Third Division: Huddersfield hold upper hand

Lincoln City 1 Huddersfield Town 2
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The Independent Football

Advantage Huddersfield but, as manager Peter Jackson rightly acknowledged afterwards, this semi-final is far from over.

Advantage Huddersfield but, as manager Peter Jackson rightly acknowledged afterwards, this semi-final is far from over.

Goal difference pitted these two sides together - Huddersfield missing automatic promotion and Lincoln scraping into the play-offs.

Surprisingly, Lincoln's Simon Yeo, a regular substitute with 13 goals, replaced Francis Green and Iffy Onuora started his first of the season for Huddersfield.

But Jackson's decision to rest Pawel Abbott, after his error denied the Terriers promotion at Cheltenham, paid off. Andy Edward's corner was missed by keeper Alan Marriott and Onuora glanced homein the fifth minute.

Lincoln's poor recent form looked like continuing as Huddersfield dominated initially. But Richard Butcher and Peter Gain started firing in midfield, and chances flowed for Marcus Richardson, Yeo and Mark Bailey.

Lincoln deservedly equalised after 51 minutes when Kevin Ellison's throw from the left ended with Gary Fletcher's 19th goal of the season despite heroics from Paul Rachubka.

Just after Richardson had somehow missed Yeo's left-wing cross after 70 minutes, Huddersfield scored again. Marriott kept out Andy Booth's superb header from Danny Schofield's corner but the ball fell to David Mirfin who scored from a narrow angle.

His determination was mirrored by Huddersfield's defence - in which Andy Holdsworth shone - as Lincoln pushed for the equaliser.

"We've won but it's just half-time," said Jackson, "and we know Lincoln will fight for everything."

"I'm not disappointed with the performance," said the Lincoln manager, Keith Alexander, "but our defending for the goals and our finishing was poor. We know what we've got to do on Wednesday."

Veteran Onuora rejoined Huddersfield from Tranmere on transfer deadline day in March after eight clubs and more than 120 goals.

"I may have looked like a 17-year-old when I celebrated my goal but that didn't last long - I felt like a 37-year-old 10 minutes later," he said.

Goals: Onuora (5) 1-0; Fletcher (51) 1-1; Mirfin (72) 1-2.

Lincoln City (3-4-3): Marriott; Weaver (McCombe 81), Bloomer, Futcher; Bailey, Butcher, Gain (Liburd 79), Ellison; Fletcher, Richardson (Green 87), Yeo. Substitutes not used: Sedgemore, Wilford.

Huddersfield Town (3-1-4-2) Rachubka; Mirfin, Sodje, Yates (Scott 90); Holdsworth; Schofield, Edwards, Worthington, Lloyd; Booth, Onuora (Abbott 76). Substitutes not used: Senior, Fowler, Brown.

Referee: G Laws (Tyne and Wear)

Booked: Lincoln: Gain; Huddersfield: Worthington.

Man of the match: Holdsworth.

Attendance: 9,202.