Huddersfield Town ended the regular league one season with a comfortable victory over Yeovil Town, by two goals to nil, to send them into the play-off showdown with MK Dons full of confidence.
The Terriers rested star striker Jordan Rhodes and went with an unchanged line-up from the away draw at Walsall after Damien Johnson, Calum Woods, Danny Ward & Lee Novak all recovered from slight injuries to feature.
That meant that Kallum Higginbotham continued up-front with Lee Novak and a chance to impress the home crowd once again.
Yeovil started the game well and Damien Johnson picked up an early booking in the third minute as he ‘took one for the team’ after Yeovil dangerman Andrew Williams looked to be on the way to open the scoring.
From that moment on Town took control of the game and Yeovil periodically threatened on the break, however it took until the 45th minute to break Yeovil’s stubborn defence.
Lee Novak was the man to give The Terriers the lead, his third goal in three games. The goal was created by Jack Hunt who had looked threatening all match from the right flank position, Hunt’s cross was glanced into the net from about 12 yards by Georgie Novak, much to the delight of Simon Grayson and the home support.
Higginbotham looked to double the Terriers lead in first half injury time but ‘keeper Walker pulled of a fantastic save to deny ‘Higgs’ his first Town goal.
HALF TIME – Huddersfield Town 1-0 Yeovil Town.
Yeovil came out of the blocks at the start of the second half and could have equalised after striker Andrew Williams had the besting of a trio of Town defenders but he couldn’t beat Ian Bennett in the Town goal who pulled off a fantastic left handed save.
Kieran Agard was the next to test the Town defence as he and Gavin Williams combined as the Town defence backed off, the former Everton man Agard sent his shot crashing narrowly wide of the right hand post.
This spell of pressure seemed to wake up the Huddersfield players as they went on the rampage, firstly through Jack Hunt who sailed a shot narrowly wide of Walker’s right hand post and then a Sean Morrison bullet header that was somehow scrambled off the line by Luke Ayling.
The Town faithful didn’t have to wait long for Danny Ward to have the next chance which saw him double our lead. Higginbotham set the former Bolton man scampering after the ball and Ward held of the challenge of a couple of Yeovil defenders as he slotted home confidently from 20 yards out low into the bottom corner.
Jordan Rhodes came on with 20 minutes to go to keep his legs fresh and other changes were also made with the play-offs in mind, Damien Johnson was replaced by Anton Robinson and Jack Hunt was replaced with Tom Clarke.
Danny Ward went close to a third goal for Town but ‘keeper Walker pulled off another fantastic save to deny Ward.
FULL TIME – Huddersfield Town 1-0 Yeovil Town.
Ian Bennett; Calum Woods, Peter Clarke (c), Sean Morrison, Jack Hunt (Tom Clarke 80); Danny Ward, Tommy Miller, Damien Johnson (Anton Robinson 74), Scott Arfield; Kallum Higginbotham, Lee Novak (Jordan Rhodes 74)
Unused Subs. Alex Smithies, Gary Roberts
Town Goals Lee Novak (45) & Danny Ward (72)
Peter Clarke (c)
Simon Grayson on injuries for the play-offs
‘I said before the game that I wasn’t too concerned about where we finished, all I was interested in was winning today and finishing on a good note,’
‘I am delighted that we have won the game, not too bothered by what happened at MK Dons, but obviously now we have got the second leg at home.
‘I thought we were good today, passed the ball around well with tempo and created some good opportunities. The players knew that the same group of players could be playing at Wembley in three week’s time and that they had an opportunity to stay in the team.’
Simon Grayson on Individual Performances
‘The players should be playing for their shirts and looking over their shoulders at the people sat on the bench. Today probably suited us because they played a narrow four man midfield, which allowed Jack Hunt to get forward and exploit that area of the pitch well. Danny Ward was very good and took his goal well. I feel the more Scott Arfield plays, the more comfortable he is becoming in midfield.
‘I have always rated Danny very highly and you can keep telling players how good they are, but they have to believe themselves. He has got undoubted talent and you could see after he got his goal that his confidence grew and he almost got another. There is a lot more to come from Danny.’
Simon Grayson on injuries for the play-offs
‘We won’t be too far away; Gary Naysmith is probably the only player who will miss out. Alan Lee has been in and out training over the past week so he should be back fit for next Saturday. There will be some disappointed players because I can only pick 16 for my team next week.’