Huddersfield Town stretched its unbeaten run to five matches following a hard-fought goal-less draw with Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship.
Adama Diakhaby went closest for the Terriers with a free-kick that curled wide of the goal in the first half, but the deadlock was maintained throughout as Town registered a second draw in the space of five days.
Danny Cowley made one change to the starting XI that drew 2-2 at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, as goalkeeper Ryan Schofield made his first Sky Bet Championship start, replacing Kamil Grabara who missed the game with illness.
It meant Joel Coleman was promoted to the match day squad, taking up a place on the bench, alongside Isaac Mbenza who was back in for the injured Alex Pritchard.
Schofield was nearly forced into the action early into his league debut, but Daniel Ayala couldn’t find the target with his close-range header after connecting with Paddy McNair’s free-kick, glancing over the crossbar.
Under the Wednesday night lights at the John Smith’s Stadium, Karlan Grant nearly went one better up the other end just after. He rose highest to power Trevoh Chalobah’s cross towards the target, but he could only mirror the earlier opportunity, heading over the Middlesbrough goal.
Chalobah was then making his presence known under his own crossbar, doing just about enough to deny Ayala and help clear what would have been a certain opener for the visitors after a corner from the left was flicked on at the front post.
20 minutes in the game developed on its end-to-end start as Town were back in search of a goal, courtesy of two quick chances for Karlan Grant.
The Terriers’ top scorer this season had a 30-yard free-kick gathered by Middlesbrough ‘keeper Aynsley Pears before a strike from the edge of the six-yard area was charged down a minute later, denying him of an eighth goal so far in 2019/20.
Sticking to the game’s ongoing trend, it was the visitors’ turn on the attack next. Having been found in space around 20 yards out, Middlesbrough striker Ashley Fletcher turned and fired towards goal, but his low strike was dragged just wide of the far post.
Adama Diakhaby has been heavily involved during Town’s recent unbeaten run and he nearly had a goal to add to that recent form shortly before the break. The winger’s whipped free-kick beat the wall and curled away from the goal, just missing Pears’ left-hand post, as the two sides went into the break level at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Misty West Yorkshire skies greeted the sides when they returned after the break, but Ryan Schofield had no problems seeing the ball, showing superb reactions to divert a goal-bound flick following a Middlesbrough free-kick. The ball fell to Boro forward Ashley Fletcher who couldn’t keep his effort down from a few yards out.
With nearly an hour on the clock, and the deadlock yet to be broken, Danny Cowley introduced Juninho Bacuna who had three goals in his last three from the bench in the hope of a fourth in as many games.
The visitors also made their first change of the evening soon after, bringing on their top scorer this season, Britt Assombalonga, as both teams continued to search for the go-ahead goal.
Assombalonga nearly made an instant impact for the visitors, rising above Danny Simpson at the back post but he could only guide his header into the grasp of Ryan Schofield.
Boro’s number 9 was then at the centre of the action once again, beating the offside trap before a superb last-ditch block from Town’s Jaden Brown cleared any impending danger.
Town looked to capitalise on the tiring legs in the visiting ranks as the game moved into the closing stages, but chances were hard to come by as Boro continued to hold firm at the back.
The sight of six added minutes on the fourth official’s board was received loudly by the entirety of the John Smith’s Stadium crowd but neither side could find the all-important goal that would have taken all three points.
It means it’s back-to-back draws for Town since the international break, with the unbeaten run now stretching to five matches.
Next up for Danny Cowley’s side is the visit of Barnsley to the John Smith’s Stadium in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday 26 October 2019; 3pm kick-off.
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (4-3-3)
Ryan Schofield; Jaden Brown, Christopher Schindler (c), Tommy Elphick, Danny Simpson, Lewis O’Brien, Jonathan Hogg, Trevoh Chalobah (Juninho Bacuna, 55’), Elias Kachunga, Karlan Grant, Adama Diakhaby (Fraizer Campbell, 63’)
Joel Coleman, Isaac Mbenza, Steve Mounié, Jon Gorenc Stanković, Florent Hadergjonaj
Aynsley Pears; Ryan Shotton, Daniel Ayala (c), Dael Fry, Marvin Johnson (Hayden Coulson, 75’), George Saville (Adam Clayton, 90’), Lewis Wing, Paddy McNair, Jonny Howson, Marcus Tavernier, Ashley Fletcher (Britt Assombalonga, 64’)
Tomás Mejías, Anfernee Dijksteel, Marcus Browne, Ben Liddle