Huddersfield 2 Middlesbrough 1: Ward's late show completes dramatic comeback
23:04 GMT, 5 March 2013
02:12 GMT, 6 March 2013
Mark Robins could hardly have done more to engineer his first home win as Huddersfield manager after two of his second-half substitutes inspired a dramatic late turnaround at a mist-shrouded John Smith’s Stadium last night.
Middlesbrough looked primed to add a desperately needed three points to their faltering promotion campaign when Scott McDonald slid home a Sammy Ameobi cross at the far post just 12 minutes from time.
But Alan Lee equalised with his first touch, just seconds after going on in the 86th minute, and fellow substitute Danny Ward crowned a stunning fightback with a brilliant winner in stoppage time.
Hero: Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies celebrates with Danny Ward, who scored the winning goal
Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard (Wallace 66), Dixon, Clayton, Gobern, Norwood (Lee 84), Danns, Novak, Robinson (Ward 78).
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Arfield, Atkinson, Lynch.
Goals: Lee 86, Ward 90.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Smallwood (Rhys Williams 59), McManus, Hines, Friend, Leadbitter, Bailey, McEachran (Ledesma 58), McDonald, Ameobi, Miller (Main 68).
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Carayol, Haroun, Emnes.
Booked: Smallwood, Ledesma.
Goals: McDonald 78.
Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).
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‘I was proud of my players, and it is more pleasing than ever when substitutions come off,’ said Robins.
‘Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but it showed how the lads on the bench have been champing at the bit to get on.
‘That was the best we’ve played in my time here, and it has to give the players confidence to know they can pass the ball on what was a cabbage patch of a pitch.’
After squandering several clear chances, and being denied a penalty when Middlesbrough striker Ameobi poleaxed Theo Robinson with a kick in the face as he tried to clear, Huddersfield looked like paying the price when McDonald scored.
In retaliation, Robins sent on Lee and his big front-runner promptly pounced on a Peter Clarke header, from a right-wing corner, and toe-ended it past Boro keeper Jason Steele from point-blank range.
There was nothing scrappy about Ward’s winner as, just 12 minutes after going on, he gained possession on the right and cut inside before hammering a left-foot drive beyond Steele.
On course: Scott McDonald gave Middlesbrough the lead in the 78th minute
Reflecting on his side’s eighth
defeat in 11 games, Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray said: ‘When you
go in front late on, in a drab game low on quality, you hope you are
going to see it out.
‘The equaliser was particularly
disappointing because you expect your big players to get the first
contact when a corner comes in.
‘They made changes near the end to try to get back into it, but you have to adapt and cope with that.’
Adverse weather: The match was played under heavy fog at the John Smith's Stadium