Mccombe takes the rap after red card costs Town
Little to celebrate for Huddersfield manager Clark despite eclipsing unbeaten Leeds run under Revie
HUDDERSFIELD Town players and management should have been celebrating eclipsing Leeds United’s unbeaten league run under Don Revie in the late Sixties.
Instead, there was only an air of huge disappointment after stretching their record to 35 without defeat.
Central defender Jamie McCombe was the villain of the piece even though there were mitigating circumstances behind his match-turning 84th-minute red card which enabled Orient, for a second successive season, to strike back from 2-0 down at the Galpharm to earn a draw.
McCombe did not wish to comment although he confirmed he had been grabbed in a sensitive area before throwing Orient’s George Porter to the ground in the area with the ball out of play.
Referee Robert Lewis could not award a penalty but, even though Town sacrificed substitute Gary Roberts for Hull loanee defender Liam Cooper before the corner kick could be taken, they were still trying to organise as Kevin Lisbie headed home from Dean Cox’s flag kick to make it 2-1.
Then, in the first of the five minutes of stoppage time, Damien Johnson failed to cut out a square ball across the edge of the area and Ben Chorley drilled home the equaliser.
Town chief Lee Clark was furious and for someone who rarely criticises individuals, he let McCombe have it with both barrels.
“When you have indiscipline in your group that’s what happens. He has killed us. He will be fined the maximum and I think 100 per cent he will struggle to get his place back in the team now,” said Clarke. “It was stupid, he said the lad grabbed him and he just threw him over but you cannot raise your hands, you have to be better than that.
“The game was comfortable but we hadn’t played great. The two full-backs were outstanding – our stand-out players by a million miles.
“We had done enough to win the game and he has just thrown it away like that and put us under the cosh and has cost us two points.
“You have to use your football brain and your nous because the player was going down on a regular basis so you have got to realise that the slightest touch and something was going to happen but I think he was right to go down because Jamie has just thrown him to the ground.
“You can’t do that, the rugby was last night. It’s not right. I’m very frustrated and angry. I’ve just told him that might be him out of the team for a long time now.”
McCombe’s dismissal apart, this was not one of Town’s better performances especially considering Russell Slade’s side are bottom of the table, could field only four substitutes due to nine players missing, had their fourth-choice goalkeeper in the side and had regular right-back Elliott Omozusi switched to the other flank with winger Leon McSweeney taking his place.
Though they played with only one striker, wide man Porter was always a threat despite his questionable antics and he felt he had a fair claim for a first half penalty when he went down under Antony Kay’s last-ditch challenge.
Fortunately for Town, the spine of the side remained strong through captain Kay, who did not put a foot wrong in the heart of the defence, Oscar Gobern, whose impressive central midfield display was highlighted by a rasping shot which rattled the bar and rejuventated target man Alan Lee, who won all his aerial challenges and who headed home the 22ndminute opener.
It was set up by a surging run from emerging talent right-back Jack Hunt, who ripped past Cox and Omozusi before crossing to the far post.
Hunt then struck a stunning second in the 68th minute, connecting with the outside of his right foot and smashing the ball beyond Lee Butcher from the right corner of the area after Town had worked the ball across from the left – Lee again playing his part in the build-up.
Clutching the sponsors’ man-ofthe-match bottle of bubbly, Hunt said: “The manager encourages me to go forward and everyone knows that’s what I love to do. Going past people is one thing I like to do in my game and it’s what I see myself as very good at. I have also been practising my shooting and it was nice to see the ball going into the back of the net.
“But we are disappointed with the result. I would have liked to have collected this man-of-thematch award with a bit of pride but it’s hard to do that when we’ve dropped two points.
“I know and Jamie knows that he has let the team down but we are not going to hold grudges. We are a family and a team. The lad grabbed him first but no one saw that and Jamie just lashed out. He knows he should not have done it but we need to move on. He will get a three-match ban and you don’t know when he will be back playing.”
Of his fellow 20-year-old, Gobern added: “Hunty loves to get forward, his attacking ability is ridiculous and he has shown that already with two great goals this season. If he continues like that I can see him getting five or 10 goals before the season is out.
“It’s a great record to have but we expect to win these type of games and it’s very disappointing.”
Right-back Jack Hunt leaps to congratulate Alan Lee after the striker had headed home the opener, below, for Huddersfield Town against Leyton Orient. Young defender Hunt made it 2-0 in the second half but the visitors hit back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 after the dismissal of Jamie McCombe.