REPORT: BORO 3-0 TOWNHuddersfield Town’s search for a win against one of the Sky Bet Championship’s best sides continues after the Club’s poor Riverside Stadium record continued against Middlesbrough tonight.
The promotion-chasing hosts were already on top before two goals in as many minutes just after the half hour gave them the lead they never looked like relinquishing.
The third goal – a superb second half free kick – put the icing on the cake for Boro and condemned the Terriers to a sound defeat.
Town had opened the game in control of the ball for large periods, without ever properly penetrating the organised home side.
However, there was a sign of things to come when a sloppy pass from Lynch in the seventh minute gifted possession to Adomah; thankfully Jordan Rhodes’ shot from his pull-back was partially blocked and became easy pickings for Jed Steer.
Left back George Friend saw his useful header blocked by Tommy Smith just after the quarter hour mark, but Boro already looked increasingly dangerous and Adomah should have done better a few minutes later after receiving Friend’s pull back inside the Town area; he miscued an attempted sweep into the far corner.
At the other end, Mark Hudson tested home goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos for the first time in the 24th minute; planting a firm header from a Tommy Smith delivery straight at the former Hartlepool custodian from around 12 yards out.
Steer came to the rescue on the stroke of the half hour after Ramirez’s driving run and pass opened up space for Rhodes around 15 yards out; the goalkeeper got across to his right well to keep out the striker’s shot one-handed.
Unfortunately that reprieve was short-lived, with the home side being awarded a deserved penalty barely a minute later when Ramirez completely sold Joel Lynch with a sharp turn on the ball just inside the Town area, with the centre back clattering into the attacker.
That gave home captain Grant Leadbitter the chance to step forward and send the ball past Steer from the penalty spot to give the promotion chasers the lead, which he duly did.
Things went from bad to worse a minute later when Dean Whitehead, on his first return to his former club, saw his pass intercepted by Ramirez. The Uruguayan raced clear of the Town defence and neatly rounded Steer on his favoured left side before sending the ball expertly into the roof of the net from a narrow angle.
That double salvo really rocked the Terriers, who barely got into the half time interval without conceding again.
Although Jamie Paterson sent a flicked header into the waiting hands of Konstantopoulos from Joe Lolley’s cross just after the second goal, Boro was firmly in the ascendancy. Hudson did just enough to deny the dangerous Ramirez a second of the evening with a last ditch block before another cross from Friend just evaded Rhodes in the six yard box.
Town did create a very presentable opening in first half added time when Huws, Wells and Paterson worked the ball neatly into the left side of Boro’s area, but the latter took far too long to pull the trigger when well positioned and his eventual shot was blocked by a defender.
Huws and Lolley sent early half chances wide of target when the second half commenced, but Steer was needed again on the hour to save from Adomah at close range after Ramirez beat Whitehead and played him in.
Boro’s third goal came after a poor Steer kick found Rhodes and he was brought down by Town’s centre backs around 20 yards out. Ramirez stepped up and sent the ball expertly past Steer’s left side to seal the win.
Steer made another excellent reaction save to deny right back Nsue a goal with two minutes left, but there was still time for late sub Stuani to inexplicably miss a sitter after Lynch missed a low cross at the near post.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1):
Jed Steer; Jason Davidson, Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Emyr Huws, Dean Whitehead (Philip Billing, 82); Harry Bunn, Jamie Paterson, Joe Lolley (Sean Scannell, 83); Nahki Wells (Rajiv van La Parra, 71)
Lloyd Allinson, Karim Matmour, Martin Cranie, Flo Bojaj
Nahki Wells (27)