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17:05 2th October 2010


A mixture of resolute defending and mistimed finishing looked to have condemned Town to a goalless draw against Bristol Rovers this afternoon - only for an added time stunner from Will Hoskins to deny the Terriers a share of the spoils.

Town had enjoyed the better of play throughout the ninety minutes, with Jordan Rhodes and Graham Carey going closest to breaking the deadlock, but after Jamie McCombe was dismissed for two bookable offences the Rovers striker broke Town hearts with a superb curling effort.

Town had an excellent chance in the first 60 seconds after Joe Garner was fouled down the left channel; Graham Carey played an excellent cross into the box and it was the on-loan striker who got his head to the ball, but he diverted a tame header wide of the far post.

Rovers fought back and athletic striker John Akinde made a break into the Town half in the third minute, but his dangerous cross was cleared over his own crossbar by Jamie McCombe.

Anthony Pilkington looked to have picked up where he left off at Rochdale and started in a lively fashion. It was the winger's excellent slide-rule pass on the stroke of the sixth minute that gave Jordan Rhodes the chance to pull the trigger inside the area, but centre back Byron Anthony pulled off a fantastic sliding block to snuff out a decent-looking chance. From the resulting corner, McCombe was inches away from latching onto Carey's far post cross.

Town forced a succession of corners in the 11th minute and Rhodes should have put his side ahead from the second. Pilkington's far post delivery was nodded across goal by 'Boom Boom' McCombe and when 'keeper Andersen flapped at the ball it fell straight to the feet of Town's top scorer - who volleyed over from around twelve yards out.

Rovers striker John Akinde showed excellent strength to push Scott Arfield off the ball in the 14th minute and although he rather scuffed his long range left footer, it showed enough to have Alex Smithies scrambling across his goalmouth as it rolled narrowly wide of the left hand post.

Another dangerous Carey corner caused problems for Andersen in the 17th minute, but the Danish custodian dealt with the cross at the second attempt with McCombe nearby.

The game was evenly balanced; Town were trying to pass the ball and use the full width of the pitch, but Bristol were packing out midfield and breaking with pace. A positive piece of play on the edge of the box involving Carey and Arfield gave Garner a chance to shoot in the 25th minute, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner. From that corner, the 'keeper dealt with Peter Clarke's back post volley.

Carey soon volleyed McCombe's flick from a long throw well wide with his weaker right foot and then Jo Kuffour missed a glorious chance at the other end from the restart when Andersen's goal kick bounced and ran right through to the edge of the area; the former Torquay striker volleying wide from 18 yards out.

Town were back on the attack on the stroke of the half hour, with Pilkington's excellent touch totally wrong-footing left back Sawyer and allowing the flying winger to advance to the edge of the box before playing in Rhodes; however, his shot was well blocked again by the determined Pirates defence.

The Terriers were dominating possession by this stage and Pilkington was coming more and more into the game, but Rhodes could only slide his low ball into the box wide of the near post in the 37th minute under heavy pressure from defender Anthony.

BOOKING - Jamie McCombe was shown the first yellow card of the game in the 41st minute when he brought down John Akinde with a sliding challenge on the right touchline.

Akinde had a snapshot barely a minute later after a positive run and pass from Will Hoskins, but Peter Clarke managed to deflect his shot away from goal with an outstretched boot.

A swift Town break in the 44th minute almost led to the first goal, with Carey's clever flick setting Damien Johnson away down the right flank; the midfielder lofted a good cross to the back post for Anthony Pilkington, but once again a defender got back to block his back post volley.

Skipper Clarke then embarked on a surging run from halfway before clipping a pass into the path of Garner, but Andersen was quickly off his line to snuff out the opportunity.

The last meaningful action of the half saw Pilkington smash a free-kick at goal from the edge of the box after Regan brought down Garner, but the 'keeper held onto the ball well.


Town started the second half with renewed vigour and were zipping passes quickly about the pitch, but Akinde was the first to have a shot at goal in the 49th minute - volleying a left wing cross from Hughes over the bar.

