Jon Stead nets winner in derby
Jonathan Stead picked the perfect time to open his goal scoring account since re-joining the Terriers with the winner in the West Yorkshire derby.
The tall striker netted with just ten minutes of the game left to settle a pulsating derby.
United went in front with just a minute of the game played through Matt Smith, but Town responded in the tenth via Danny Ward. A Tom Lees own goal and a Dexter Blackstock debut header made the game 2-2 before Stead popped up with the winner to end Town’s winless streak.
Duane Holmes was handed his first start of his professional career by Mark Robins, as Town’s Manager made four changes for the visit of Leeds United.
The 18 year-old was joined by Keith Southern, Jazz Richards and Jon Stead in the starting line-up as the Terriers looked to bounce back from successive defeats.
For the Whites, new signing Dexter Blackstock was amongst the substitutes as Brian McDermott named an unchanged eleven.
United forward Matt Smith was handed his first start of the season last week by McDermott and repaid his manager with a brace – a trend that continued with just 80 seconds of this match gone.
The former Oldham man had already tested Alex Smithies with a downward header and from the resulting corner he leapt above his marker to nod home the opener.
However, just like Town’s lead last season didn’t last long, neither did Leeds’ this time around.
A well worked Adam Hammill corner in the tenth minute created room for former Leeds youngster Danny Ward on the edge of the box, who took aim and fired home a venomous shot past Paddy Kenny.
Holmes and Ross McCormack exchanged tame efforts as the frantic pace of the match began to subside.
6’6” Smith was providing Leeds’ only real goal threat during the first 45 and he headed over on the half hour mark from a Jason Pearce free-kick. Town were beginning to get on top, though, and Kenny was called to make his first save of the game from Hammill, after the winger had cut inside Stephen Warnock.
Pearce then produced a brilliant block to deny the diminutive Holmes before Ward brought an end to the half with a shot that went wide of Kenny’s goal.
Both sides exchanged efforts during a quiet opening 15 minutes to a second half which exploded into life on the hour mark.
It was the away team who should have gone ahead, but Town who eventually did. Leeds’ best move of the game resulted in Captain Rudy Austin cutting a ball back from the by-line, which fellow midfielder Luke Murphy put wide from eight yards.
Austin then had an effort blocked after good play from Mowatt and then McCormark, as the Whites looked like the team who would go ahead.
It wasn’t to be, though, although it was a Leeds player who netted. The unfortunate victim was Tom Lees who flicked home Hammill’s in swinging cross to the delight of the Town faithful.
Moments later, Lees was at fault again as he played Jon Stead onside to race onto Jonathan Hogg’s through ball, but luckily for the defender the striker couldn’t find the target after rounding Kenny.
And Leeds made Town pay for the miss in the 73rd minute when, with his first touch of the ball in United colours, Dexter Blackstock flicked home Mowatt’s corner to level the match.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring, though, as the game took another twist in Town’s favour. Sean Scannell, who almost made the difference as a substitute at Leicester last weekend, showed unbelievable pace and skill to cut inside Pearce and square the ball to Stead, who turned and shot to fire the Terriers back into the lead with his first goal of the season.
Matt Smith almost had the last say in the game, but his back post header somehow stayed out of Smithies’ goal.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Joel Lynch, Peter Clarke (c), Jazz Richards (Calum Woods, 72); Jonathan Hogg, Keith Southern; Danny Ward, Duane Holmes (Sean Scannell, 46), Adam Hammill (Oscar Gobern, 79); Jon Stead
Ian Bennett, Murray Wallace, Oliver Norwood, Daniel Carr
Bookings Town: Peter Clarke 90
Bookings Leeds: Luke Murphy 23, Stephen Warnock 45