Novak brace earns Town a point
Lee Novak’s first home goals of the season earned Town a point against Blackburn on Tuesday evening, with his second coming off virtually the last kick of the game!
Town went ahead when Novak prodded home Oliver Norwood’s free-kick mid-way through the first-half, but they found themselves level at half-time after Rhodes had finished smartly from the angle.
A contentious decision against Joel Lynch at the start of the second-half handed Danny Murphy the chance to convert from the spot. Town’s chance to score an equaliser looked to be up, but with virtually the last kick of the game Novak stole in to earn Town a point.
Simon Grayson named an unchanged 18 for the visit of Blackburn Rovers after both James Vaughan and Jermaine Beckford had failed to recover from respective knocks.
As a result, Lee Novak continued to lead the line on his own supported by Adam Clayton, Adam Hammill and Saturday’s goalscorer Sean Scannell.
Henning Berg’s men started the brighter of the two teams and had forced the first corner of the game within a minute of the start when Ruben Rochina forced Alex Smithies to parry over his long range drive.
Scott Dann hit wide the resulting corner before Rochina tried again from range, this time Peter Clarke provided the block.
It was looking pretty ominous for Town when the visitors went close again through Rochina’s fellow attacker Mauro Formica, but all that changed in the 15th minute. Sean Scannell, Town’s match winner on the weekend, created the opportunity by forcing Dann to drag him to the ground in a dangerous position. Ollie Norwood then provided the delivery for Lee Novak to prod home after Blackburn had failed to clear their lines.
Rochina, who was playing just off Jordan Rhodes, was seeing a lot of the ball for Rovers and forced Smithies into a fine save low down just after the Terriers’ opener, with a low curling effort.
As the half drew to a close, the Blackburn pressure began to mount with both Rochina and winger Markus Olsson trying their luck from range. The pressure eventually told in the 43rd minute when Jordan Rhodes rolled his marker in the box to smash home Rochina’s chipped pass.
Rovers started the second 45 with a spring in their step following Rhodes’ equaliser and were soon ahead in the contest when Danny Murphy converted from the spot in the 54th minute. Joel Lynch was harshly deemed the guilty party after tackling Markus Olsson as the Swede raced towards Smithies’ goal.
The introduction of Alan Lee and Danny Ward sparked life in the Terriers on the hour mark with the latter forcing Martin Olsson into a superb last ditched tackle after collecting Lynch’s long raking pass.
Rovers’ were impressive in defence though and were forcing Town to just long range efforts. Grant Hanley blocked Clayton’s first effort in the 68th minute before the midfielder drove over two minutes later, as Town’s task grew ever harder.
Danny Ward hit the side netting from 20 yards, Scannell went close with a diving header and Alan Lee forced Paul Robinson into a full length save; but for all the Terriers tried it looked like there was no way past the resolute Rovers defence.
However, in the dying moments, a long, hopeful ball into box found its way to Novak and at the second attempt he stabbed it past Robinson to earn the Terriers a deserved point.
Town’s team (4-5-1):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Joel Lynch, Peter Clarke (c), Calum Woods; Adam Hammill (Danny Ward, 59), Oliver Norwood (Alan Lee, 59), Adam Clayton, Keith Southern, Sean Scannell; Lee Novak
Ian Bennett, Anthony Gerrard, Murray Wallace, Scott Arfield, Anton Robinson
Bookings Town: Lee Novak, 11; Joel Lynch, 54; Adam Clayton, 69;
Bookings Blackburn: Scott Dann, 15;