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Superb comeback seals a draw

Town 2 - 2 Cardiff City. Kenny Irons and Chris Hay pulled the Terriers' fat out of the fire after it looked like the Bluebirds were going to earn an easy 3 points.

Chris Hay (looking lairy) 118
Chris Hay (looking lairy) 118

Town looked a much better side in the first half of this contest - they competed strongly against a Cardiff side who expected to roll them over with ease in front of a Town crowd boosted by 1,621 away fans.

Town themselves had an early chance through Delroy Facey who almost converted a cross from Leon Knight who had nicked the ball off Danny Gabbidon in the 8th minute and a few half chances from Knight, Irons, Thorrington.

The Terriers hassled the Bluebirds for much of the first half, restricting them to a couple of set pieces by Graham Kavanagh but a 34th minute Scott Young header, without any interference from any Town defenders, served as notice that Lennie Lawrence's men weren't going to take the battering for much longer.

A quick switch of tactics later and Cardiff were 1-0 up when Leo Fortune-West produced a lobbed cross from a throw-in and Peter Thorne was on hand to charge it down into Margetson's goal with his chest.

It might have been too much to expect the Terriers to keep up their tempo in the second half and they came out with a curiously lacklustre display which was soon punished when Thorne popped up again at the receiving end of a very simple long ball to finish across Margetson's body with a left footed strike.

2-0 down and Town were dreadful and showed signs of buckling under the Cardiff pressure.

Andy Booth had been brought on and he was putting himself about, with a tactical switch putting Leon Knight onto the right wing - a role which he increasingly made his own towards the end of the match as he linked well with Steve Jenkins.

The late surge started when Booth went into the penalty area to support Chris Hay who was the intended recipient of a cross from Steve Jenkins in the 78th minute.

The ball was coming down into melee of bodies and Booth lined himself up for a header before he was blatantly pushed by Spencer Prior - no question of a penalty!

Kenny Irons stepped up and coolly stroked the ball past Neil Alexander to bring a forlorn McAlpine crowd back to life.

Leon Knight urged the Kilner Bank to get behind the home side and they duly obliged for a 3 minute period during which Town themselves piled on the pressure and, with Knight at his mercurial best on the wing, won a corner from which Irons delivered a curling set piece which Chris Hay guided into the back of Alexander's net with a well timed header!

The McAlpine erupted after Hay's equaliser and, with chants of "You're not singing any more", the Terriers came forward with a purpose seeking a winner which had seemed highly unlikely just 10 minutes before.

The final few minutes were intense, with both sides looking for a winner, and Leon Knight and Steve Jenkins urged on by the home crowd at every opportunity, but a point was a fair result given the events of the match.

Read Mel Booth's match report in the Examiner on Wednesday. Have your say on the match and Town's play-off hopes in the messageboard below - please leave your full name and location and the Examiner will consider your letter for publication.


Town (4-4-2): Margetson, Jenkins, Gray, Clarke, G Evans, Thorrington (Booth 55), Heary, Irons, Hay, Knight, Facey
Subs not used: P Evans, Ifil, Moses, Delaney
Booked: Booth
Scorers: Irons pen 78, Hay 81

Cardiff City (4-3-3): Alexander, Weston, Gabbidon (Croft 69), Young, Prior, Bonner, Boland, Kavanagh, Fortune-West, Earnshaw (Maxwell 78), Thorne
Subs not used: Brayson, Bowen, Bywater
Booked: Weston, Prior
Scorer: Thorne 39, 61

Referee: Graham Laws (Whitley Bay)

Attendance: 11,660 (1,621 Away)

Match points follow on subsequent pages.


92 mins: Knight's run, turn and pass released Irons and Facey's header struck a defender. Chris Hay forced a save out of Alexander.

91 mins: Jenkins cleared with Fortune-West lurking.

90 mins: The game was on a knife edge as Cardiff attacked with 4 minutes of added time announced.

88 mins: The ball could have gone anywhere in the chaos as Town attacked relentlessly. The crowd urged Leon Knight and Steve Jenkins to continue their prolific attacking.

