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21:46 11th January 2011


Town recorded an important three points over Plymouth Argyle after an unbelievable first half that saw the Terriers have to come back from two goals down.

Visiting striker Joe Mason scored the first goal of the game after just 50 seconds and after a red card for centre back Curtis Nelson, the visitors scored again!

However, an own goal started Town's fight-back before Jordan Rhodes and Peter Clarke put Town into a lead they never conceded.

GOAL - Plymouth opened the scoring with the first attack of the game in the opening minute through Joe Mason. Zimbabwean international Onismor Bhasera ghosted past Scott Arfield on halfway before advancing towards the edge of the Town box and passing to Rory Patterson; his cross fell to Mason inside the area, who half-volleyed past Smithies from around 12 yards out - all within the first 50 seconds.

The Pilgrims started quickly and Patterson soon struck a vicious free-kick from 30 yards out that was deflected wide by the Town defensive wall.

Town soon fought back and an excellent ball down the right channel from Anthony Pilkington found the overlapping Peltier in the channel, who won a corner for his side. The right back worked a short one with Gary Roberts but although Antony Kay got his head to the ball, his effort was deflected wide by a defender.

RED CARD - After their positive start, defender Curtis Nelson was shown a 10th minute red card for the visitors after a blatant foul on Jordan Rhodes. The Town striker showed good anticipation to latch onto a flick-on from Pilkington and as Town's top scorer tried to race clear his shirt was clearly held by the centre back. As Nelson was last man, he had to go.

The resulting Pilkington free-kick was turned over the crossbar by Plymouth 'keeper Button and from that Gary Roberts corner, Jordan Rhodes' back post header drifted wide.

Argyle manager Peter Reid was furious as just before the red card, he felt his side should have been awarded a free kick following a challenge between Antony Kay and goalscorer Mason. He protested too vigorously for referee Tierney, who sent him to the stand!

GOAL - Town then conceded a catastrophic second goal, with Joe Mason netting after a series of errors. Clark's side were awarded a free-kick just inside the Plymouth half and with two players who had received treatment off the pitch for Argyle, Kevin Kilbane took a short one and mistakenly played the ball straight to Rory Patterson; he played a first time pass to Mason, who marched into the Town half unopposed.

Mason was being chased by Lee Peltier and the defender showed great pace to get back alongside the striker just as he entered the area to get a foot to the ball, but unfortunately for Town the ball cannoned off Alex Smithies and against the chest of Mason before rolling agonisingly into the vacant net.

BOOKING - Plymouth's Chris Clark was booked in the 17th minute for dissent.

GOAL - Town then got a goal back a minute later through an own goal. The ball was worked down the left side by new boy Kadar into the path of Anthony Pilkington, who had switched wings with Gary Roberts; 'Pilks' crossed the ball into the Argyle area with his left foot, where Icelander Kari Arnason badly sliced an attempted clearance straight past his own goalkeeper.

Rhodes sent a deflected curler straight into the arms of Button on the stroke of the 24th minute after a good passing move from Town before he got on the end of a great Pilkington cross from the left; his close range header hit a defender before being saved by the legs of Button, with Kilbane striking the rebound just wide of the right-hand post from the edge of the box.

It looked like the Terriers had drawn level two minutes later after Pilkington easily beat right back Zubar to deliver another pinpoint cross, but Rhodes placed his cushioned header millimetres wide of the far post with the goalkeeper watching on motionlessly.

GOAL - A whirlwind half hour was concluded in the 29th minute when top scorer Jordan Rhodes netted his 15th of the season to draw Lee Clark's side level. Kevin Kilbane fed the ball back into the penalty area after a Town cross was half cleared and the striker took the ball on his chest just inside the area; with his back to goal, the striker turned cleverly before hitting a snapshot that Button could only push onto the inside of his own post, with the ball looping into the goal.

BOOKING - Rory Patterson was booked in the 31st minute for a foul on Gary Roberts just outside the penalty area.

