Middlesbrough 3 Huddersfield 0: McDonald double gets Boro back to winning ways
22:31 GMT, 27 November 2012
Scott McDonald's brace helped Middlesbrough recover from back-to-back defeats as they recorded a convincing win over an out-of-sorts Huddersfield.
Boro's impressive start to the campaign had hit a snag when they suffered successive losses to Cardiff and Bristol City, but they got back to winning ways in front of nearly 22,000 at the Riverside this evening.
With Marvin Emnes and Ishmael Miller both on the bench, McDonald repaid manager Tony Mowbray's faith in starting him by stabbing home the opener.
At the double: Scott McDonald (right) hit two goals as Middlesbrough beat Huddersfield
Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Hines, Bikey, Halliday (Parnaby 90), Ledesma (Zemmama 87), Bailey, McEachran, Smallwood, McDonald, Jutkiewicz (Miller 87).
Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Emnes, Luke Williams.
Goals: McDonald 28, Ledesma 66, McDonald 85.
Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Lynch, Peter Clarke, Dixon, Ward, Norwood (Atkinson 54), Arfield, Robinson (Hammill 54), Church, Novak (Lee 68).
Subs Not Used: Bennett, Woods, Gerrard, Wallace.
Ref: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire).
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Only the crossbar denied the hosts a
second before the break as Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies pushed
Peter Clarke's hacked clearance on to the woodwork.
Lukas Jutkiewicz and McDonald
continued to cause the visitors' back four problems but it was Emmanuel
Ledesma who got the second goal with a dipping free-kick just after the
McDonald then fired in his second of
the evening, Jutkiewicz once again grabbing the assist, to extend
Huddersfield's winless streak to three games.
Both sides made changes from their weekend XIs and it was Huddersfield who were the more impressive starters.
After a couple of speculative efforts
went wide, Jack Hunt's mazy run culminated in a vicious left-foot strike
which just whistled over the top of the crossbar.
There was plenty of frustration for
the home side early on as Josh McEachran and Ledesma failed to coax out
their creative sides.
That all changed 28 minutes in, though, as McDonald turned in Jutkiewicz's centre for the opener.
Justin Hoyte burst into the box from
his right-back berth and rolled the ball to Jutkiewicz, who in turn
fired across goal where McDonald produced one of his predatory finishes.
You beauty: Emmanuel Ledesma (second right) scores the second goal for Boro from a free kick
Terriers captain Clarke then had his goalkeeper Smithies to thank just before the break as he spared the centre-back's blushes.
Jutkiewicz kept his head down when
embarking on a run and was oblivious to the fact nobody in a red shirt
was near his cut across, yet Clarke sliced his clearance towards goal
and Smithies had to palm the ball on to the crossbar.
Smithies' opposite number Jason Steele
also had to be alert to ensure Scott Arfield's dipping effort did not
drop under his crossbar.
McDonald and Jutkiewicz almost
combined to devastating effect once more minutes after the break but the
latter dallied when the chance materialised, allowing Smithies to
narrow the gap and make the save.
Manager Simon Grayson waited less than
10 minutes after the interval to make alterations for the visitors,
introducing Adam Hammill and Chris Atkinson.
It did not prevent Boro's front two
from threatening their goal once more, however, as Jutkiewicz displayed
great strength to turn away from two men before teeing up McDonald, who
smashed an effort narrowly wide.
The hosts did not have to wait much longer to double their advantage as Ledesma curled in a magical 25-yard free-kick.
The Argentinian earned the set piece
himself, when he cajoled Paul Dixon into tripping him, and his curling
effort dipped so low that Smithies could only push it into the roof of
Jutkiewicz forced Smithies into a good
save before he once more assumed his role as the provider for McDonald
five minutes from time.
The visitors wanted play stopped with
Hunt down on the ground injured but Boro continued unabated and
Jutkiewicz's cushioned header down was drilled home by McDonald to wrap
up the points.