87 mins: Thorne almost won the ball cleanly from Clarke who had let up in his chase for the loose ball.

86 mins: Knight's cross was plucked out of the air by Alexander with Facey already airborne and waiting to convert the cross!

84 mins: Thorne was pulled up for tugging Clarke's shirt. 'You're not singing any more' was the chant from the crowd who were now waiting for a winner from Town!

82 mins: Fans of both sides invaded the pitch as bedlam broke loose!

81 mins: Chris Hay guided Irons' sweetly struck corner into the back of the Bluebird's net with a little help from Kevin Gray!!!

80 mins: Town piled forward and Knight won a corner during a twisting run - the home crowd picked up again!

78 mins: Irons coolly slotted home a right footed penalty to send the game into an intense finale. Leon Knight urged the Kilner Bank to raise their voices as Town went for it. Maxwell replaced the injured Earnshaw as Lennie Lawrence took no chances.

77 mins: Jenkins crossed for Hay and, in the City area melee, Andy Booth was blatantly pushed by Spencer Prior as the big striker went for the ball. Prior was booked and Kenny Irons stepped up.

75 mins: Clarke and Gray held firm under intense pressure as they tried to counter. Knight crossed for Facey who could only nod the ball straight at Alexander with the faintest of touches. Heary was booked for a clumsy challenge.

72 mins: The travelling fans were chanting, urging their players on as they laid siege to Town's area.

69 mins: Knight's cross was headed away by Prior with Andy Booth climbing on Croft - an incident for which he was penalised.

68 mins: Gabbidon was laid out in his own penalty area and need to be taken off. Gary Croft replaced the limping Gabbidon.

66 mins: Jenkins surged down the byline after being put through by Knigth and crossed for Andy Booth but the big striker blasted high!

65 mins: Weston's long ball was repelled by Clarke and Hay. Town were in disarray.

63 mins: Town were shellshocked and were struggling to match Cardiff who turned on the style through Kavanagh who was orchestrating things in midfield and making Kenny Irons look very poor.

61 mins: Peter Thorne beat Margetson with a left footed strike across the Welshman's body for his second Bluebirds goal after he latched onto a long ball.

60 mins: Facey's flicked header from a super cross by Leon Knight was too wide.

59 mins: Clarke worked hard to clear tha danger for a corner after Cardiff switched to a long ball game to disturb the Terriers.

58 mins: Earnshaw was offside after a through ball from Boland was mistimed.

57 mins: Town put the ball out of play as they lost their way in the second half.

55 mins: Facey was disgusted with himself as he miscontrolled the ball and watched it go out of play. John Thorrington was taken off to accomodate Andy Booth - Leon Knight took up position on the right flank but was waved forward by Lou Macari.

54 mins: Kevin Gray was struggling unde an injury minutes earlier - Andy Booth was getting warmed up as the Terriers looked to change things.

53 mins: Clarke was lucky to avoid being penalised for a foul on Earnshaw. Town were poor in the second half.

52 mins: Thorrington ran at the defenders and waited for support to arrive. Facey took the ball but slipped and Young tried to clear but Heary intercepted.

49 mins: Knight's shot sailed high.

48 mins: Fortune-West clattered into Clarke after the ball had long gone. Town were being pinned back again.

47 mins: A free kick for the Bluebirds saw Scott Young blown offside during a frenetic opening minute.


An evenly matched game saw Town work hard to match Cardiff but they went behind to a lobbed goal from Leo Fortune-West against the run of play.

47 mins: Fortune-West tackled Thorrington as Town tried to find a 1st half equaliser but the Terriers were crowded out.

46 mins: 2 minutes of added time were indicated.

44 mins: Boland beat Chris Hay as Cardiff finished the half strongly.

43 mins: Weston's cross was beyond Bonner as Cardiff counter-attacked.

42 mins: Clarke's shot rebounded off a defender and was cleared.

