A first point on the board this season
- Middlesbrough 1-1 Huddersfield Town
- Town took the lead at the Riverside
- Both sides had chances to win the game
Huddersfield Town got their first point of the 2023/24 Sky Bet Championship campaign on the board through a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough.
Both sides had opportunities to win the game across the 90 minutes, with Town’s goal coming during our best spell at the start of the second half through a Sorba Thomas set piece before Hayden Hackney’s equaliser.
Although the hosts had two good chances at the end of the game, Town’s defence – in particular Lee Nicholls, Matty Pearson and skipper Jonathan Hogg – deserved the point for magnificent displays,
Boro posed a threat through the opening 45 and Town had to be on their guard, with debutant striker Emmanuel Latte Lath in particular looking lovely up front. He had the first shot of the game inside the fourth minute, isolating Helik and stepping inside nicely onto his left foot only to scuff a poor shot well wide from 20 yards.
Former Brentford man Marcus Forss then got goal side of Ruffels on our left courtesy of a one-two and pulled back towards the striker, but Matty Pearson was on hand to get a vital foot to his first-time shot, allowing Lee Nicholls to easily claim the ball.
Town fought back, with Boro’s commitment to throwing men forward leaving them occasionally isolated at the back. That allowed Josh Koroma to receive a pass from Diarra in the seventh minute before stepping inside and trying his luck, only to curl his effort too close to goalkeeper Sent Dieng.
Two minutes later, Dieng was forced into more impressive action. Having been brought down by Forss just inside the Boro half, Ruffels fired a long free kick into the penalty area and Helik nodded the first ball down to Pearson, whose powerful volley had to be turned around the near post by the goalkeeper.
Not to be outdone, Lee Nicholls showcased his considerable ability three minutes later. Another Boro one-two on the edge of our box released midfielder Hayden Hackney behind the defence, but Lee made himself big and blocked the shot with his feet expertly.
It was end-to-end at this point and after a couple of promising breaks involving the Town front three broke down, Boro went up the other end and worked space for Sammy Silvera on the edge of our box. He took a took and tried to fire a powerful effort inside the near post, only missing by a few inches.
The play continued, and Diarra went inches away himself. Having released Sorba Thomas into space down the right, he made his way to the near post to collect the resulting cross and held off his man before shooting goalwards, only to see the ball strike the foot of the far post before rolling wide.
After a breathless 20 minutes, the half finally settled down, with Town keeping a disciplined defensive shape against the probing passing style of Michael Carrick’s side. The best effort from either side as the half continued was a rasping half volley from Forss on the edge of the box, which was pushed away strongly by the diving Nicholls.
Town had an early boost when they took the lead just two minutes into the second half through a set piece, won by Josh Koroma off defender van den Berg. Sorba whipped his low inswinger towards the near post – something Neil Warnock said they had talked about doing in his post-match press conference – and the ball cannoned off defender Dael Fry’s leg before flashing past the goalkeeper.
The Terriers kept the pressure on with two more corners, with Jonathan Hogg going close to a second with a shot from the edge of the box that was deflected wide.
Town kept pressing forward, with Koroma finding the overlapping Rudoni down the left. His cross was half deflected into the path of Thomas, but he couldn’t connect properly with his first-time effort on his left.
However, Boro then equalised as the game passed the hour mark. Nicholls made a good initial save from Morgan Rogers, who tried to fire home after a positive dribble, but Silvera kept the ball alive and found Hackney, who sent an unstoppable drive across the Town ‘keeper and inside the far post from 18 yards.
The momentum went with Boro and Nicholls had to be at his best to deny Latte Lath, who was put clear through by goalscorer Hackney.
Warnock handed new recruit Delano Burgzorg his debut with 15 minutes left and the big Dutchman was impactful. His run behind the defence was soon found by Ruffels and when Dieng came to clear, the ball fell to Rudoni around 40 yards out. Jack tried an ambitious first-time volley into the vacant net, but his effort dropped just wide of target.
Danny Ward soon played Burgzorg into space on the left again and his pull back found Koroma, but his effort was well blocked. Hogg tried to follow up once again but scuffed his effort wide of target.
Thomas tried his luck from another wide set piece with just six minutes left, trying to catch out Dieng, who keeps a very high line. The ‘keeper did enough, back-peddling and tipping the ball wide.
Boro’s best chances of the second half went Silvera’s way in added time. The big one came in the first minute when he ran onto substitute Isaiah Jones’ pull back, only to blaze over from the penalty spot, and his second was no better, sending a shot from a narrower angle miles wide under pressure from Pearson.
Town’s team (4-2-3-1)
Lee Nicholls; Tom Edwards, Matty Pearson, Michał Helik, Josh Ruffels; Jack Rudoni, Jonathan Hogg (c), Jack Rudoni; Sorba Thomas, Brahima Diarra (Delano Burgzorg, 75’), Josh Koroma; Danny Ward (Kian Harratt, 87’)
Chris Maxwell; Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Jaheim Headley, Pat Jones, Kyle Hudlin, Ben Jackson, Yuta Nakayama
Jonathan Hogg (5’), Jack Rudoni (45+2’), Delano Burgzorg (87’)
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