Huddersfield Town verdict from Chesterfield
WINS are what Huddersfield Town manager Simon Grayson has ordered and a victory is what he got at the b2net Stadium.
But more important was the manner in which his side went about securing their success and three points that keep them hot on the heels of the Sheffield duo ahead of them in the League I standings.
This was a performance of great pragmatism, with the defence well led by skipper Peter Clarke, and it was from that position of strength Town could build going forward.
When they hit their purple patches in front of a travelling contingent of 1,724, wingers Gary Roberts and Danny Ward were inventive and strikers Lee Novak and Jordan Rhodes prospered accordingly.
Town boss Simon Grayson made one change in defence to his starting line up from the Colchester match as Tom Clarke replaced Calum Woods, who didn’t travel due to picking up an injury in training, and made his 100th appearance for Town.
Also reaching a landmark was Jack Hunt, welcomed back by the Chesterfield fans after his loan spell at the club last term, who was making his 50th start for Town.
The home side, no doubt excited by all the announcements regarding their Sunday trip to Wembley for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final against Swindon, made a bright start without creating a clear-cut chance.
However, as the pattern of play settled, Town began to exert more pressure and forced a series of three corners, though the closest they came was when Jordan Bowery managed to block one of Antony Kay’s deliveries into the box as the Town attackers closed in.
The home side then tested Alex Smithies in the Town goal with an Alex Mendy shot, forcing the keeper into two bites to clear up the danger, but on 23 minutes the visitors stamped their mark on the game.
A sharp build-up took Town through the Chesterfield midfield cover and, when the ball broke, striker Novak snapped up possession and adjusted smartly to fire his shot into the top corner of keeper Tommy Lee’s goal.
Chesterfield tried to respond quickly with James Hurst setting up Mendy, but Smithies was equal to his effort and on 27 minutes Town were two to the good after another incisive move.