GOAL - Town then took the lead for the first time in the game a minute later through Peter Clarke. Roberts picked himself up after being fouled to take the free kick right on the dead ball line and with players packing the box, he laid the ball back to the penalty spot for Kilbane to strike at goal; he scuffed a right footed effort to the back post where the skipper turned the ball home from close range.

Lee Novak sent a curler wide of goal in the 35th minute as the game continued in a very open fashion.

A clever corner routine in the 38th minute almost saw Town extend their lead. Pilkington found Roberts in space on the edge of the box and he chipped the ball to the back post, where Rhodes headed the ball just over the crossbar from ten yards out.

BOOKING - Right back Stephane Zubar was shown Argyle's third yellow card in the 40th minute for a cynical body check on Kevin Kilbane as he charged towards the Plymouth area.

A superb cross from Gary Roberts upon the restart was met by the head of Peter Clarke, who had climbed magnificently above his marker at the near post; however, his header drifted just wide of goal. Moments later Scott Arfield found himself in space inside the area after collecting a low pass, but his shot was excellently blocked by defender Marcel Seip.


SUB - Plymouth made a change during the interval, with Jack Stephens replaced by Karl Duguid.

The Pilgrims forced a number of early set pieces after the restart, but Town defended stoutly and the game soon settled into a pattern. The lively Bhasera show well wide from range in the 50th minute before that combination again - Pilkington and Rhodes - combined in a move that saw the striker nudge the ball wide of the near post from an acute angle.

RED CARD - Plymouth were then reduced to nine men in the 53rd minute after Stephane Zubar picked up his second yellow card of the game. The defender had already been warned for an earlier indiscretion in the half and after clattering clumsily into Lee Novak on the touchline the referee didn't hesitate to show him his second yellow and dismiss him from the field.

Plymouth reorganised into a 4-3-1 formation following the dismissal.

BOOKING - Left back Onismor Bhasera was booked in the 56th minute for a crude challenge.

SUB - Lee Clark made his first substitution in the 58th minute, with Graham Carey replacing Gary Roberts.

Pilkington stepped inside from the right flank in trademark fashion just after the hour mark before trying a shot at goal with his prolific left boot, but this time he steered the ball straight into the path of 'keeper Button.

Carey then got in on the act, hitting a superb cross towards the back post after picking up a short pass from Kadar; however, Rhodes placed his header wide.

BOOKING - Antony Kay was booked in the 65th minute after he committed a foul by the right touchline.

SUB - Plymouth made another change in the 75th minute, with goalscorer Mason replaced in attack by Yannick Bolasie.

The game finally dropped from its frenetic tempo as it entered the final twenty minutes, but Town were still probing the visiting defence. Arfield shot over from range when in space before Arnason put in an important clearing header for Argyle to deny Lee Novak a clear chance at goal.

From the resulting back post corner from Pilkington, Peter Clarke's firm header was well saved by Button to his left side.

SUB - Joey Gudjonsson was introduced to the game in the 78th minute, replacing Arfield.

Patterson shot well over the crossbar in a rare Plymouth attack before Kilbane planted another header straight at the goalkeeper from Pilkington's corner.

Another Pilkington corner, another chance - Peter Clarke's deflected header from Pilkington's corner landed on the roof of the net.

BOOKING - Plymouth skipper Carl Fletcher was booked for dissent in the 86th minute.

SUB - Town's final change came in the final minute when Anthony Pilkington was replaced by Tom Clarke.


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

Alex Smithies; Tamas Kadar, Peter Clarke (c), Antony Kay, Lee Peltier; Gary Roberts (Graham Carey 58), Kevin Kilbane, Scott Arfield (Joey Gudjonsson 78), Anthony Pilkington (Tom Clarke 90); Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak

Unused Subs: Ian Bennett, Jamie McCombe, Alan Lee, Liam Ridehalgh

Town Booking: Antony Kay (65)

Plymouth Bookings: Chris Clark (17), Rory Patterson (31), Stephane Zubar (40), Onismor Bhasera (56), Carl Fletcher (86)

Plymouth Red Cards: Curtis Nelson (10), Stephane Zubar (53)

Gate: 11,462

Visitors: 169

    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.