Town secured their place in the fourth round of the E.ON sponsored FA Cup after defeating a spirited Dover Athletic 2-0.
A lightening start by Town saw them score two goals in two minutes courtesy of Scott Arfield and Gary Roberts. Despite been behind early on, Dover continued to battle hard, and were unlucky not to beat Alex Smithies who had a fantastic game in Town's goal.
A good following of Dover fans had made the long trip up from Kent hoping to see their side put on a memorable performance in today's FA Cup third round sponsored by E.ON.
Dover started the game in impressive fashion and picked up the first free-kick of the game inside a minute. Harry Baker stood over the dead ball and from 40 yards attempted to test Alex Smithies, sadly for the midfielder, his effort cannoned into the Town wall.
Town's first foray on Ross Flitney's goal came in the 6th minute through some good play by Lee Peltier down the Terriers right hand side. The full-back got to Dover's by-line with ease and fired a cross across the Whites box. Sadly for Town, no one was able to get a connection on the Liverpudlian's ball.
GOAL - Town opened their account in excellent fashion in the 7th minute when Scott Arfield scored his fifth goal of season. Town started the game quickly, and deserved to open the scoring when Lee Novak found himself through on goal and slid the ball across to an unmarked Arfield, who put away the ball away from two yards out.
GOAL - Within a minute Town had doubled their advantage through some neat team play, which resulted in Gary Roberts slamming the ball home from six yards. Anthony Pilkington played in Novak down Town's right who calmly slid a ball across the box in the direction of Jordan Rhodes. Dover defended the first ball well and managed to knock Rhodes off the ball, however, waiting at the back stick was Roberts who duly made it 2-0 to Town.
Following Town's explosive start to the game they settled down into their typical passing game and continued to apply pressure onto Dover's backline.
Dover went narrowly close to grabbing their first goal of the game in the 25th minute, when a towering header from Olly Schulz had to be acrobatically cleared off the line by Roberts. The defender won his header well from Baker's corner and had Smithies rooted to the spot in Town's goal.
Dover continued to battle admirably and had another effort on goal in the 33rd minute when their top scorer, Adam Birchall, attempted to test Smithies from range. Unfortunately for the Whites, he dragged his effort well wide of Town's goal.
In a fairly uneventful next ten minutes it was Dover who missed a chance to get back into the game. Following Town's inability to clear a Dover throw in, Birchall was presented with a chance to test Smithies, however, the striker lost his footing at the vital moment and the chance went begging.
Town immediately responded through the impressive Scott Arfield who made an excellent run forward to collect Pilkington's swinging cross field pass. The Scotsman made a mess of his first touch; however, he still managed to fire in volley, which went high over Flitney's goal.
In the dying embers of the first half Pilkington tested Flitney with a rasping drive, after cutting inside of Dover's right-back Matt Fish.
HALF TIME: TOWN 2 DOVER 0
The first five minutes of the half passed with very little incident, neither side were able to get a foot on the ball and gain some control the game. Town were first to have a shot on goal however, when in the 52nd minute, Pilkington cut inside his marker and attempted to reproduce his fantastic goal from the Yorkshire derby. Unfortunately for the winger, his effort on this occasion ended up in the stands behind Flitney's goal.
Rhodes was next to land a wayward shot in the stand behind Flitney's goal. The striker opened up some room for a shot but could only manage to slice his 30 yard effort into the Fantastic Media Stand.
Town were beginning to get closer to Flitney's goal and in the 58th minute Rhodes went close with a header from a well directed Peltier cross.
SUB - Lee Clark made his first substitution of the game in the 59th minute when Alan Lee was introduced to replace Jordan Rhodes.
SUB - Martin Hayes made his first change of the game when Sam Long replaced Barry Cogan in the 68th minute
SUB - Immediately after the Whites substitution, Tom Clarke was introduced to the fray in the place of Town's goal scorer Scott Arfield.
Town continued to try and put the game to bed with their third goal; and went very close to doing so when Roberts tested Flitney from around 12 yards in the 70th minute. The winger showed excellent skill and pace to beat his marker and created room to shoot in Dover's penalty area; however, his effort was not good enough to defeat the Whites 'keeper who cleared the danger with a good save.
SUB - Town made their third and final substitution of the game in the 73rd minute when the scorer of Town's second goal, Gary Roberts, was replaced by Graham Carey.
BOOKINGS - Town received two cautions in the space of minute to the delight of Dover's large following. Firstly, Kevin Kilbane made his way into Mr Bates book after a 75th minute foul on Baker. Following Kilbane into the referee's book was the recently introduced Tom Clarke, who was booked for upending Olly Schulz.
Flitney continued to keep his side in the tie with two smart saves from Kilbane and Alan Lee. Kilbane was first to warm the hands of Flitney with a well struck effort from the edge of the area. From the resulting save Alan Lee attempted to open his account for the Terriers, however, he was denied by a sprawling Flitney.
SUB - Dover made their second change in the 78th minute when Sam Cutler was replaced by Jon Wallis.
As the tie entered its final ten minutes, Dover had an excellent chance to get back into the game. Some good interplay in the middle of midfield released Dover's winger down the right of Town's defence, who instantly hit a cross to where two Dover players stood unmarked in Town's penalty area. The better placed of those was Sam Long who, after delaying his effort, was unable to test Smithies.
Following Long's chance, Dover continued to pile the pressure onto Smithies goal and very nearly defeated Town's stopper through Birchall. The diminutive striker managed to beat his marker at the front post and smartly directed a Long cross towards Smithies goal. Thankfully for the Town fans the striker's effort was straight at Smithies and he palmed the ball to safety.
As the game became an end to end affair, Town had Smithies to thank for saving Antony Kay's blushes when he deflected a Harry Baker shot towards Town's goal. Baker's deflected effort was destined for the goal but was knocked wide by a fantastic reflex save from Smithies.
FULL TIME - TOWN 2 DOVER 0
Town's Team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Liam Ridehalgh, Peter Clarke (c), Antony Kay, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts (Graham Carey 73), Kevin Kilbane, Scott Arfield (Tom Clarke 68), Anthony Pilkington; Jordan Rhodes (Alan Lee 59), Lee Novak.
Unused Subs: Ian Bennett, Jamie McCombe, Joey Gudjonsson, Chris Atkinson
Town: Kilbane 75, Clarke 76