Paterson nets first goal in opening pre-season victory
Town: Martin Paterson (87)
Martin Paterson scored his first goal in Huddersfield Town colours in the closing stages of the game to give the Terriers their first win of the 2013/14 pre-season at League 1 Rotherham United.
Mark Robins’ side played some neat passing football throughout the 90 minutes, but couldn’t break down the Millers – previously unbeaten in pre-season having defeated Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday night – until the final three minutes when substitute Adam Hammill did brilliantly to hand Paterson his first Town goal.
Mark Robins’ ethos of patient passing through midfield continued on the plush playing surface of the New York Stadium, with Clayton and Norwood coming to collect the ball off ‘keeper Alex Smithies at every opportunity.
On the other hand Rotherham had a more direct, but equally effective, approach, with target man Alex Revell key to their play. They also had early success down their left with former Town man Joe Skarz escaping Clayton’s attentions and Revell should have done better from his seventh minute cross; leaning back and firing over from around the penalty area.
Town’s first opportunity came barely a minute later when Sean Scannell skipped powerfully past the challenges of Worrall and Bradley down the left, but his outside of the boot cross towards James Vaughan was too long.
Scannell was back in the action four minutes later, picking out Ward with a square pass after being found by Clayton; Ward’s volley from the edge of the box was pushed away by goalie Adam Collin – and Vaughan should have done better with the follow-up, blasting high and wide.
Town continued to press, with the lively Ward – who was in a central role - playing a neat one-two with Clayton to race clear down the left. His low cross found Vaughan’s feet with his back to goal, but rather than squaring back to Clayton he tried to send an overhead kick towards goal and skied his effort.
At the other end Smithies routinely pushed a shot from midfielder Michael Tidser around his right-hand post before bailing out Oliver Norwood in the 19th minute – sliding in to deny a striker from latching onto his weak back-pass.
A minute later Vaughan had the ball in the net after deflecting Clayton’s long-range free-kick into the net – but he was flagged offside.
Young midfielder Jordan Sinnott was growing into the game and it was his creativity that almost unlocked Rotherham midway through the half. His pass into Vaughan’s feet after a patient passage of play gave the striker chance to shoot, but his low drive whistled wide.
Hunt volleyed ambitiously volleyed over from a deflected Ward cross before Rotherham countered, with right back Bradley heading another Skarz cross wide of target.
Sinnott was at it again after the half-hour mark, fooling the entire Rotherham defence with a disguised reverse pass into Vaughan’s feet. Vaughan was running clear, but his initial touch let him down and gave Collin the chance to claim – with the ensuing collision forcing Town physio James Haycock into action.
Peter Clarke was making his first start of pre-season after summer knee surgery and looked sharp – never more so than in intercepting Kieran Agard’s low cross at the near post when Robert Milsom looked to turn the ball home in the 37th minute.
Sinnott had the first shot of note in the second-half as the hour mark approached, dragging the ball wide of the near post from the edge of the box after a neat turn. However, the better option may have been a square pass to Clayton – who was free on the right edge of the area.
Whilst trying to move the ball through the middle, Town were also on the look-out for diagonal balls into Vaughan’s path when the home defence pushed up and one almost paid dividends in the 65th minute. Clayton picked out Vaughan’s arcing run off Kari Arnason, but substitute ‘keeper Shearer made a good save from the eventual left-footed volley.
Minutes later Scannell sent the marauding Hunt away down the right, but the full-back’s low cross was behind the Town players in the area and the chance was gone.
Town boss Robins rang the changes with 20 minutes left and substitute Martin Paterson was straight into the action, finding space to run onto Hunt’s pass down the right and sending an excellent cross into the area – where it looked like Vaughan was dumped on the floor by a centre half. However, referee Mr Pawson didn’t seem interested.
Vaughan tried his luck from a long range 72nd minute free kick after substitute Hylton flattened Norwood, but his shot wasn’t cleanly struck and never troubled the custodian.
Town were making all the chances by this stage of the game and Clayton was the next to try his luck, although his shot after collecting a neat inside ball from Sinnott was poor and tricked well wide.
Rotherham’s best chance of the second half came via an 85th minute corner, but centre back Arnason headed poorly wide from Ben Pringle’s deep delivery.
The goal finally came with three minutes left, via some excellent trickery from Adam Hammill. The winger collected a throw-in on the Town left and used his quick feet to squeeze past two players on the dead ball line before entering the area and passing back to Paterson, who calmly slotted home past the goalkeeper from eight yards out.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon (Jake Carroll 69), Joel Lynch (Tom Smith 88), Peter Clarke (c) (Murray Wallace 69), Jack Hunt; Oliver Norwood, Jordan Sinnott (Kallum Higginbotham 78); Sean Scannell (Adam Hammill 69), Danny Ward (Martin Paterson 69), Adam Clayton (Matt Crooks 88); James Vaughan (Daniel Carr 88)
Ian Bennett, Liam Ridehalgh