TOWN 2 MIDDLESBROUGH 1
Ward thunderbolt earns Town vital win
Danny Ward made a dramatic return from injury to earn Town a vital victory against Middlesbrough.
The winger came off the bench to smash home a winner with minutes to spare after Alan Lee had drawn Town level.
Scott McDonald had earlier given the visitors the lead in misty conditions at the Stadium.
Substitute Lee then equalised from close range before Ward’s thunderbolt from 20 yards lifted the roof off the Stadium!
Town made two changes in the wake of Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Brighton with Lee Novak and Oliver Norwood replacing the injure Sean Scannell and suspended James Vaughan.
The Terriers started the game brightly and had the game’s first chance with less than a minute on the clock. Neil Danns played the ball into Oscar Gobern who in turn laid it off to Lee Novak, but he fired wide from eight yards.
Town then had the game’s next chance in the second minute as the lively Theo Robinson laid the ball off to midfielder Adam Clayton who dragged his shot wide of Jason Steele’s left hand post.
Shortly afterwards it was Middlesbrough’s turn to have their first shot on goal. But, former Town loanee Scott McDonald effort was off the mark after the ball fell kindly to him from Ishmael Miller’s header
Town continued to pile on the pressure and midfielder Neil Danns saw his powerful effort go out for a goal kick after a dangerous Oliver Norwood corner in the 11th minute.
Town full-back Paul Dixon provided the next chance of the game as he delivered a dangerous cross from the right hand side, but Norwood saw his smart glancing header go just wide of Jason Steele’s right hand post.
Boro midfielder Nicky Bailey brought down Neil Danns in the 32nd minute and from the resulting free kick Norwood’s shot was on target, but was neatly punched away by Steele between the sticks.
Ten minutes before the break, Boro had their best chance of the game as top scorer McDonald robbed Clayton of possession on the halfway line and fed Miller, but his tame shot was saved by Smithies in front of their travelling fans.
The second half started with Town pressing Boro and smart work by Oscar Gobern saw Theo Robinson fizz a cross along the goalmouth but Stephen McManus fired the ball away.
Boro responded just short of the hour mark by making a double change. Josh McEachran and Emmanuel Ledesma came on and Richard Smallwood and Rhys Williams departed.
Boro tried hard to break through the Town defence and in the 77th minute they did so as winger Sammy Ameobi crossed for Scott McDonald who poked in from six yards for his 12th goal of the season.
Town looked to respond quickly with a free kick from Clayton, but a cross into the area was unable to be put home for the equaliser in the 80th minute.
As Town pressed for the equaliser, Alan Lee was introduced in the 84th minute and his impact was instant as he prodded home a Danny Ward corner for his second goal of the season after a good header from Peter Clarke.
With the crowd roaring them on the Terriers went in search of the winner and found one in spectacular fashion. Substitue Danny Ward picked the ball up 25 yards out and unleashed an unstoppable volley to earn the Terriers a precious three points
Town’s Team (4-4-2):
Alex Smithies; Paul Dixon, Anthony Gerrard (Murray Wallace, 66), Peter Clarke, Jack Hunt; Oliver Norwood (Alan Lee, 84), Oscar Gobern, Neil Danns, Adam Clayton; Theo Robinson (Danny Ward, 78), Lee Novak
Ian Bennett, Scott Arfield, Chris Atkinson, Joel Lynch.
Bookings Town: Lee Novak, 90+1
Bookings Middlesbrough: Richard Smallwood 43, Emmanuel Ledesma 90+3