|Huddersfield Town 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 23rd February 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Huddersfield 0-0 Town
Saturday, 23rd Feb 2013 17:04
Town and Huddersfield shared the points from a scrappy and scruffy 0-0 draw at the John Smith’s Stadium. The Terriers had the game’s two significant chances with Lee Novak shooting wide when well placed in the first half, then after the break Stephen Henderson blocked from the striker and then the rebound from midfielder Neil Danns.
Blues boss Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side and bench – with Manchester United’s Reece Brown set to join on loan in the next few days - for Town’s first visit to the John Smith’s Stadium since the 1999/00 promotion season.
Terriers boss Mark Robins, a former Canary, made four changes having conceded 10 goals in his first two games in charge. Ex-Blues Alan Lee and Nick Colgan were left out of the 18.
With Town wearing last year’s black away kit, the game started cagily but in the sixth minute David McGoldrick’s flicked header put strike partner Michael Chopra through on goal. However, with the linesman flag raised in any case, the Town frontman shot wide.
On eight, Adam Clayton’s freekick on the left was half-cleared to Scott Arfield, whose strike from the edge of the box was deflected over by Richard Stearman.
Clayton shot wide on 12 with the home side marginally on top in a scrappy opening spell with the pitch already looking like a park surface.
On-loan Norwich man James Vaughan weakly headed to Stephen Henderson in the 20th minute with the home side still having more of what had been a somewhat uninspiring game yet to really get going, particularly in Town’s case.
Terriers keeper Alex Smithies eventually dealt with an awkward looking ball over the top that McGoldrick chased, the uneven surface having threatening to cause him a problem.
The home side continued to present the greater threat and on the half hour Luke Chambers’s clearance from a corner from the left only reached Arfield, whose shot was blocked by McGoldrick.
There was a scare for the Blues on 35 when Novak was played in behind Town’s backline by Clayton but he scraped his shot well wide. The Blues players appeared to have a very valid claim that Luke Hyam was fouled when Huddersfield had regained possession midway inside their half.
A 39th minute Town corner caused chaos in the Huddersfield box but with Chambers and then Stearman both unable to get in shots at goal. The ball ran to Hyam, whose strike was blocked by the diving Peter Clarke.
After Smithies had almost gifted the ball to Chopra at one end, dropping it before claiming at the second attempt, Henderson confidently held on to a Vaughan strike from distance as the half moved into injury time.
Seconds before the whistle, Henderson punched a Clayton cross from the left but only found Arfield, whose strike was superbly blocked by Hyam.
It had been a scruffy half typical of most of Town’s recent matches, perhaps even more so. The home side had had most of the ball on a difficult surface to play football and in Novak’s opportunity had had the best chance of the game. Town had threatened little and had created almost nothing.
The second half began in much the same manner as the first had ended. On 49 Chopra sent Edwards away down the right but the Blues’ skipper was let down by the surface and his cross flew behind.
Huddersfield had their second decent chance of the afternoon in the 50th minute when Novak was sent through one on one with Henderson. The Irishman did well to block and then again when well out of his goal stood firm after the loose ball fell to Danns.
The game was becoming more open with both sides starting to look more capable of creating opportunities. On 56 Novak looked certain to score after taking down Vaughan’s header inside the six-yard box, but only having fouled Murphy.
Three minutes later, Novak was swapped for returning former Terrier Theo Robinson, who joined on loan from Derby yesterday, the home fans giving the striker a warm reception.
Vaughan picked up the game’s first yellow card in the 62nd minute for needlessly clattering into keeper Henderson after the on-loan West Ham man had claimed the ball.
Sub Robinson should have put his side in front in the 72nd minute when a high ball was sent down the middle. The Derby loanee got behind the Town defence but initially air-kicked the bouncing ball and then failed to get it under control before Tommy Smith got back to put it behind.
Murphy, whose shirt had been torn around the collar soon after he came on, managed two shots in the 74th minute, the first striking a defender and the second failing to trouble Smithies.
On 79 Henderson failed to deal with a Jack Hunt cross from the right and fellow sub Sean Scannell stabbed wide. Given his position, the former Crystal Palace man would have done to have scored.
The busy Chopra, who had had little opportunity to add to last week’s goal against Blackpool, was replaced by Frank Nouble for the final six minutes.
Hunt shot straight at Henderson as the match entered its final two scheduled minutes with the home side looking the more likely to break the deadlock.
The fourth official’s board indicated four minutes of additional time as Clarke got in ahead of Nouble after Edwards sent in a low cross from the right.
Not long before the whistle, the Terriers thought they had the chance to win it when Vaughan nodded down to Robinson, but the linesman’s flag was raised and Henderson in any case saved.
Overall, it was an almost entirely forgettable Championship scrap with the second half marginally better than the first.
Huddersfield had the better chances, the double opportunity well-saved by Henderson the best after the break, while at the other end Smithies was never seriously tested.
Depriving one of their survival rivals of two points is probably as important to manager Mick McCarthy as gaining one with a tricky home game against Leicester up next.
Huddersfield: Smithies, Dixon, Gerrard, P Clarke (c), Woods, Gobern (Scannell 64), Danns, Arfield, Clayton (Hunt 75), Novak (Robinson 59), Vaughan. Unused: Bennett, Norwood, Lynch, Wallace.
Town: Henderson, Stearman, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (c), N'Daw, Hyam, Martin (Drury 78), Chopra (Nouble 84), McGoldrick (Murphy 54). Unused: Loach, Hewitt, Kisnorbo, Mclean. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral). Att: 13,083 (Town: 976).
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