Rhodes opens account as Town continue Championship preparations
Jordan Rhodes opened his pre-season account with a typically well placed header to cancel out Lee Johnson’s early opener as Town drew their second pre-season match against Kilmarnock.
Jack Hunt, who was struggling with a hamstring strain, was the only senior first team player missing from the team that started Town’s pre-season account against Guiseley; however, new signing Joel Lynch was named among the substitutes.
Town, wearing their change strip of navy blue and white for the first time of the season, started the game on the back-foot and almost fell behind in the second minute when Matthew Kennedy intercepted Calum Woods’ poor pass and blasted over from an acute angle.
Scotsmen Kennedy was in the action again in the sixth minute when he collected a cross field pass and powered a shot just wide of the diving Alex Smithies goal.
Town’s midfield trio of Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood and Oscar Gobern linked up nicely during the opening period of the game and it was there neat one touch football which won the Terriers their first corner of the game in the ninth minute. From the resulting set-piece Norwood curled an effort from the edge of the area, which forced Cameron Bell into his first save of the game.
After a slow start Town began to get a grip of the game and had Bell scrambling across his goal on eleven minutes when Sean Scannell skipped past two Killie defenders before firing a low shot just wide. Bell was called into action again minutes later when he smothered Rhodes’ effort after more good work from Town’s trio of midfielders.
Despite the Terriers dominant period of possession it was the home side that opened the scoring twenty minutes in when Jeroen Tesselaar picked up on a loose pass and crossed precisely for Lee Johnson who neatly side volleyed home past a diving Alex Smithies.
Kilmarnock buoyed by their opener, pressed for a second and went close twice within three minutes when Kennedy’s goal bound effort was superbly headed away by the diving Murray Wallace before Rory McKenzie saw his low shot from eight yards blocked by the legs of Smithies.
However, Grayson’s men deservedly levelled matters with half-time approaching when Dixon, who had got forward well throughout the half, created room to cross and found the head of Jordan Rhodes, who made no mistake from ten yards to open his and Town’s pre-season account.
Town, who made nine changes during the half time interval, continued to impress on the ball and sliced the Killie defence open on the hour mark when former Falkirk players Kallum Higginbotham and Wallace linked up to release the onrushing Anton Robinson through the middle. The midfielder, who had timed his run perfectly, thought he was clear, but was ruefully hauled to the ground by Manuel Pascali. Luckily for the Italian referee O’Reilly was feeling lenient and chose not to show a card.
The Terriers latest acquisition, Joel Lynch, made his first appearance for the Yorkshire Club in the 66th minute replacing Wallace, who had impressed again after his positive debut against Guiseley.
Town continued to press and harry as the half wore on and went close to taking the advantage twice when Antony Kay flashed a Ward cross just wide with his head and then moments later, after a sweeping move involving Higginbotham and Chris Aktinson, Spencer fired straight at Bell from eight yards out.
The Terriers finished the game on the front foot and fully justified the 1-1 score line at the full-time whistle after a hard working performance.
FULL TIME – Kilmarnock 1 (Lee Johnson, 20) 1 Huddersfield Town (Jordan Rhodes, 38)
Town’s team – first half (4-3-3):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Peter Clarke (c), Murray Wallace, Calum Woods; Adam Clayton, Oscar Gobern, Oliver Norwood; Sean Sc annell, Jordan Rhodes, Lee Novak
Town’s team – second half (4-3-3):
Ian Bennett; Liam Ridehalgh, Antony Kay, Murray Wallace (Joel Lynch, 67), Tom Clarke; Anton Robinson, Chris Atkinson, Oliver Norwood (Jimmy Spencer, 67); Danny Ward, Alan Lee, Kallum Higginbotham