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09:37 7th November 2011


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The Terriers were made to rue a number of missed opportunities this afternoon, which allowed Walsall substitute Jamie Paterson to steal in late on and equalise.

Town dominated proceedings in the first-half and missed a number of good opportunities when well placed in and around David Grof's goal. Grof himself, produced a number of key saves to keep the scores level at half-time.

Lee Clark's men continued to apply the pressure in the second-half and deservedly opened the scoring when Lee Novak prodded home from close range. Town then conceded late on when Jamie Paterson got in ahead of Damien Johnson and curled an excellent shot past Ian Bennett.

Walsall line up 320

Lee Clark was forced to make two changes to his starting line-up, with Lee Novak replacing the suspended Alan Lee, who had collected his fifth booking of the season against Yeovil last weekend and Gary Roberts replacing the injured Danny Ward.

Elsewhere, Danny Cadamarteri made his first appearance on the bench this season, as a result of Ward's injury.

Town, wearing their limited edition Help for Heroes strip, started the game well and tested Walsall 'keeper David Grof inside two minutes when Jordan Rhodes barged former Terrier Andy Butler off the ball and fired a shot straight at the stopper. From the resulting corner, the Walsall defence cleared the ball well.

A minute later Lee Novak made his first contribution of the game when he fired high into the newly named John Smith's stand, following good work by Damien Johnson.

Walsall made their first foray onto to Ian Bennett's goal in the eleventh minute when right-midfielder Claude Gnakpa swung in a deep cross to the back post; which Alex Nicholls attempted to prod home, but failed to make a clean connection.

The Saddlers were proving tough to breakdown and were holding a strong line on the edge of the area as the Terriers patiently passed the ball across the pitch. In the 16th minute Gary Roberts managed to work a yard of space and fired an excellent shot which went narrowly over the top of Grof's left-upright.

Town then went close three times in a minute with twenty minutes gone. Firstly, Butler threw himself in front a goal bound strike from Scott Arfield. From the resulting corner Liam Cooper saw his header tipped over the bar and then from the next corner Grof made a brilliant point blank save to deny Jordan Rhodes.

Lee Novak Walsall 320

The Terriers were almost caught on the counter attack by the away side in the 26th minute when Richard Taundry pulled off his marked and delivered a precise ball into Bennett's box which Jon Macken scuffed straight at Benno from five yards.

Scott Arfield was playing superbly for the Terriers on the right of midfielder and almost opened the scoring in the 28th minute when he latched on to a back-post cross and dragged an effort just wide of Grog's left-post. Moments later the Scottish midfielder, in tandem with Jack Hunt, won the Terriers a corner, which saw Cooper force Grof into another excellent one-handed save.

Arfield was finding oceans of space in behind Walsall's five-man midfield and in the 37th minute he created the best opening of the game, which Rhodes surprisingly failed to finish. After receiving the ball 40 yards out Arfield raced forward and laid the ball into the path of Novak, who quickly switched the ball to Rhodes, who from 12 yards hit an effort straight at Grof to the disbelief of the Town fans in the South Stand.

After dominating for large parts of the first-half Gary Roberts summed up to Town's inability to put the ball in the back of the net when he fired high and wide, following good work in the box.


Both teams returned for the second-half unchanged and it was the Terriers who started the quickest. Liam Cooper, who had won a lot in the air for the Terriers this afternoon, rose well to meet Gary Roberts' free-kick, but failed to hit the target with his flick header.

BOOKING - Alex Nicholls was the first player to receive a caution when he reckless pulled Hunt to the ground in the 49th minute.

SUB - Dean Smith made his first change of the game ten minutes into the second-half when central midfielder Anton Peterlin was replaced by Jamie Paterson.

Walsall were showing some attacking intent at the start of the second-half, but it was the Terriers who were next to take a shot in anger when Rhodes and Miller linked up nicely on the edge of the Saddlers penalty area, allowing the latter to hit a low shot, which was well blocked by Butler.

GOAL - The Terriers deservedly opened the scoring in the 66th minute when Lee Novak prodded home his tenth goal of the season. The goal was created from a short corner taken by Gary Roberts to Scott Arfield; Arfield cleverly returned the ball to the winger who steadied himself before smashing a ball across the box for Novak to prod home from three yards.

SUB - The Saddlers made their second change of the game in the 74th minute when Jon Macken made way for Will Grigg.

Gary Roberts 320

GOAL - Walsall equalised excellently in the 78th minute when substitute Jamie Paterson twisted inside of Damien Johnson before curling well past Ian Bennett. The substitute showed good pace to latch onto a knock down ahead of Johnson; Town's central midfielder did well to get back, but could not prevent Paterson cutting inside him and from 16 yards out curling an effort low past Benno.

Town responded well and had a large portion of the Britannia Rescue celebrating when Jordan Rhodes struck a shot from 25 yards, which went just wide. From where the fans in the north end of the Britannia Rescue were sat the ball looked like it had hit the post and nestled in the back of the net - sadly the fans in the other three stands knew otherwise.

SUB - Dean Smith made his final change of the game in the 87th minute when Ryan Jarvis replaced Claude Gnakpa.

A moment of indecision by Town at the back almost allowed Will Grigg steal in and ultimately steal victory. A high ball over the top looked easy for Liam Cooper to deal with, but when he saw Ian Bennett advancing he backed away allowing Grigg to attempt a lob, which thankfully Benno clawed away.

BOOKING - Jack Hunt received Town's first caution of the game in the first minute of injury time when he was deemed to have dived under a challenge from Will Grigg. The booking was Jack's fifth of the season and will mean he misses the Terriers FA Cup clash against Swindon.


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

Ian Bennett; Calum Woods, Liam Cooper, Peter Clarke, Jack Hunt; Gary Roberts, Tommy Miller, Damien Johnson, Scott Arfield; Lee Novak, Jordan Rhodes

Unused substitutes:

Nick Colgan, Antony Kay, Anton Robinson, Donal McDermott, Danny Cadamarteri


Town: Hunt 90+1

Walsall: Nicholls 49,

Gate: 13,005

Away: 217

    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.