Huddersfield Town 3 Plymouth Argyle 2: Terriers toil but manage to see off nine-man Plymouth

WHEN a football fan travels nearly 250 miles on a freezing January night, the hope is that the ensuing 90 minutes will bring plenty of entertainment and a result to make the journey worthwhile.

Last night, the 169 hardy souls who followed Plymouth Argyle from Devon got an abundance of the first but not the happy ending such devotion probably deserves.

Five goals, two red cards, one manager sent to the stand and a host of controversial refereeing decisions – this was a game that really did have everything, including a positive conclusion for the home side despite a poor second-half display.

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Town's struggles after the break led to a section of the Galpharm Stadium faithful booing the players in the closing stages but that should not detract from what was a stunning fightback during a thrilling first half.

Two goals down inside 15 minutes, Huddersfield Town looked to be in for a miserable night against a team who, thanks to comedian Paul Whitehouse and his 'Green Army' adverts for a well-known insurance firm, have become the butt of many a joke over the past couple of years.

Come the final whistle, however, it was Town enjoying the last laugh courtesy of a victory that keeps Lee Clark's men firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the night, though, was the debut performance of Tamas Kadar.

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Signed on a month's loan from Newcastle United, the 20-year-old Hungarian left-back slotted in admirably to provide an extra dimension to Huddersfield's attacking armoury with clever link-up play.

The fun and games started early for the 11,462 crowd with it taking the visitors just 54 seconds to open the scoring – and this despite Town kicking off.

A fluffed pass from Lee Peltier was how Huddersfield handed the initiative to the visitors, Onismor Bhasera collecting to race forward and find Rory Patterson with a drilled pass.

With Town appealing in vain for an offside flag, the Pilgrims striker then turned, looked up and picked out Joe Mason who drilled the ball into the net from close range. It was the worst possible start for Town, who then fell further behind on 15 minutes and, once again, it was sloppy play that gave the ball to the visitors.

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Kevin Kilbane was the guilty party this time, though in the on-loan Hull man's defence referee Paul Tierney's decision to allow Patterson onto the field after treatment just at the moment the ball was being passed in his direction was questionable.

Patterson did not hang around as Town protested, the Argyle midfielder playing an incisive pass for Mason to score past Alex Smithies at the second attempt.

Two goals down, Huddersfield fans could have been forgiven for

fearing the worst.

What was in their favour, however, was that by the time of Mason's second the visitors had already been reduced to 10 men courtesy of Curtis Nelson's blatant professional foul as Jordan Rhodes raced clear.

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Peter Reid soon followed his defender in being dismissed by referee Paul Tierney for protesting.

Town's lifeline came on 18 minutes when Karl Arnason turned Anthony Pilkington's cross into his own net.

Suddenly, Plymouth bore the look of a team at a numerical disadvantage as rampant Huddersfield poured forward.

The equaliser came just before the half hour when Gary Roberts helped Kilbane's cross into the path of Rhodes, who drilled a first-time shot past David Button.

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Three minutes later, the comeback was complete when Roberts's free-kick eventually found Peter Clarke and the Terriers captain finished from close range.

Further chances followed for the hosts before the break only for Peter Clarke to twice fail to take advantage after being picked out unmarked inside the six-yard box. The let-offs meant Plymouth were happy to hear the half-time whistle blown.

Unfortunately for the Devon outfit, there was to be no relief to their misery after the break with a poor decision by referee Tierney seeing the visitors reduced to nine men.

Stephane Zubar was the unfortunate Pilgrim after receiving a second yellow card of the evening for what looked an innocuous block on Lee Novak next to the touchline.

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After that, it was merely a case of damage limitation for Argyle – something they achieved thanks to some distinctly ordinary play from the hosts, who nevertheless sit just one point outside the automatic promotion places.

Huddersfield Town: Smithies; Peltier, Kay, P Clarke, Kadar; Pilkington (T Clarke 89), Arfield (Gudjonsson 78), Kilbane, Roberts (Carey 58); Rhodes, Novak. Unused substitutes: Bennett, McCombe, Lee, Ridehalgh.

Plymouth Argyle: Button; Zubar, Nelson, Seip, Bhasera; Stephens (Duguid 46), Fletcher, Arnason, Clark; Mason (Bolaise 75), Patterson. Unused substitutes: Larrieu, Duguid, N'Gala, Peterlin, Timar, Paterson.

Referee: P Tierney (Lancashire).