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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:32 7th August 2010

NOTTS COUNTY 0 TOWN 3

You would be hard pressed to remember a more impressive opening day performance from a Huddersfield Town side than today's demolition of newly promoted Notts County by Lee Clark's team.

Anthony Pilkington (pictured) grabbed a brace and Jordan Rhodes got the other in this 3-0 win - strangely, the same duo scored Town's goals in last year's season opener at Southend!

It could have been more too, with all of Town's debutants impressing alongside Clark's 'old guard'; Joe Garner hit the bar in a very impressive performance and should have opened the scoring before Pilkington's first goal.

On top of that, the new-look defence - ably assisted by the entire team, whose work ethic was brilliant - kept their first clean sheet of the season at the first attempt.

Notts County kicked off the 2010/11 season kicking towards their vocal Kop End but it looked like Town had crafted the first chance of note within 60 seconds when Jordan Rhodes flicked Naysmith's pass into the path of Gary Roberts. Unfortunately for the large contingent of travelling fans, he was immediately signalled as offside.

Town launched another promising attack three minutes later, but with Lee Peltier in possession in an advanced area referee Trevor Kettle had no choice but to stop play when left-back Stephen Hunt fell down alongside Anthony Pilkington following a nasty clash of heads.

New signing Joe Garner was doing well in the air during the early stages and his flick found the run of strike partner Rhodes in the 6th minute. Unfortunately the ball ran just too far into the penalty area and goalkeeper Burch was able to come out and block Rhodes' shot at his feet.

Town were then awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the Magpies' box in the 9th minute when defender Lee charged through the back of Garner, but Roberts sent his curler over the crossbar. Still, the signs were encouraging for Lee Clark's side.

Another header won by Garner two minutes later set up a shooting chance for Roberts and this time he hit the target from 25 yards out, However, his shot was straight at the opposition's custodian.

An intriguing battle was already forming between giant ex-Blackpool striker Ben Burgess and Jamie McCombe - the two tallest players on the pitch were gamely challenging for every high ball. Peter Clarke and Lee Hughes were also giving it everything, with the former West Brom man trying to buy fouls from the Town skipper.

Icelander Joey Gudjonsson then hit a free-kick straight at the defensive wall in the 16th minute after Rhodes had been tripped on the edge of the box by Chilvers as the Terriers continued to make the running.

Town's wingers switched soon after and Roberts - now on the right - picked up a pass from Arfield before setting Peltier away inside the left-back. Unfortunately, the former Liverpool man looked caught in two minds as he entered the area and blasted a cross come shot miles over everyone's head.

Gudjonsson then delivered an excellent free-kick into the area in the 21st minute that centre-back Chilvers did very well to clear behind and from the resulting corner, Jordan Rhodes looked disappointed not to make more contact with his glancing near post header that was eventually cleared by a defender.

Town's Joe Garner then had the best chance of the half in the 25th minute, but spurned the opportunity. An excellent break from midfield from the lovely Scott Arfield saw the Scotsman intercept a loose ball and immediately play the ball to the left for Roberts; he saw Garner in space and played him clean through on goal, but his attempt at curling the ball around the advancing goalie with the outside of his right foot drifted wide of the far post - leaving the Town bench with his head in his hands.

The former Falkirk man was impressing and another swift break from his central midfield position ended in him prodding the ball wide of the post whilst at full stretch minutes later.

The home supporters felt that Burgess was being fouled on a persistent basis by his marker McCombe and their frustration was incredibly vocal, but on every occasion referee Kettle was in a good position and ruling in favour of the Town man,

Another foul on Garner - this time wide on the left - allowed Gudjonsson to deliver another dangerous near-post ball, but Rhodes placed his header high and wide whilst being tightly marked by defender Hunt.

GOAL - Town made their pressure count in the 32nd minute when the excellent Anthony Pilkington scored the team's opening goal of the season for the second consecutive campaign. The right winger picked the ball up from wing colleague Gary Roberts, who made a brilliant dribble infield before drawing the left-back and slipping the ball into the area for 'Pilks'. Anthony steadied himself and looked up before smashing the ball into the roof of the net from a very acute angle, giving 'keeper Burch no chance at all.

GOAL - The brilliant Terriers made it two in the 35th minute when Jordan Rhodes netted his first of the season. A ball forward into the area from Jamie McCombe was brought down well by Joe Garner, who was being forced out to the right wing by a defender; however, he neatly turned before placing a pass across the face of goal. Rhodes - being the natural predator he is - had somehow predicted that would happen and got across the front of his defender to place the ball past the 'keeper from close range.

