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14:32 7th April 2012


Town lost pace on the automatic promotion race this afternoon after going down by two goals to Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

The first 45 proved a tight affair with Wednesday having the best chance inside the opening five minutes when Gary Madine headed against the bar. Town's best chance fell to Danny Ward who worked an opening well before smashing the ball just wide of Stephen Bywater's goal.

The Owls' started the second half on the back foot, but broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute when Miguel Llera sweetly struck a free-kick past the diving Alex Smithies. Dave Jones' men had a number of chances to double their lead and finally did with 19 minutes left when Nile Ranger finished well when one on one with Smithies.

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The Terriers had a number of half chances to find a way back into the game, but on both occasions Antony Kay and Danny Cadamarteri failed to convert.

Simon Grayson was forced to make one change from the team that beat Leyton Orient in midweek with Jack Hunt serving the first of his two match ban after picking up his tenth booking of the season.

Lee Novak was Grayson's only other doubt after coming off with an ankle injury against Orient, but he was deemed fit enough to take his place on the right of a four man midfield.

Wednesday, backed by a sell out following, started the game on the front foot and had Alex Smithies at full stretch in the second minute when the in-form Gary Madine rose highest to head Michail Antonio's long throw on to the bar.

Jamaican winger Jermaine Johnson looked particular lively for the visitors and twice tested Town's defence with two surging runs, however on both occasions they were halted abruptly by Calum Woods and Tom Clarke respectfully.

Town soaked up Wednesday's early pressure and got in behind the visitors for the first time in the 15th minute when Antony Kay's superb angled pass found Novak in behind Reda Johnson. The striker, playing on the wing today, swung in a near post cross which was excellently cleared by Miguel Llera. The Terriers then enjoyed a succession of corners and despite Kay and Sean Morrison challenging well, they failed to trouble Stephen Bywater.

SUB - In the 17th minute Dave Jones was forced to make his first change of the game when Reda Johnson hobbled off the pitch and was replaced by Mark Beevers.

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Both teams were exchanging heavy tackles during the opening quarter of the game and in the 26 minute a tackle from Peter Clarke on Madine resulted in referee Taylor awarding the Owls a free-kick 25 yards out. Spanish centre back Llera stood over the dead ball and curled, with his left, a superb effort just wide of Smithies' left upright.

Town immediately responded and went close to opening the scoring with 32 minutes on the clock when Danny Ward collected Jordan Rhodes' neat lay off and sped past Lewis Buxton before smashing a shot across Bywater's goal and just wide of his far post.

BOOKING - Wednesday's on loan defender Danny Batth received the first caution of the game in the 44th minute when he 'handed off' Alan Lee in the chest. Danny Ward and Novak stood over the resulting free kick and after the striker's step-over, Ward curled a well struck shot just over Bywater's goal.


The Terriers started the half as they ended the first and had the first effort of the second 45 when Kay nodded Morrison's long throw harmlessly wide of Bywater's goal.

GOAL - The Owls opened the scoring with 53 minutes on the clock when Miguel Llera curled a deliciously struck free-kick into the bottom corner of Smithies goal. The free-kick, awarded because of Morrison's foul on Batth, was hit from 25 yards across Smithies and nestled in the corner to the delight of 4,000 Wednesday fans.

The visitors should have doubled their advantage on the hour when Antonio forced Smithies into a low save, which Nile Ranger reacted first to but he fired his rebound straight at Town's scrambling 'keeper.

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Town forced Bywater into his first save of the half when Novak collected Rhodes' flick on and fired hard at the stopper at his near post.

SUBS - Simon Grayson made a double change in the 67th minute with Scott Arfield replacing Diego Arismendi and Gary Roberts replacing Lee Novak.

Dave Jones' men were then presented with a double chance to effectively end the game. A brilliant through ball by Chris Lines cleared Woods and found Ranger one on one with Smithies; the on loan Newcastle man hit the ball first time and crashed it into Town's crash bar. The rebound was half cleared by Woods and fell to Antonio, who took a touch before wastefully volleying wide from 12 yards.

GOAL - At the third time of trying Wednesday did double their advantage and it was Nile Ranger who calmly slotted past Smithies with 19 minutes left to play. Tom Clarke's poor misplaced pass was gathered superbly by Antonio and he immediately set Ranger on his way; the powerful striker held off the challenge of Clarke before easily slotting past Smithies from 12 yards.

Town took some time to get back into their stride after falling further behind and it wasn't until the 82nd minute that they tested Bywater again when he first failed to clear Ward's cross cleanly before saving coolly from Rhodes' back post header.

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SUBS - Both managers made changes with five minutes remaining. Danny Cadamarteri went up front in place of Alan Lee and Keith Treacy came on for Jermaine Johnson.

Cads almost had an immediate impact when the striker collected Kay's flick on ten yards out and neatly hit a volley on the turn straight at Bywater.

BOOKING - Miguel Llera was booked in the second minute of added on time for an act of dissent.

SUB - Wednesday made their final change of the game in the dying moments when Chris Sedgwick replaced Michail Antonio.


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

Alex Smithes; Calum Woods, Peter Clarke (c), Sean Morrison, Tom Clarke; Danny Ward, Antony Kay, Diego Arismendi (Scott Arfield 67), Lee Novak (Gary Roberts 67); Jordan Rhodes, Alan Lee (Danny Cadamarteri 86)

Unused substitutes:

Ian Bennett, Jamie McCombe

Gate: 18,646

Away: 3,975

Bookings Town:

Bookings Wednesday: Danny Batth 44, Miguel Llera 90

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    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.