Vaughan goal ends Town’s winless streak
James Vaughan’s second half strike against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night earned the Terriers their first league win of 2013 and ended their 12 match winless streak in the league.
Vaughan’s goal – his first in ten games – was well deserved for the home team and came after a nice piece of passing play resulted in Adam Clayton slipping clear the on loan Norwich man, who made no mistake.
Palace – who could have gone second with a win – huffed and puffed all day and never really created a clear opening of note. Their best efforts came from outside the area as Town worked hard to restrict attacking threats Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie.
Mark Lillis fielded a similar team to Saturday’s FA Cup encounter with Neil Danns, who was ineligible or the FA Cup encounter with Leicester City, replacing Jordan Sinnott as the only change in central midfield.
Town enjoyed much of the possession in the first half, but were unable to find a way past Julian Speroni in the Palace goal.
Alex Smithies was the first goalkeeper to be called into action after a routine header back by Peter Clarke caused slight confusion between the pair, but it was Town who looked more likely to score at the right end in the opening half.
In the 15th minute, Adam Clayton’s free kick looked set to creep into bottom right of Speroni’s goal, however the Argentinean managed to poke the ball just around the post.
Moments later, Town midfielder Neil Danns looked set to score against his former employers with a fierce drive from just inside the 18-yard box, however Speroni was equal to his effort.
Calum Woods teased Ashley Richards down the left flank and found Danns unmarked near the back of the area. The former-Palace midfielder volleyed into the ground; however his effort was saved by Speroni in between the sticks.
Oliver Norwood almost opened the scoring in a bizarre fashion. His corner from the left deceived everyone – including Speroni, but narrowly went wide of the far post.
The leading Championship goal scorer Glenn Murray found few chances in the first half, with his first effort coming just before the break. However, fortunately for Town the ball ended high into the John Smith’s Stand.
Just before half time, Andre Moritz found a gap in the Town wall from a free kick, but Smithies saw his effort early and had no trouble in saving the attempt.
Both sides enjoyed possession in the second half, but were unable to find a way past either goalkeeper.
Jacob Butterfield picked up a loose ball just before the hour mark and his left-footed strike was just wide of Smithies' post and hit the side-netting.
Wifried Zaha found few chances to score past Smithies and the little possession that he had throughout the match was easily dealt with by Town’s defenders.
Norwegian defender Jonathan Parr found Butterfield with a great cross early in the second half, but Smithies produced a brilliant stop to keep the scores level.
Town’s last win over Palace came in 1999, and that looked set to change when James Vaughan put the Terriers in front. Clayton’s great through-ball found the on-loan Norwich City striker with just Speroni to beat for his first goal in 10 matches.
Ian Holloway made a double substitution with a quarter of an hour remaining, but the extra strike-force was unable to break-down the solid Town back four.
Zaha and Yannick Bolasie both had more of the ball in the second half, but the Town defence handled everything that was thrown at them.
Sean Scannell replaced Oliver Norwood with just over 10 minutes remaining, and had an effort on target just moments after his arrival. However his effort was tame and easily saved by Speroni.
Town suffered a scare in the dying moments as Palace converged on Smithies’ goal, but the ‘keeper did well to push away the danger.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Calum Woods, Peter Clarke (C), Anthony Gerrard, Jack Hunt; Oliver Norwood (Sean Scannell, 77), Scott Arfield, Neil Danns, Adam Clayton; Lee Novak, James Vaughan (Jermaine Beckford, 86) (Alan Lee, 90+3)
Ian Bennett, Murray Wallace, Paul Dixon, Jordan Sinnott
Bookings Town: Norwood 24, Vaughan 54
Bookings Palace: Delaney 79