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15:17 30th January 2011


Town's FA Cup run ended at the Emirates this afternoon, however, Lee Clark's men can be proud of the performance they put in and for large parts of the game had Arsenal on the back foot.

Nicklas Bendtner opened the scoring for the Gunners before Sebastien Squillaci recklessly brought down Jack Hunt to see red. In the second half Town attacked the Premier League giants and were rewarded when big Alan Lee nodded home his first for the Terriers. Sadly for Town, they were unable to bring the Gunners back to Huddersfield when Cesc Fabregas converted an 87th minute penalty to hand his side a 2-1 victory.

Town's 5,188 followers were making themselves heard as Town - led by Peter Clarke - entered onto the plush Emirates pitch on a mild Sunday morning.

Town made an excellent start to the game and were immediately on the attack through Alan Lee and Gary Roberts down the Arsenal right. The latter swung in a well directed ball towards Town's lone frontman Lee, however, in his efforts to get on the end of Roberts cross he was deemed to have fouled Sebastien Squillaci.

Moments later Arsenal's Russian forward Andrey Arshavin was offered the first chance of the game; the skilful striker had found space in Town's penalty area but could only manage to fire over Ian Bennett's goal from 12 yards. Minutes before Arshavin's effort, Peter Clarke had heroically blocked a Nicklas Bendtner shot which looked destined to trouble Bennett.

Town were giving as good as they got during the opening exchanges of the game and created an opening of their own in the 7th minute. A Joey Gudjonsson cross from the right was well flicked on by Kevin Kilbane towards the unmarked Jamie McCombe. Sadly for Town, the giant centre back was given offside just as he pulled the trigger from 12 yards.

Arsenal very nearly opened the scoring courtesy of some slick passing play down Town's right. Arshavin showed good pace to glide past Jack Hunt and into Town's penalty area before hitting a ball across Bennett's six yard box. Thankfully for Town, a good sliding deflection from the recovering Hunt meant that Bendtner could not get a clean connection on his finish and saw it go wide of Bennett's goal.

Minutes later Arshavin was in the action again and had two excellent chances to hand his side the advantage, but on both occasions he failed to beat Bennett. Firstly, the diminutive Russian fired wide of Bennett's goal from 12 yards and then from the same position hit the post with a similar effort.

After suffering what felt like a full ninety minutes of pressure from Arsenal - Town went back on the attack. Some good work from Alan Lee won Town their first corner of the game, which was initially cleared by Arsenal before Anthony Pilkington recycled the ball and swung in a deep cross towards the back post. Waiting at the back stick was McCombe who should have done better with his header from six yards, which went narrowly wide.

GOAL - In the 21st minute Arsenal's Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner opened the scoring for the Londoner's with a well taken goal following a good through ball from Marouane Chamakh. The Moroccan neatly turned the ball round the corner for the onrushing Bendtner who had got in behind Kilbane and finished from 12 yards despite the ball taking a deflection off the despairing dive of Peter Clarke.

Town kept their composure despite going behind and forged a chance of their own minutes later through some excellent wing play from Hunt and Pilkington. The latter was released in behind Gibbs and instantly swung a ball in towards the waiting Alan Lee. The striker looked destined to score before a perfectly timed interception from Squillaci averted the danger.

BOOKING - Kieran Gibbs received the first caution of the game from Mark Clattenburg in the 27th minute for kicking the ball away when Town were trying to take a quick free-kick.

For probably the first time in the game Arsenal gave the ball away through Denilson, which handed Town a chance to attack Manuel Almunia's goal. Lee was the recipient of Denilson's error and calmly opened up a shooting opportunity for the supporting Pilkington. Pilkington gathered the ball with ease and was unlucky to see his effort go only a few yards wide of Arsenal's goal.

SUB - Arsene Wenger made an enforced change in the 33rd minute when his captain for the day - Samir Nasri - pulled up injured and was replaced by Tomas Rosicky.

