Boxing Day Cheers For Boro
By Robert Nichols
Saturday 28 Dec 2019 12:02:00
Browse all Match Reviews articles


Boro delighted a bumper Boxing Day crowd by delivering the Christmas present all Teesside most wanted, another home win. A first goal by flying wing back, Djed Spence proved just enough to thwart Huddersfield Town and make it four successive home wins at the Riverside.

Three precious points propelled us temporarily up the league to 18th place, before Reading defeated QPR with tricky back to back away games at WBA and Preston we needed that breathing space. But even if league leaders Albion beat us at the Hawthorns on Sunday, our fans should remember how well we played to leapfrog Huddersfield and extend the gap to six points above the bottom three.

There was no Britt again on Boxing Day so Marvin Johnson was handed a free role behind Ashley Fletcher and Tav. A 25 000 crowd, including a full corner of Terriers fans watched a slow starter, giving fans the chance to munch into their turkey sandwiches and top up on selection box chocolate while the players got their eye in. Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson brought flickers of excitement as they whipped down the flanks. But generally the final pass was not accurate enough.

Once again our opponents enjoyed plenty of possession, Chelsea loanee, Trevoh Chalobah was their outstanding operator, plundering through midfield. Do you remember his brother's loan spell for us?

But just as with Stoke City, Huddersfield rarely threatened Aynsley Pears goal in the first half, Ayala and Fry marshalled the defence so expertly along with Jonny Howson.

Boro suddenly sparked into action mid way through the first half, Coulson sliced wide after good work on the opposite wing from Fletcher and then Ayala headed off target attacking the back post. The opening goal after a driving run from Tav, who passed to Fletcher and Djed Spence came in late to finish Fletcher's centre. A great moment for the young wing back.

Huddersfield had to crank it up after the break. Aynsley Pears was called upon to make two strong saves. But their best chance was scuffed skywards from only a few yards out. For Boro Hayden Coulson headed wide and later had a golden chance presented to him from Spence but missed the target once more. Still there was one more chance to wrap up the points but Fletcher failed to finish with the same composure as in recent games.

It was a tetchy affair at times, Danny Cowley's touchline histrionics probably igniting the fires under his own players. A brawl down by the touchline came after a Terriers player put Jonny Howson in a bear hug on the ground.

The single goal proved good enough for all the points and Boro fans left the ground full of Boxing Day cheer. Can we keep the mood as we go on the road to league leaders West Brom? Even a point from the Hawthorns would be a pre New Year boost.

Middlesbrough 1-0 Huddersfield Town – Djed Spence

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