Peltier drove an early cross across the face of goal soon after before the 'keeper collected and at the other end a swift Rovers break ended with Smithies pushing away a snapshot from the lively Hoskins.

SUB - Lee Novak and Alan Lee were both introduced to the game by Lee Clark in the 52nd minute, replacing Joe Garner and Jordan Rhodes.

Graham Carey then wasted a great chance to put his side ahead after excellent work from Town's right sided duo Peltier and Pilkington; the right back found his colleague with a low ball into the channel and when 'Pilks' stood an excellent cross up to the back post, Carey ran onto the ball to volley home - but instead smashed the ball well over the crossbar.

A 57th minute corner looked like it would end in a certain Town goal after Andersen got totally underneath a deep Carey cross, but somehow the Rovers defence cleared to safety with McCombe close by.

Arfield and Carey both had shots blocked around the hour mark as the Terriers picked up the pace again before a Carey free-kick hit the wall and McCombe diverted Pilkington's cross wide of the near post at full stretch.

A horrible back-pass from McCombe almost let Kuffour in on goal moments later, but Smithies got in a vital interception to divert the ball wide of goal.

Peter Clarke then powered a header at goal from Peltier's cross in open play in the 67th minute, but the ball arrowed straight at Andersen. Anywhere else and it would have been a goal.

A patient passage of passing build-up involving the majority of the Town team ended when Arfield hit a shot narrowly over the bar from 20 yards a few minutes later.

It then looked like Alan Lee had broken his Town duck with a superb header from Pilkington's pinpoint 72nd minute cross, only for Andersen to stick out his left hand and divert the ball away from goal.

Novak was inches away from latching onto a superb through ball from Pilkington barely a minute later, but Andersen did well again to spring off his line and gather the ball at the striker's feet.

Moments later McCombe headed Carey's corner over the bar.

SUB - Bristol Rovers made their first substitution in the 74th minute, replacing Akinde with Wayne Brown.

Immediately upon the restart Lee got his head to another Pilkington cross, but under heavy pressure from Byron Anthony he could only divert the ball wide.

SUB - Lee Clark made his final throw of the dice soon after when Joey Gudjonsson replaced Arfield in the 75th minute.

BOOKING - The referee booked Gudjonsson just four minutes later after he brought down fellow substitute Brown on the edge of his own box.

BOOKING - Immediately after the resulting free-kick Chris Lines hauled down Graham Carey as he tried to break and earned himself a yellow card.

Town then had a pretty good-looking penalty shout turned down in the 82nd minute after Damien Johnson burst into the area; it looked like the midfielder was tripped as he entered the box, but the referee was not interested - leaving the Town faithful bewildered.

SUB - Rovers made their second change in the 83rd minute, with Carl Regan replaced by James Tunnicliffe.

BOOKING - Will Hoskins was booked for dissent with two minutes to go.

SENT OFF - Jamie McCombe was then shown a second yellow card of the game a minute later for pulling the shirt of Hoskins as he looked to race clear.

The final Town attack of the game saw Lee smash the ball into the outside of the side netting from Peltier's long throw.

GOAL - Town then conceded with the final kick of the game when former Rotherham striker Will Hoskins netteda superb individual effort. The Rovers man picked the ball up 25 yards from goal, stepped over the ball to shift a defender and bent a superb curler into the far post to send the away fans into ecstasy.


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

Alex Smithies; Liam Ridehalgh, Peter Clarke (c), Jamie McCombe, Lee Peltier; Graham Carey, Damien Johnson, Scott Arfield (Joey Gudjonsson 75), Anthony Pilkington; Jordan Rhodes (Alan Lee 52), Joe Garner (Lee Novak 52)

Unused Subs: Ian Bennett, Antony Kay, Lee Croft, Chris Atkinson

Town Bookings: Jamie McCombe (41), Joey Gudjonsson (79)

Town Red Card: Jamie McCombe (89)

Bristol Rovers Bookings: Chris Lines (80), Will Hoskins (88)

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