As time ticked towards half-time Town began to gain confidence in attack and not for the first time this afternoon created an excellent opening. A long looping cross from Gudjonsson was aimed perfectly for the waiting Pilkington - the winger had timed his run perfectly and from 12 yardswas unlucky to head wide of Almunia's right-hand post.

RED CARD - Arsenal's centre back Sebastian Squillaci was shown a straight red for a deliberate block on Town's right-back, Jack Hunt, in the 42nd minute. The defender showed excellent defensive and attacking skills to firstly rob Arshavin of the ball and then go on a marauding run which took him past four Arsenal defenders, the last of those defenders was Squillaci who saw red for checking Hunt as he attempted to race past him towards Almunia's goal.


SUB - Following Squillaci's red card, Wenger replaced Marouane Chamakh with Alex Song who filled the vacant centre back position.

Despite only having ten outfield players on the pitch Arsenal were the first team to create an opening. An excellent through ball in behind Jack Hunt released Arshavin with a free run onto Bennett's goal, the Russian showed excellent pace to out run the Town defence but was unable to test Bennett with his effort from 12 yards.

A piece of last ditch defending from Arshavin in the 55th minute prevented Gudjonsson from opening Town's account. Good pressure from Lee and Pilkington in Arsenal's penalty area forced an opening for Gudjonsson. Although the angle was tight, it looked like Gudjonsson would slide in Town's opener; however, a despairing slide tackle from Arshavin cleared the ball to the dismay of the Town followers.

SUB - In the 60th minute Lee Clark made his first change of the game, replacing an injured looking Tom Clarke with Scott Arfield.

Town were by far and away the dominant force as the game entered the midway point of the first half and twice in two minutes went close to drawing level. Firstly, Alan Lee produced an excellent diving save from Almunia with a header from nine yards and then from the resulting corner, Gudjonsson hit a rasping volley narrowly wide of Almunia's goal.

GOAL - Town deservedly drew level in the 65th minute when Alan Lee scored his first goal for the Club to the delight of the 5188 travelling Town fans. A near post corner from Anthony Pilkington picked out Lee, who had climbed above Diaby to plant home a header past a stranded Almunia.

BOOKING - Scott Arfield was the first Town player to go into Mr Clattenburg's book in the 68th minute for a scissor tackle on Abou Diaby.

SUB - Wenger made his final change of the game in the 69th minute, replacing Abou Diaby with Cesc Fabregas.

The game was finely balanced as the game entered its final ten minutes with both teams focusing more on attack than defence. Despite their attacking enthusiasm, Town were still defending resolutely at the back and were been led excellently by skipper Peter Clarke who was blocking everything that came his way.

BOOKING - Anthony Pilkington was the recipient of Town's second booking of the game for showing dissent towards referee Clattenburg.

BOOKING - Jamie McCombe was booked for bringing down Nicklas Bendtner in the penalty area, which resulted in Arsenal been awarded a penalty. Town needlessly gave the ball away inside their own half and were punished when Fabregas found Bendtner free in Town's penalty area who was then brought down by McCombe before he could get a shot away.

GOAL - From the resulting penalty, Cesc Fabregas slotted the ball home in the 87th minute to give the Gunner's a 2-1 advantage.

BOOKING - Arsenal's goalscorer Cesc Fabregas was booked in the dying embers of the game for dissent.


Town's team (4-5-1):

Ian Bennett; Jack Hunt, Peter Clarke (c), Jamie McCombe, Kevin Kilbane; Gary Roberts, Joey Gudjonsson, Lee Peltier, Tom Clarke (Scott Arfield 60), Anthony Pilkington; Alan Lee

Unused subs: Nick Colgan, Antony Kay, Gary Naysmith, Chris Atkinson, Aidan Chippendale, Lee Novak

Booking Town:

Scott Arfield (68)

Anthony Pilkington (82)

Jamie McCombe (86)

Booking Arsenal:

Kieran Gibbs (27)

Cesc Fabregas (90)

Red Card:

Sebastien Squillaci (42)

Attendance: 59375

    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.