Boro Put Bite On Terriers To Launch Premier Push

THE GAME was scripted as being a product placement for Football’s Inevitability Drive.

Everything was set up for Huddersfield legend Jordan Rhodes to prove the iron rule that a former favourite will become a Nemesis and finally score his first Riverside goal.

Who was to know that it would be another old boy that would play the decisive role in Boro’s commanding 3-0 win over Huddersfield.  Dean Whitehead….  come on down.

Before the game it looked nailed on the Jordan Rhodes would be the story.  The visiting fans and press were terrified of being crushed by the weight of hitman history.  And given the queues of home supporters putting their daft quid on Rhodes as first scorer – I even saw a tenner go on a hat-trick – Boro fans expected him to deliver too.

And you can see why. Rhodes has scored six in seven games against Huddersfield since leaving them and has never been on a losing side against his former club.  He scored 87 goals in 148 games for Huddersfield and fired them to promotion, becoming their eighth all time scorer in just two and a half seasons. So Town fans know what he can do.

Naturally then he drew a blank. But it wasn’t for the want of trying. The striker bust a gut working for his maiden Riverside goal.

Early on Albert Adomah robbed a defender to pick him out but the ball got tangled in his feet and when he eventually got a shot off it clipped a defender.  Then a free-kick sparked a scramble and it twice fell to him but though he twisted and turned to find an angle it was nervously hacked clear before he could unload.


Then when Adomah stabbed a scuffed shot that squirted across the face of goal Rhodes did well to collect but as he shaped to shoot a defender dived in to claw it away. And  on the half-hour a stinging 15 yard effort was denied by a superb full length save by Steer.

It was a decent display. He worked hard and got into positions and was a fraction away. Maybe he is “trying too hard” but he continues to look lively,  cause problems for the defence and make his contribution. But, as yet, no goal rush.

He was less involved after the break as the tempo drained from the game, it became more evenly balanced – in terms of possession at least – and Boro were quieter in the final third. But Rhodes still played his part in the killer moment, winning the free-kick that was slammed home by rocket Ramirez for the third.

Another Huddersfield old boy was also in the thick of action only to go off early: Adam Clayton.  Boro’s midfield ex-Terrier harried and chased and snapped and snarled like a scrapyard guard-dog clunking and straining at his chain.

Once again he had his psychic spatial SatNav switched on and was calculating routes and angles and opponents movement and popping up in spaces before the ball arrived to snuff out danger then recycle quickly and cleanly.

He was superb. Again. But Boro suffered a blow when he went down injured after tangling with Huws and having lengthy treatment he soon hobbled off.  He should be fine: a bit of screw tightening and welding to his titanium Terminator chassis and he’ll be back quickly, locking on targets and pursuing them relentlessly.


Ironically, it was Boro old boy Whitehead – popular in the dressing room and a surprise cult hero despite a fringe role at the Riverside in his two year stint – that played a pivotal role as a close fought game swung decisively Boro’s way.

The veteran midfielder was playing so deep at times he could knock on the windows of a submarine. When high-risk Huddersfield gegenpressed men up field in numbers he was the one who dropped back to act as a human shield,  slotting between the two centre-backs to tidy up and carry the ball out and play the ball forward. That was the plan.

But a ball from Clayton took him out of the game to send Ramirez through to win the penalty for the opener.  Then his slack attempted pass was cut out by Ramirez and then Deano’s lack of pace was ruthlessly exposed as he was left looking like he was pulling a plough when two goal Gaston – looking like the best player in the division and possible the magic ingredient – burst forward to round the keeper and score the second.

He worked hard enough but as the second half wore on his movement across the pitch was bring timed by calendar.

That said, when he went off the popular journeyman got a huge roar of appreciation from the Boro fans.  That was reciprocated from the away end as Clayton and Rhodes went off. Although I’m sure they wouldn’t have been cheering so generously had the striker scored.



Here’s what we said before the game…..


