Mc­combe takes the rap af­ter red card costs Town

Lit­tle to cel­e­brate for Hud­der­s­field man­ager Clark de­spite eclips­ing un­beaten Leeds run un­der Re­vie

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - Sport football - Robert Gled­hill at Gal­pharm Sta­dium robert.gled­hill@ypn.co.uk

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.”

PIC­TURES: MARK BICK­ERDIKE.

DY­NAMIC DUO:

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.

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