Stalemate earns Robins first point
Mark Robins’ earned his first point in charge of the Terriers following the stalemate against relegation rivals Ipswich Town.
Chances were at premium throughout the game, but it was Town who had the best of them. Loan signing Theo Robinson missed the best one when he fluffed his lines after being played through by James Vaughan.
Robins made four changes to the side that started Tuesday’s disappointing defeat against Forest with new-signing Theo Robinson finding a place on the bench.
Few goals were expected with both sides having the joint worst goal scoring record in the npower Championship with just 34 goals each and the first-half lived up to just that.
Although Town offered more than the Tractor Boys and enjoyed a lot more possession, there was a lack of chances testing either goalkeeper
Scott Arfield, on the 200th appearance of his career, had the first chance of the match with a strike from just outside the area. A free-kick from Adam Clayton was headed clear by the Ipswich defence and fell to Arfield whose shot was deflected just wide of Stephen Henderson’s goal.
As Mark Robins suggested in his press conference this week, Town seemed to be passing a lot better than in previous games and space was opening up for the home side. Lee Novak had space down the right after twenty minutes, but his cross was just too high for James Vaughan to get on the end of.
Alex Smithies had a relatively quiet first-half, but he had to be on his toes after a lofted ball from Luke Hyam was chased down by David McGoldrick, which was successfully intervened by Smithies.
Just after half an hour, Ipswich enjoyed their best spell of possession in the half, but failed to create any clear-cut chances.
With ten minutes left of the first-half, Clayton’s cross-field pass to Novak teased the Ipswich players. Novak found himself with just the goalkeeper ahead of him, but the pressure from the Ipswich Town defence ensured that he was unable to find the target.
Town had two opportunities to break the deadlock at the end of the first-half. Vaughan found space on the edge of the area, but Henderson was equal to his effort. Just moments later, the ball fell to Arfield in a similar position; however his shot was impressively blocked by Luke Hyam.
Michael Chopra had a quiet first-half, but Carlos Edwards certainly knew he was on the pitch just after the break. Neat play between the two gave Edwards acres of space down the right, but was unable to create any chance.
Novak had a similar opportunity shortly into the second-half as the one in the first. Henderson was quick off his line and closed down on Novak who could only strike the ‘keeper’s chest with his shot.
Town, undefeated in six league matches at home before today, struggled to enjoy similar possession on the ball in the second-half as they did in the first.
Novak was penalised just before the hour-mark for a push in the back of a defender after a great header from James Vaughan found the 24 year-old in the area. Novak was replaced shortly after by Theo Robinson for his 200th league appearance.
The introduction of Robinson and Sean Scannell appeared to offer a new lease of life for Town who started to raise their game just after the hour-mark.
And it was Robinson that had the best chance to break the deadlock. Vaughan found Robinson with just the ‘keeper to beat, but on his second debut for The Terriers, he was unable to find the target after some tight-marking.
Town continued to press, but were unable to break down what had been a resolute Ipswich defence. In attack, Ipswich changed things around towards the end of the game, but failed to create a meaningful chance as both sides recorded a point in their fight against relegation.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Anthony Gerrard, Peter Clarke (C), Calum Woods; Oscar Gobern (Sean Scannell 64), Neil Danns; Scott Arfield, Adam Clayton (Jack Hunt 76), Lee Novak (Theo Robinson 58); James Vaughan
Ian Bennett, Oliver Norwood, Jack Hunt, Joel Lynch, Murray Wallace
Bookings Town: Vaughan
Bookings Ipswich Town:
Away Gate: 976