Town were still on the attack and when Arfield robbed his opposite number of the ball in the 37th minute Clark's men suddenly had a three on two situation. Scott tried to go alone, but his touch allowed Graeme Lee to put in a needed last ditch tackle.

County looked frustrated and soon after midfielder Ricky Ravenhill was squaring up to Gary Roberts after an innocuous challenge on the halfway line. Referee Kettle was soon across and did the right thing by talking to both players to calm the situation.

Former Watford man Jon Harley had the home side's first shot on goal in the 42nd minute, picking up a loose ball on the edge of Town's box and wasting no time in letting fly. His shot was half-blocked by the legs of a defender and Smithies had to readjust his direction, but in the end he easily claimed the ball.

County forced a late corner in the first-half and Garner threw his body on the line to ensure that his side didn't concede before the interval. Peter Clarke headed Davies' first delivery clear, but when the midfielder picked the ball back up his deep cross was nodded back across goal by Burgess; the ball fell to defender Chilvers who hit a powerful, acrobatic volley - but Garner charged out and blocked the ball with his chest.

There were three minutes of added time in the first half, which gave striker Hughes enough time to leave his boot in as Smithies came to collect a through ball. The half soon ended with Town two goals to the good and good value for their lead.

HALF-TIME: NOTTS COUNTY 0 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2

There were no substitutions during the interval and Town started brightly again, although Gudjonsson got totally underneath the first shot of the second period and lifted the ball into row Z of the home fans behind the goal!

Garner was winning free kicks all over the pitch again for his teammates in the opening stages and the Terriers were giving as good as they got from the home side.

SUB - County manager Craig Short had seen enough and made his first substitution in the 57th minute, replacing left back Hunt with winger Craig Westcarr. This saw Harley move into the vacant defensive position, with Westcarr on the right of midfield.

Some excellent interplay between Garner, Roberts and Naysmith in the left corner allowed the latter to play Pilkington into the edge of the area moments later and from his low cross, Jordan Rhodes placed his shot the wrong side of the near post.

Suddenly County were looking for the head of target man Burgess more and more and inevitably give his size he was winning a few first balls. Hughes picked one of these up to the far right of Town's area in the 61st minute and sent a clever curler over Smithies - but also beyond the far post.

The home side were putting Town under sustained pressure for the first time in the game at this stage, but the centre back pairing of McCombe and Clarke were holding firm.

Garner then went very close to opening his account for Town in the 67th minute, but his brilliant volley hit the crossbar. Jordan Rhodes put the home goalkeeper under pressure and he scuffed his kick straight to the head of Pilkington, who nodded the ball into the path of Garner; he looked up, steadied himself and sent a thunderous 25 yard shot onto the bar, beating the goalkeeper.

Rhodes shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box soon afterwards before midfielder Davies sent a near post drive wide at the other end.

SUB - Notts County made their second change in the 68th minute, replacing Burgess with Jake Jervis.

GOAL - Town scored their third goal of the game in the 73rd minute, with Anthony Pilkington capping a clever set-piece. Rhodes was fouled down the Town right by defender Harley, allowing Gudjonsson to step up and take a free-kick; when it looked like he would cross he cleverly slid the ball across the face of the penalty area where Pilkington had peeled off to create space and although his first shot was blocked, he sent the rebound rocketing into the top corner from eighteen yards.

Rhodes hit another long range drive straight at the custodian soon afterwards as Town continued to press.

SUB - County made their final change in the 74th minute when John Spicer replaced Ricky Ravenhill in midfield.

BOOKING -Graeme Lee was booked for Notts County for hauling down Rhodes in the 78th minute.

SUB -new signing Damien Johnson entered the fray in the 79th minute - he replaced Scott Arfield.

SUB - Lee Novak soon followed him onto the pitch, replacing Rhodes in the 82nd minute.

BOOKING - Peter Clarke was shown a yellow card in the 84th minute after getting the wrong side of Lee Hughes on the touchline, forcing the skipper to grab a handful of shirt.

FULL-TIME: NOTTS COUNTY 0 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 3

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

Alex Smithies; Gary Naysmith, Jamie McCombe, Peter Clarke (c), Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts, Scott Arfield (Damien Johnson 79), Joey Gudjonsson, Anthony Pilkington; Jordan Rhodes (Lee Novak 82), Joe Garner

Unused Subs: Ian Bennett, Antony Kay, Theo Robinson, Lee Croft, Graham Carey

Town Booking: Peter Clarke (84)

Notts County Booking: Graeme Lee (78)

Attendance: 10.342

Visitors: 3,161

    Data provided by Press Association

    QUICK FACTS

    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.