Alan Lee jumped off the substitute's bench to inspire Town to a hard fought victory this evening at home to Hartlepool.
The former Ipswich man showed poise to neatly control Joey Gudjonsson's through ball before firing past Scott Flinders to hand Town all three points. In a game with chances few and far between, the Terriers had the best of them early on when Antony Kay and Danny Ward tested Flinders.
Hartlepool did have a few chances of their own and rattled the woodwork when Andy Monkhouse hit a speculative effort from 30 yards.
However, Town held on to a victory that closed the gap between Town and Sheffield United to two points.
Simon Grayson named one change for tonight's clash with Hartlepool. Calum Woods replaced Gary Naysmith, who as a result dropped to the bench and in his place; Antony Kay was named as captain.
The Town fans were almost treated to a goal within the first five minutes when Jordan Rhodes headed straight at Scott Flinders following excellent work by Calum Woods and Scott Arfield.
Hartlepool, who had Ritchie Humphreys playing as a lone front man, produced a number of good blocks in the opening ten minutes. Kay saw an effort blocked by Evan Horwood before Flinders pulled off a superb save to keep out his innovative flick from Danny Ward's cross.
Ward also tested Flinders from a narrow angle moments later, but despite the Terriers early pressure, it was Hartlepool who created the best chance of the first twenty minutes. James Poole broke past Woods following a good one two and played a testing ball across the box; Jack Hunt half cleared before Sean Morrison dived in the way of Humphreys left footed effort to clear the danger.
Town started the game in a 4-5-1 formation - similar to the one that lined up against Bury - however after half an hour, and no clear cut chances, Grayson changed to 4-4-2, with Novak going up top to support Jordan.
The game lacked any really tempo as the visitors aimed to stifle Town's attacking threat with a five man midfield featuring defensive midfielder Paul Murray. They did, however, leave the door open with five minutes of the half remaining when Jordan Rhodes bore down on Sam Collins courtesy of Ward's excellent flicked header. With Scott Arfield busting a gut to support the striker, Jordan over hit his through ball allowing Flinders to gather.
HALF-TIME - TOWN 0 POOLS 0
SUB - Neale Cooper made a change during the half time interval replacing James Poole with James Brown.
The second half began in a similar vein to how the first ended. An early bright point for the Terriers was Danny Ward who was looking to beat his marker at every attempt; sadly his radar was slightly off with one of his first shots of the half ending up with the fans in the Fantastic Media Stand.
SUBS - Just after the hour mark Simon Grayson made two substitutions. Scott Arfield was replaced by Gary Roberts and striker Lee Novak left the field to be replaced by Alan Lee.
The visitors were playing with more freedom in the second half and were looking a threat on the break. In the 66th minute, following a neat through ball, Antony Sweeny beat McCombe to the ball and fired at Smithies from a tight angle, who parried to safety.
GOAL - With 15 minutes left on the clock the Terriers took the lead courtesy of a brilliant piece of play from Alan Lee. The substitute collected Joey Gudjonsson's lobbed ball forward with his chest before rifling a half volley from just outside the area past Flinders. The striker as always celebrated with great enthusiasm running up the touchline of the Britannia Rescue Stand to the delight of the Town faithful!
SUBS - Neale Cooper responded immediately bringing on two strikers - Colin Nish and Adam Boyd came on at the expense of Paul Murray and Ritchie Humphreys.
Pool almost drew level in the 84th minute when left winger Andy Monkhouse collected the ball unmarked 35 yards out and rifled an effort at goal, which flew past Smithies and rattled the outside of the post before rebounding clear.
Smithies was then called upon to make a superb double save - the young stopper dived full length to thwart Sweeney before diving at the feet of Nish to block his follow up.
SUB - With five minutes remaining Danny Ward left the fray to be replaced by Damien Johnson.
FULL TIME - HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 1 HARTLEPOOL UNITED 0
Town's team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Calum Woods, Jamie McCombe, Sean Morrison, Jack Hunt; Danny Ward (Damien Johnson 85), Antony Kay (c), Joey Gudjonsson, Scott Arfield (Gary Roberts 61); Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak (Alan Lee 61)
Ian Bennett, Gary Naysmith