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00:31 22nd June 2012
By  Dan Nelson

Ward's early strike earns three points

Town’s unbeaten start to the season on home soil continued this afternoon courtesy of Danny Ward’s early opener.

The winger prodded home from Man of the Match’s Adam Hammill’s cross to earn Town their second win of the season.

Derby, who arrived on the back of a 5-1 victory over Watford, dominated for large parts and will leave Huddersfield wondering how they never forced Alex Smithies into a meaningful save.

Simon Grayson handed winger Adam Hammill his home debut as the Terriers went in search of back to back home victories.

The on loan Wolves man didn’t hang about in making a fantastic first impression when he played assist for Danny Ward to open the scoring with just 47 seconds gone. The winger forced Gareth Roberts back into his own box before throwing a step over and clipping inside to Ward who met the ball with the outside of his boot to prod past Frank Fielding.

Keith Southern and Oliver Norwood both tried from range for Town but saw their efforts blocked by brave Derby defending as Town continued their good start.

Town’s excellent early work was almost undone on 15 minutes when Welsh international Joel Lynch misplaced a pass in the direction of Jamie Ward who immediately bore down on Peter Clarke. The Northern Irish striker switched the ball inside to Conor 

Sammon who was readying himself to shoot before Town’s captain stopped him in his tracks with a superb flying challenge.

Hammill was causing the Derby defence all kinds of problems with his direct running and after he had found Norwood with a neat pass the midfielder swung the ball in the direction of James Vaughan. The on loan Norwich man took a good first touch and was set to hit the ball on the volley before John Brayford made a timely intervention to quell the danger.

Derby on rare occasions during the opening 45 threatened Alex Smithies in the Town goal. The Rams’ strike pairing of Jamie Ward and Conor Sammon were looking lively with the latter forcing Peter Clarke into a good block in the six yard box and Ward, who was proving a constant pain, was picking up good space in between Town’s defence and midfield.


Neither manger made any changes during half-time as Simon Grayson’s men again came out of the blocks quickest with Adam Clayton striking the post from range. From the resulting corner the ball fell to Keith Southern who scooped an effort with his left high into the Fantastic Media Stand.

Despite Town’s decent opening to the half the visitors were looking dangerous in attack, especially Jamie Ward who had reverted to a left-wing position. In the 53rd minute the former Chesterfield man did well the shrug off the attentions of Hunt before firing wide and then turned creator a few minutes later when he skipped past Hammill before crossing deep to Doyle who hurried his shot and smashed high and wide past Smithies’ goal.

Town introduced Lee Novak into the fray with 25 minutes remaining at the expense of Town’s goalscorer as Grayson attempted to prevent the siege that the Rams’ were laying on Alex Smithies’ goal. Yet despite their territorial pressure they were struggling to test Smithies, a complete contrast to their last outing when they smashed five past Watford.

Former Town striker Theo Robinson was introduced by Nigel Clough on 79 minutes for Sammon; however, it was Town substitute Lee Novak who was next to have a shy on goal when he fired widely wide after taking a neat touch at the back post.

Scottish international Paul Dixon had to be on guard with five minutes remaining when Craig Bryson tricked his way to the by-line. The midfielder’s low cross wasn’t collected cleanly by Smithies but thankfully for Town Dixon was on hand to sweep the ball away from danger. 

Derby continued to press for a late equaliser but just as in Town’s previous home game against Burnley Peter Clarke and his defensive unit held firm to secure back to back victories and clean sheets.


Town’s team (4-4-1-1):

Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Joel Lynch, Peter Clarke, Jack Hunt; Danny Ward (Lee Novak 66), Keith Southern, Oliver Norwood, Adam Clayton; Adam Hammill (Scott Arfield 86); James Vaughan (Sean Scannell 90)

Unused substitutes:

Ian Bennett, Calum Woods, Anthony Gerrard, Alan Lee

Bookings Town: Paul Dixon 24, Jack Hunt 75, Joel Lynch 90+3

Bookings Derby: Jamie Ward 30,

Gate: 15,265

Away: 2,491

    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.