Stead on his winner in the West Yorkshire derby
Jon Stead was delighted that his first goal back at Huddersfield Town secured a welcome three points against local rivals Leeds United this afternoon.
Town haven’t secured the points their performances have deserved in recent weeks, but today they were well worth the three points that came via Stead’s 77th minute strike.
“On the back of two defeats, it was huge to get the three points and we’ve achieved that today. Getting those points was crucial,” Jon told htafc.com.
“Obviously I’m personally delighted to get my first goal back at the Club; it couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I was still a bit disappointed at the time as I should have done better with the one on one earlier. As a striker you rue the missed chances and pray that another chance will fall your way, so when the ball came into me my touch was good and I managed to produce a spin and finish like the Jon Stead of old!
“I know the ball went across the goalkeeper and into the far corner – and I’m not really sure what happened after that! I had half my family up in the stand and I went to them, which was the side I used to celebrate at – instinct took over there!”
Stead was embroiled in a physical battle up against Leeds’ three centre halves all afternoon, but explained that he relished the challenge on his first start in six games.
“It was physical at times, but as a lone striker you have to hold the ball up. I think I did that well in the first-half.
“We were probably a little more direct than we have been in recent weeks today, but we had to counteract how Leeds played – they lumped it and showed no desire to play other than an effective ball to Matt Smith, who is a big old unit and an extremely difficult player to play against. He stung us in the first couple of minutes, but our reaction to that goal was fantastic.
“The fans want to see the players show a little bit of pride and passion for the Club and put a shift in. You couldn’t deny that we did that today. We had two setbacks during the game – their opener and the equaliser – but we went onto win. We’re delighted.”
Since returning to his hometown club from Bristol City in the summer, Jon has waited in the wings for his chance due to the form of one particular teammate – something he fully understands.
He continued: “Vaughany has been on fire and I know I have been brought to the Club to play when I’m needed. That won’t be every game – my body might not even let me play every game – but I have to be ready at all times.
“Today we were missing Vaughany and I had to make sure I was ready to step in. I worked hard for the Club, like I always do, and I wanted to take my chance. Hopefully I have done that today with my goal and I can go from strength to strength. There are still a couple of games before Vaughany returns, so I might get another chance!”
As well as his performances on the field, Jon explained that he views his role in nurturing Town’s talented youngsters day in, day out as equally important – a particularly poignant statement on the afternoon of Duane Holmes’ full debut.
“I’ve got to show that I can help the inexperienced lads on. Inexperience can sometimes ruin things and although we have some very bright players, they sometimes need a little nudge in the right direction.
“Duane was fantastic today and shouldn’t be disappointed that he was taken off at half-time; that was nothing to do with the way he played. As a young lad you have to introduce him bit by bit and make sure he doesn’t get caught up in the whirlwind. It’s up to players like me and Peter Clarke to help him.”