Huddersfield lack finish

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This time last year, Huddersfield were about to embark on a winning run that made them the First Division leaders midway through the season.

This time last year, Huddersfield were about to embark on a winning run that made them the First Division leaders midway through the season.

There were few signs of that sort of potency at Edgley Park yesterday, but they would have taken all three points back across the Pennines, if only their finishing had been up to standard.

Their manager, Steve Bruce, admitted that he had got stuck into his side after Saturday's home defeat by Crystal Palace, but he could detect some improvement in this display.

"After Saturday there were a few words said and at least they've shown me a response," Bruce said. "They rolled up their sleeves, showed a lot of spirit and maybe could have won the game."

The best chances for Huddersfield came in the first half, when Delroy Facey headed wide from an unmarked position on the far post and later had a looping shot scraped out from under the crossbar.

His striking partner, Clyde Winjhard, had a shot blocked at point blank range, from the resulting corner, and Town could still have won it in the third minute of time added on, when Kenny Irons ran through and hit one of his familiar efforts from range - this one flying just past the left upright.

Stockport have had their own troubles, since the double boost of a spectacular pre-season victory over Manchester City and an opening day win at Gillingham in the Nationwide League.

A defeat by Blackpool in the Worthington Cup and a 4-1 thumping from one of the promotion favourites at Fulham represented a marked slump, so they too, could feel that things were looking up slightly after yesterday's draw.

Injuries have also been a problem for County and their side for this game featured a composed debut from their 17-year-old defender, Robert Clare. If he was one bonus for the manager, Andy Kilner, then the lively performance of Ian Moore was another.

Moore drew an excellent save from Nico Vaesen after he had run onto Kevin Cooper's pass a minute before half-time. It was their best by some distance, but Kilner's assistant, David Moss, still found reasons to be cheerful. "It probably wasn't pretty to watch, but we've scrapped," he said. "Robert Clare made a magnificent debut. He's not really a right back; he's a central defender, but he's a thinking footballer."

Town, already missing the creativity of Dean Gorrie in midfield could also be without Chris Holland for a month with a knee injury.

Stockport (4-4-2): Jones, Clare (Carrigan 80), Flynn, Bryngelsson, Clark, Gibb, Dinning, Fradin (Woodthorpe 35), Cooper, Moore, Bailey (Maxwell h-t). Substitutes not used: D Smith, Dibble gk.

Huddersfield (4-4-2): Vaesen, Heary, Dyson, Lucketti, Vincent, Holland (Thornley 46), Irons, Beech, M Smith, Facey, Wijnhard (Baldry 74). Substitutes not used: Edwards, Margetson, Hay.

Referee: M Pike (Barrow).