand of Alex - who still had the good sense to recover and push the ball around the post with Darren Purse lurking for a tap in.

Centre back Beevers' height was causing Town a few issues at set pieces and he soon powered a towering header over the crossbar from another corner.

The last real chance of the half fell to Scott Arfield, who collected a good lay-off from Novak on the edge of the box in the 43rd minute; however, his low effort drifted just wide of Weaver's left-hand post.

Kilbane had a shot deflected wide in the three minutes of first half added time before Pilkington sent a spectacular volley well wide of goal.


Neither side made changes during the interval and Wednesday had the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of the 49th minute through a Morrison volley, but the striker had already been given offside - much to the former Irish international's disgust.

Lee Novak was the recipient of a very tight offside call in the 54th minute after Arfield played the ball over the top, which prevented his superb over Weaver from counting.

Alex Smithies was still struggling with an apparent foot injury after a first half collision, which was forcing Antony Kay to take his goal kicks.

Jordan Rhodes sent a speculative curler wide of the far post as the hour mark approach.

Novak had another shot from range blocked by a defender five minutes later.

BOOKING - Jermaine Johnson was shown a yellow card for dissent in the 67th minute after he was adjudged to have fouled Anthony Pilkington.

SUB - Town made their first change in the same minute, with Tom Clarke replacing Gary Roberts. This substitution saw Tom move into central midfield, with Scott Arfield moving to the right wing.

Moments after the restart Kilbane drove the ball wide from range.

SUB - Wednesday made their first change in the 71st minute, with winger Chris Sedgwick replacing Gary Teale.

A huge clearance from Nicky Weaver caused havoc when it bounced in behind the Town backline in the 74th minute, but Mellor's eventual volley dropped over the crossbar.

The ball was soon at the other end, where Novak's shot was well saved by the goalkeeper before Pilkington's follow-up was blocked well by the recovering Purse.

SUB - Wednesday replaced Jon Otsemobor with Daniel Jones in the 75th minute.

SUB - Jordan Rhodes was then replaced by Alan Lee in Town's second substitution a minute later.

BOOKING - Antony Kay was shown a yellow card after a foul was committed on Mellor, although it looked like it was actually Peter Clarke who committed the offence.

Alan Lee then managed to break clear of the Wednesday defence but after stumbling, the chance to shoot fell to Scott Arfield who forced Weaver to push the ball behind with a powerful volley.

SUB - Clark made his final change with three minutes left; he replaced Lee Novak.

SUB - Wednesdaymade a change at the same, with striker Paul Heffernan replacing midfielder James O'Connor.

Wednesday pressed hard in the final stages and even 'keeper Nicky Weaver got into Town's box for a couple of late set pieces, but the best the Owls could manage was a back post header from Morrison that flew way over the bar.


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

Alex Smithies; Liam Ridehalgh, Peter Clarke (c), Antony Kay, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts (Tom Clarke 67), Kevin Kilbane, Scott Arfield, Anthony Pilkington; Jordan Rhodes (Alan Lee 76), Lee Novak (Benik Afobe 87)

Unused Subs: Ian Bennett, Jamie McCombe, Joey Gudjonsson, Graham Carey

Town Bookings: Kevin Kilbane (36), Antony Kay (81)

Sheffield Wednesday Booking: Jermaine Johnson (67)

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    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.