STRAP in and get ready for take off. Boro launch themselves into a run of four games that could help them reach Championship escape velocity. Three winnable home games on the spin that might have been hand-picked plus a short-haul away day to rock-bottom Bolton who will probably be down before we get there.  It’s now or never.

Maximum points from that run will see Boro almost there. Ten points will hand them the initiative and give some serious momentum to take to the top of the table clash at Burnley. A rush and a push and this land is ours.

Tonight is the start of the final push. And as there is a full programme tonight is:


Elsewhere the promotion contenders have tricky matches and there could be some stumbles. After two draws Burnley take on a Cardiff side who know win could take them back into the play-off places. Brighton go to Birmingham who have a fantastic home record. And Hull – back in it after winning on Saturday – go to a shaky Derby who are looking over their shoulder and know they need a win to stay in the play-off chase. Point swill be dropped tonight.  We have to make sure they are not dropped by Boro.

Here’s a big battle cry I did about the need for Boro to be absolutely ruthless in this run of four pivotal matches. No more fannying about. It is time to deliver.

Usual drill: predict the score, how the game will pan out, the crowd, the volume of the PA and the half-time soup in the press room, then all back here later to swap notes. I’m going for 2-0/3-0 and Ayala anytime scorer, 23, 888 and stilton and broccoli.




143 thoughts on “Boro Put Bite On Terriers To Launch Premier Push

  1. Where are the posters, you’re so quiet, I’ll post on my own!

    Of course, we are in a decent position so it is quiet.

    Let’s hope I end up doing most of the posting until the end of the season even though there is loads to post about.

    Will anyone be rested tomorrow? Clayts and Ben look likely. Nugent for Rhodes?

    How do we get game time for de Laet and Stuani. Players like de Pena and one or two others need some action at some point in case they are called on.

  2. Bloody hell. What’s happened to BeIn. They’ve taken the game off their schedule. Is this the same everywhere?


    1. Selwyn,

      Bein have become a complete pain in the derriere, they constantly show German, Italian and Spanish football over the Championship that they brag about broadcasting. Now, I realise that the difference in class between the different leagues is quite big but, apart from there being a plethora of Italians in Oz along with the odd smattering of Germans in South Australia, I’m at odds to understand why they would alienate Poms to show Spanish football. Needless to say, my subscription will cease the second the final whistle goes against Brighton.

  3. One ticket left for the Brighton match though history shows some will come back on the market as options not taken up and double bookings.

  4. Been busy for a few days but did manage to get back for the Huddersfield game; credit to that club for bringing in a manager that wants to play the game on the grass; however the tactic of your full backs disappearing, your centre halves splitting like the red sea leaving a holding midfielder (Whitehead) to be exposed and robbed of possession entirely played into our hands. Albert was a man possessed closing the space..

    I woke this morning with genuine excitement for the game today… I hope the team is unchanged but the games are coming thick and fast and freshness is key.

    Boro 3 nil win again… 27,211

    @Len, You buy the brunch before the Brighton match? There’s a golden ticket in return……

  5. Been working and just glanced at the ticket site again.

    Brighton has gone so full house in prospect, as I posted no doubt the odd ticket(s) will appear.

    I like the idea of over 27,000 at todays match, I do think we have to expect that having to fork out for three home matches in 8 days some fans may miss one to pay for the Brighton tickets especially those with limited budget or distances to travel.

    This year crowds are much my like the Ayresome Angels season where the crowds built steadily as the season’s end approached with a bumper crowd at the conclusion.

  6. No avalanche of pre-PNE posts? Maybe the Boro faithful has taken a holiday.

    Boro to win today, with the hope that Leeds do us a favour, which would put us top of the table and in a very healthy position to move to automatic promotion.

    Go on then…colours to the mast……we will go up as Champions. There it is, in black and white, to be wheeled out as exhibit No 1 if recriminations are needed in a few weeks time.

    1. Forever

      That’s what I like to see someone with the courage of their convictions.

      And may all good things come to pass


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