Middlesbrough held to draw by Huddersfield
Leo Percovich’s reign as Middlesbrough’s temporary manager continued with a goalless draw at home to Huddersfield.
While Michael Carrick has been widely touted as Boro’s likely new manager, the former Manchester United midfielder was nowhere to be seen at the Riverside as the Teessiders were frustrated by a dogged Huddersfield side, who nevertheless remain rooted to the foot of the Sky Bet Championship table.
Terriers winger Sorba Thomas struck the crossbar direct from a corner in the first half, but in truth, neither side really looked like scoring in what was a poor game.
Middlesbrough entered the match off the back of Wednesday’s morale-boosting win at Wigan, and the Teessiders created a decent early opportunity when Isaiah Jones crossed from the right, only for Chuba Akpom to direct a glanced header wide.
Paddy McNair has been pushed into midfield during Percovich’s temporary reign, and the Northern Irishman came close to scoring when he met Ryan Giles’ corner with a thumping header, only for Huddersfield goalkeeper Lee Nicholls to make a good save down to his left. Moments later, Nicholls was keeping out another headed effort as he saved from Dael Fry.
Huddersfield started slowly, but the visitors improved as the game wore on and almost claimed a goal in bizarre circumstances midway through the first half as Thomas’ inswinging corner cannoned off the crossbar with Boro goalkeeper Zack Steffen beaten.
Danny Ward headed Thomas’ cross wide towards the end of the first half, and the pair combined again on the stroke of half-time with Thomas drilling a 22-yard effort just wide of the post after Ward laid the ball into his path.
Huddersfield’s positive momentum continued into the second half, with Steffen suffering a shaky moment in the Middlesbrough goal just a minute after the restart.
The American, who is on loan from Manchester City, spilled Jack Rudoni’s long-range shot, but immediately atoned for his error by saving Ward’s follow-up effort.
He had another nervous incident four minutes later though, with Ward charging down his attempted goal kick, only for the ball to rebound wide of an open goal.
Michal Helik glanced Thomas’ free-kick wide of the target as Huddersfield continued to look the more threatening side, but Boro improved after Percovich turned to his bench to bring on Hayden Hackney, Rodrigo Muniz and Marcus Forss.
Muniz almost made an instant impact, but while Tommy Smith’s cross was deflected into his path, the Brazilian fired a snatched effort over the bar.
Boro had a penalty appeal waved away with 19 minutes left, with referee Andy Davies seemingly deciding that while Fry’s shot appeared to strike Tom Lees’ arm, the Huddersfield centre-half was standing so close to his opponent it did merit the award of a spot-kick.