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17:18 30th April 2011


Lee Clark's men secured a vital victory at the Withdean this afternoon courtesy of a last minute strike from substitute Danny Ward. Town had twice gone ahead through Benik Afobe but suffered setbacks when Ashley Barnes equalised to make it 1-1 then Matt Sparrow to make it 2-2. However, following a knock down by Jordan Rhodes Danny Ward fired home the winner in the first minute of injury time to the delight of the Town faithful. Town, in their change strip of red and black stripes, formed a guard of honour for the League Champions before kick-off but both teams started with great intensity once play had commenced. The first attempt at goal came from the Terriers in the fourth minute; Gary Roberts' cross was deflected behind by right back Calderon and when the winger played his corner towards the back post Lee Peltier was on hand to head the ball over the crossbar at full stretch. Scott Arfield then connected brilliantly with a volley on the edge of the Brighton box in the sixth minute after centre half Gordon Greer cleared the ball straight into the air, but the Scotsman's shot fired straight into the waiting hands of 'keeper Peter Brezovan. If Scott had managed to divert the ball towards a corner, he would have put his side in front. GOAL - Town's early pressure paid off when Benik Afobe scored a superb effort to put Lee Clark's side ahead in the 8th minute. The Arsenal loanee collected Gary Naysmith's quickly taken free-kick into his feet with his back to goal before turning brilliantly past Greer and placing the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper. Brighton tried to fight back immediately from kick-off and Chris Wood collected the ball in a dangerous position behind the Town midfield; he drew Jamie McCombe before sliding a pass into the area for striker Ashley Barnes. The striker tried to place the ball home, but Ian Bennett did brilliantly to close down the angle and pushed the ball away at full stretch before McCombe recovered to clear. The dangerous Inigo Calderon headed the resulting corner over the crossbar, reminding Town that this game was far from over. At the other end Peter Clarke got on the end of another Roberts corner, but his acrobatic scissor kick was deflected behind by a defender. Brighton winger Craig Noone hit a very speculative long range drive miles over the Town crossbar just before the quarter hour mark as Town kept a good defensive shape. Calderon had scored eight goals from right back this season and from the early going it was easy to see why - the Spaniard was bombing forward at every opportunity. One of his runs in the 17th minute saw him flash a low ball across goal, but Joey Gudjonsson cleverly assessed the situation and let it run behind for a goal kick. The dangerous Elliott Bennett struck a 30-yard free-kick over the crossbar just over a minute later as the Champions started to press the Terriers back into their own half, as the most the Seagulls could muster at that stage were a couple of hopeful and wayward long range drives. Ashley Barnes hit the outside of the side netting with a snapshot in the 23rd minute as the home side continued to pass the ball impressively. BOOKING - Brighton's Craig Noone picked up the first yellow card of the game three minutes later for a poor challenge on Gudjonsson down by the right touchline after the Icelandic international had robbed him of the ball. Lee Clark gathered his men around as Gudjonsson received treatment and Town steadied things down afterwards, but Brighton went very close to equalising in the 33rd minute when striker Wood headed Bridcutt's excellent right wing cross against the crossbar. Calderon was one of Brighton's main attacking threats and he lost his marker Gary Naysmith to get on the end of Elliott Bennett's 37th minute corner. The Spaniard headed towards goal, but the reliable head of Jamie McCombe was on hand to send the ball clear. BOOKING - Scott Arfield picked up Town's first booking in the 41st minute for a late tackle on Craig Noone. The home side had a lot of the ball in the closing stages of the half, but they couldn't break down the resilient Terriers and Afobe's goal was the difference after 45 minutes. HALF-TIME: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 0 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 BOOKING - Town were pegged back inside a minute of the restart when referee Tanner gave a very dubious penalty to the home side. Lee Peltier went shoulder to shoulder with Elliott Bennett as the ball was played into the Town penalty area and although the challenge looked fair, the ref pointed to the spot. Peltier was booked for the offence. GOAL - Striker Ashley Barnes stood up to take the responsibility from 12 yards - but Ian Bennett repeated his heroics and got a hand to