A Point in the Right Direction?
By Robert Nichols
Thursday 24 Oct 2019 13:39:00
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Boro followed the late defeat to WBA with a goal less draw away at bottom three Huddersfield Town last night. Was it a good point or an opportunity squandered? Certainly we had the second half chances to win it and so build a gap between us and Huddersfield and the bottom three. And now we have gone six games without a win. On the other hand it was a far better performance and played out before a sell out away end.

Huddersfield dropped the prices last night to a tenner away day with concessions and the family groups flocked in for a half term treat. Cheaper deals around the stadium meant that it was almost back to Premier League fan levels for the club relegated from the top flight at the end of last season. What a great gesture all round.

The question was could the Boro team respond and compete with a Huddersfield side revived since the arrival of the Cowley brothers, the miracle workers at Lincoln City. The Terriers had gone four matches unbeaten and with everyone else in and around the bottom picking up points over the last two games the pressure was really on Jonathan Woodgate's Boro, falling like a very heavy stone to fourth bottom.

Woodgate was forced to make a change at goalkeeper, the injured Darren Randolph replaced by debut lad Ainsley Pears and how well did the son of Stephen play in his debut. He looked more composed than the Huddersfield custodian, Ryan Schofield, also a young player making a league debut.

Woodgate chose to beef up the midfield again with Wing, Saville and McNair competing behind Fletcher and Tavernier. Fletcher replacing Britt who probably earned his rest. Fletcher continued to press and close down opponents for the hour he was on the field. He harried the young keeper and defenders alike. In the first half he hooked one shot narrowly wide, in the second period he skyed a sharp rebound from practically under the frame of the goal. Some miss.

The home team had the upper hand for most of the first half but without producing a great deal. A free kick whipped past the post but diving full length, Pears did seem to have it covered. Daniel Ayala headed over from a free kick early in the half, that would have been such a good start.

It was in the second period that Boro woke up to the possibilities and started to have a go at the home team. McNair did some of the prompting, Saville put in the work rate and Lewis Wing gradually started to find some range with his long passes, switching the play. That fateful miss by Fletcher came early in the half as the ball broke across the goal line, Huddersfield unable to deal with a Boro set-piece.

There were to be a couple of head in the hands moments for Fletcher's replacement, Britt. He did appear to be pulled back before his effort was blocked after escaping for goal through the middle. Then a miscued clearance from their keeper was intercepted by Saville but Britt was too slow to latch on to the pass. The big striker continued to demonstrate where he had wanted the pass for a little while afterwards. But he wasn't really on his toes.

Good to see Hayden Coulson back and he made an impact with his pace and terrier like harrying against the Terriers. Local “favourite” Adam Clayton came on to get the boos of the Huddersfield fans late doors. And although we continued to press, our attack continued to look toothless. The old problem that has cost us so dearly ever since Adam Traore and Patrick Bamford departed. Goals are absolutely vital when you are in such a precarious position as Boro find themselves in at present.

If we can win at home against Fulham on Saturday then the draw at Huddersfield might just be seen as a point in the right direction. There were encouraging signs and discouraging tendancies at the John Smiths Stadium.

Huddersfield 0-0 Middlesbrough



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