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Jun 012012
 

The
first 120 minutes were a tight and dull affair with the weather playing a major
part of the game. It was a sun kissed afternoon in the capital with the
retractable roof open and temperatures hit 25c on the pitch, the players had to
take regular breaks for fluids.

Huddersfield
keeper Alex Smithies had a few scary moments in the first half rushing for
crosses and not be able to collect the ball, but his confidence grew a lot
better longer the game went on and he should his class later on in the shoot
out.

Opening
minutes of the second half, Danny Ward the Huddersfield winger closest with a
rasping shot from outside of the area which crashed against the crossbar.  Sheffield United then had a double
chance to take the lead late on in the 90 minutes. Stephen Quinn had an angle
drive that went the wrong side of the upright. Then a nice one two between Matt
Lowton and Richard Cresswell and Richard Cresswell fired wide from outside of
the area.

With
just thirteen minutes remaining Simon Grayson brought on Gary Roberts who
changed the game immediately. Minutes since he arrived on the pitch
Huddersfield had a treble chance to take the lead. Danny Ward’s corner was
headed powerfully by Peter Clarke, but brilliantly saved by Steve Simmonsen.
The rebound fell to Tommy Miller whose effort was blocked of the line by
Sheffield United defence. Moments later a cross in from the left by Lee Novak
found Jordan Rhodes and his header went agonisingly wide of the upright.

The
match went in to extra time and with the hot temperatures in the ground the
game was played still at a high tempo. Stephen Quinn had the only opportunity
in the first half of extra time when the tricky winger went on a bit of a mazy
run and his low effort was tipped away for a corner by Alex Smithies. So it was
0-0 at the end of the first half of extra time.

It
was Huddersfield time to have the chances in the second half of extra time;
first Alan Lee who was found by Gary Roberts had his angle snap shot
brilliantly saved by Steve Simonsen. But Huddersfield thought they had won it
with eight minutes to go when Peter Clarke headed across goal to Jordan Rhodes
but the Scottish striker had his effort cleared of the line. The match went
into penalties.

The
penalties were taken at the Huddersfield end, Tommy Miller had his spot kick
saved by Steve Simonsen, Lee Williamson had his penalty saved by Alex Smithies.
The opening penalties were missed, Damien Johnson then fired his penalty wide
of the post. Neil Collins then opened the scoring after 4 penalties it was
advantage Sheffield United. Alan lee had a weak penalty saved by Simonsen, so
Huddersfield missed their first three penalties. Amazingly Matt Lowton missed
his penalty kick, which was saved by Smithies. Peter Clarke then slotted his
penalty into the back of the net sending Simonsen the wrong way. Andy Taylor
was brought on in extra time to take a penalty then hit the post from twelve
yards. That ended the run of missed penalty kicks as, Scott Arfield, Chris
Porter, Jordan Rhodes, Stephen Quinn, Gary Roberts, Harry Maguire, Callum
Woods, Michael Doyle, Jack Hunt, Michael O’Halloran, Sean Morrison, Matt Hill
all scored. It was in sudden death of sudden death, down to the goalkeepers, and
Alex Smithies converted his spot kick just. It was down to Steve Simonsen to
keep the contest alive but he blazed his spot kick over the bar.

That
sent the blue half of the ground into celebration and after last season
heartbreak at Old Trafford against Peterborough; Huddersfield will be playing
their football in the Championship. For Sheffield United they will need to
reflect on what could have been and will have to wait until next season for
their chance to get out of league one and to gain promotion for the
Championship.

 

GFT Editor

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