the spot kick. Unfortunately for the Terriers the ball rebounded straight into the path of the striker, who headed it into the gaping goal. The home side were spurred on by that equaliser and Jamie McCombe had to be alert to block a snapshot from Wood behind in the 50th minute. A quickly taken free kick into the feet of Noone on the edge of the box gave the winger a shooting opportunity as Gudjonsson committed himself, but Ian Bennett was equal to it. SUB - Jack Hunt was replaced by Danny Ward in the 54th minute as Lee Clark made his first substitution. BOOKING - Town skipper Peter Clarke was booked in the 58th minute for a blatant block on Elliott Bennett as the winger tried to sprint past. GOAL - Town snatched a second goal in the 61st minute when Benik Afobe grabbed a poacher's effort. An early free-kick, played from the right by Joey Gudjonsson, looked to be easy pickings for right back Calderon but his chest back to the goalkeeper was woefully short - allowing Afobe to collect the ball and calmly stroke it past the helpless goalkeeper from close range. The Town supporters behind that goal celebrated with Afobe and were in fantastic voice following the surprise second goal. With a large contingent wearing the celebratory pink shirts having completed the 'Pink Link Pedal for Pounds 2' ride in aid of the 'Keep It Up' campaign, they were hoping that automatic promotion was on the cards - but Southampton were also winning at Brentford. SUB - Brighton made their first changes in the 65th minute, with Gary Hart and Matt Sparrow replacing Chris Wood and Craig Noone. Town almost grabbed a third after a brilliant break from a defensive corner in the 68th minute. Benik Afobe headed the ball clear at the near post, allowing substitute Ward to sprint clear of Marcos Painter - despite the full back's blatant pull on Ward's shirt. Danny looked up and played fellow winger Gary Roberts through on goal, but as 'Robbo' looked to place the ball home the goalkeeper came out and pulled off a great save. GOAL - Instead it was Brighton who scored the next goal in the 69th minute through substitute Matt Sparrow. The midfielder's run allowed him to get half a yard on Kevin Kilbane and although the Irishman made good ground to get goal side as he entered the area, the former Scunthorpe man still managed to squeeze the ball into the far corner. Danny Ward played a smart one-two with Arfield and drifted in from the right flank soon after, but his long range strike flew wide of goal. SUB - Town made their second substitution in the 74th minute, with Joey Gudjonsson being replaced by Jordan Rhodes. Town switched to 4-4-2 as a result. Barnes hit the outside of the net again soon afterwards as Town started to commit men forward but at the other end Brezovan had to be alert to stop Jamie McCombe from converting Gary Roberts' free-kick- sticking out a hand to divert the ball to safety. The big custodian did it again moments later when McCombe turned Roberts' right wing cross towards goal following a set-piece - pushing a seemingly goal-bound effort away from the danger zone. Ian Bennett showed similarly impressive reactions to collect Gary Hart's low effort with nine minutes remaining before Elliott Bennett made a mess of a counter-attack when Brighton had a three on two situation. SUB - Town made one final throw of the dice in the 87th minute when Alan Lee replaced Gary Naysmith - Lee Clark switching to 3-4-3 in search of a goal. GOAL - Danny Ward scored a dramatic first for the Club in the final minute of the game to send the visiting support into raptures. A ball into the area from the left was collected at the back post by Afobe, who drove infield; he squared the ball to Ward, who sold the last defender a dummy before firing hard and low into the bottom corner! Town reshuffled for the four minutes of added time, deploying a makeshift 4-4-2. Kevin Kilbane dropped into left back, with Afobe slotting into the right wing and Danny Ward pushing into central midfield alongside Scott Arfield. Lee and Afobe formed the central midfield partnership. The Terriers had to survive a late flurry of corners - with goalkeeper Brezovan coming up for the last one - but the Terriers hung on to win the last ever game at the Withdean Stadium! FULL-TIME: BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 2 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 3 Town's Team (4-3-3): Ian Bennett; Gary Naysmith (Alan Lee 87), Peter Clarke (c), Jamie McCombe, Lee Peltier; Kevin Kilbane, Joey Gudjonsson (Jordan Rhodes 74), Scott Arfield; Gary Roberts, Benik Afobe, Jack Hunt (Danny Ward 54) Unused Subs: Nick Colgan, Antony Kay, Danny Cadamarteri, Lee Novak Town Bookings: Scott Arfield (41), Lee Peltier (48), Peter Clarke (58) Brighton Booking: Craig Noone (26) Attendance: 8,416  
    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.