41 mins: Town were not deflated and, spurred on by the home fans, tried to get back into the game. Facey's cross was beyond Knight but they won a corner after it was put out.

39 mins: Leo Fortune-West crossed from a throw-in and Peter Thorne was on hand to chest the goalbound ball into the back of the net past a despairing Martyn Margetson. The goal was completely against the run of play.

38 mins: Thorrington swapped passes with Facey and crossed into the area but Clarke was caught offside returning to his position from the previous attack.

37 mins: A great run by Jenkins saw him cruise into the area and Thorrington's teasing cross was only just intercepted by Prior.

36 mins: Fortune-West combined with Bonner but Nathan Clarke was alert and cleared to Heary who tried to start another counter-attack.

34 mins: Scott Young was unmarked as he headed a corner over the bar! Delroy Facey should have been marking.

32 mins: Town were still pressuring in a high tempo game and Cardiff had little in answer but for free kicks. Another by Kavanagh was easy for Margetson.

30 mins: Hay and Heary combined with Jenkins to pressurise the midfield but Hay lost the ball. Heary left an elbow in on a challenge with Mark Bonner.

28 mins: Knight rolled around on the floor after running into Gabbidon - it looked like a genuine accident. The referee dismissed claims for a free kick and the Cardiff players took flak from their own fans for tapping the ball out of play.

26 mins: Leo Fortune-West's cross/shot skidded well clear.

24 mins: Knight piled on the pressure and almost forced a mistake from the Bluebirds defence. The Terriers' workrate was massive and they were making their visitors struggle in front of a crowd populated with many scouts.

22 mins: Facey and Knight combined but Facey's cross was wayward with Hay coming into the area.

20 mins: Boland and Gabbidon combined to beat Irons and Thorrington but Heary intercepted and sparked a counter-attack.

18 mins: Clarke beat Fortune-West and released Hay who went upfield with support from Hay and Thorrington. Irons went past Boland but Gabbidon got in the way.

16 mins: Kavanagh's strike hit the wall, to the audible relief of the home crowd. Thomas Heary cleared.

15 mins: Earnshaw was clear but was tripped by Jenkins in a dangerous position.

14 mins: Thorrington took on Kavanagh and was checked by Kavanagh before the ball dribbled out of play.

13 mins: A flicked header by Gray took a deflection and went for a corner from Irons' free kick.

12 mins: Hay rounded Kavanagh but was fouled by Weston with Town players surging forward for the cross.

11 mins: Jenkins' cross was charged down by Gabbidon. Earnshaw needlessly cleared the ball over the touchline.

10 mins: Evans' tackle was not enough - Earnshaw bore down on goal and Margetson lost the ball as it bounced and Town fortunately won the free kick for a foul on the Welsh 'keeper.

9 mins: Jenkins slid in a cleanly dispossessed Earnshaw for the corner - Cardiff were piling the pressure on.

8 mins: Knight nicked the ball off Gabbidon and improvised a superb cross for Facey who narrowly missed his early shot under pressure from Prior!

7 mins: Hay's pot shot was always going wide from the narrow angle.

6 mins: Hay's long, accurate cross for Facey was cheered by the home fans.

4 mins: Weston deflected Hay's rasping effort after Jenkins' cross fell nicely for Leon Knight who served the ball up for the Scot under pressure.

3 mins: Gabbidon conceded a throw-in after Thorrington drew him into the tackle during a run.

2 mins: Thorrington's superb run behind his marker was finished with a poor cross.

2 mins: An electric atmosphere was developing, with loud chants on both sides.

1 min: Thorrington was penalised for an accidental foul on Boland. Kavanagh's dangerous free kick was poor and went straight into Margetson's arms.

Kevin Keegan was a surprise spectator at this crucial match.

Lou Macari was forced into a couple of changes due to injuries sustained by Danny Schofield and Dwayne Mattis. Chris Hay and Thomas Heary came in as expected, with loan stars Damien Delaney and Jerel Ifil on the bench, and Town lined up against a Cardiff side who deployed 3 strikers in a definate bid to secure a play-off place.

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