Avon Calling - Leaders Huddersfield lose at Preston

Last updated : 17 January 2003 By Peter Heywood

Brian O'Neil - Preston debut
Leaders Huddersfield were in action first, away at Preston on Tuesday afternoon. The game was played at Deepdale and saw the début in North End’s colours of Scottish international defender Brian O’Neil, a player with a far more illustrious namesake. All the goals in the Lilywhites’ 2-1 win came in the first half: Brother Joe O’Neill maintained his recent fine scoring form with the first for the home side with Iain Anderson getting the second. Paul Macari pulled one back for the Terriers, in the process becoming one of the League’s joint leading scorers, but the points were never really in doubt for North End who remain well-positioned to challenge for the title.

Coach Billy Davies was full of praise for Brother Joe afterwards whose performances are beginning to attract attention. Both O’Neil(l)’s could make the first team squad for the away defeat at Ipswich tomorrow.

Town’s defeat left the door open for their other close rivals to gain ground, which without fail they all did. Second placed Barnsley forgot their off the field woes in thumping bottom club Bury 4-0 at Oakwell on Wednesday. Our old friend Adrian Littlejohn, currently on trial with the Reds, scored twice, with Kiwi Rory Fallon and academy starlet Richard Carrington completing the Shakers’ misery.

Barnsley fans, many of whom are less than happy with their eccentric new owner Peter Doyle (a man who recently offered to take on any of his critics in the club car park), were dealt a further blow this week with the news that Perky, the club cat and vermin exterminator par excellence of over ten years, had sadly died. Perky was no ordinary puss, having been awarded a National Lifetime Achievement award in 1998 at the Arthurs (the feline world’s equivalent of the Oscars). A sad loss indeed.

Wolves made it eight games unbeaten with their 2-0 win at the Turf on Wednesday, thus maintaining their third place. Manager Dave Jones was in the ‘crowd’, and afterwards praised his team’s performance and in particular that of Icelandic international Ivar Inginmarsson: "He had to make the change from midfield to centre half after just a few minutes because of Ludo (Pollet)’s injury. His overall performance and the two goals he scored will have done his confidence the world of good. But it was a good showing from all of the lads – they played some good football and it was a solid performance against a tough Burnley side. The youngsters and the seniors all did well."

An inexperienced Walsall kept up the pressure on the leaders with another home win, 2-1 over Sheffield United. The game was played at Hednesford Town’s Keys Park, and saw youngsters Nick Smith and Matty Fryatt give the Saddlers a two-goal lead before Tyrone Thompson scored a late consolation for a seemingly strong Blades side.

The final game produced a six-goal thriller at Boundary Park on Wednesday evening where Oldham and Rotherham produced a 3-3 draw. In a game of many chances Danny Boshell, Wayne Gill and Chris Bass scored for the Latics, with Paul Warne, Tom Smith and Hoskins replying for the Millers.

Next week sees a rare event: Burnley are taking part in the only scheduled league game! It’s the League Cup for some of our league opponents, so our game at Rotherham is the sole survivor. Clarets completists will no doubt be keen to attend for what will be Burnley’s first competitive fixture at the Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield. Rotherham have today confirmed to us that it is a 7pm kick off, so let’s see lots of South Yorkshire Clarets in attendance to cheer the lads on in this vital match.

Next week’s fixtures (Wednesday, January 22nd):


Rotherham v Burnley (7pm)

League Cup:

Barnsley v Huddersfield

Chesterfield v Tranmere

Leading league scorers:

6 Gareth Seddon (Bury)
6 Griff Jones (Barnsley)
6 Paul Macari (Huddersfield)
5 Scott Vernon (Oldham)
5 Joe O’Neill (Preston)

Top reported attendances:

720 Walsall v Wolves (21.08.02)
594 Huddersfield v Preston (28.08.02)
496 Burnley v Huddersfield (21.08.02)
402 Burnley v Sheffield Utd (04.09.02)
368 Preston v Wolves (23.10.02)