Huddersfield Town 0-2 Middlesbrough: Wagner tastes home debut defeat despite encouraging performance
Adam Clayton celebrates scoring his first Middlesbrough goal against former side Huddersfield - image via @Boro

Middlesbrough had their finishing to thank for an important win over relegation-threatened Huddersfield Town, with the hosts' good play in new manager David Wagner's first home game going unrewarded.

Former Terriers midfielder Adam Clayton opened the scoring inside ten minutes before Emilio Nsue sealed the win in style late on, with Nakhi Wells' free kick cannoning back off the crossbar from Huddersfield's best chance of the game.

Driving rain and powerful winds suggested that an entertaining game could be in store for the two sets of fans, and both sides did their best early on to serve up a competitive encounter.

The home side dominated the early possession but found themselves unable to break through a solid Middlesbrough defensive rearguard, while the visitors always looked dangerous on the counter through the pace of Albert Adomah and Stewart Downing.

Clayton returns to haunt former side

It didn't take long for the deadlock to be broken, with former Terriers midfielder Clayton bagging his first ever Boro goal. He picked up the ball after a corner wasn't fully cleared and knocked the ball away from two defenders before firing in via a deflection.

However, if the promotion-chasing side thought they would be in for a simple afternoon, they were almost brought back down to earth straight away as Nakhi Wells rattled the crossbar with a free kick after a foul on Jamie Paterson.

Wells went close again soon after after being teed up to shoot by Sean Scannell, but Dimi Konstantopoulos read the play well to smother his shot.

The visiting goalkeeper saved further efforts from Scannell and Paterson as the half settled down, with Boro maintaining their lead to the interval with the hosts playing well but not creating any true clear-cut opportunities to score.

Second half of little quality

The second half was played in a similar fashion, with the game drifting by with few real moments of excitement despite this hosts' continuing domination of possession.

Substitute Flo Bojaj went close as a drilled low cross evaded Wells and hit the Albanian forward but deflected wide, but the home fans seemed restless at their side's inability to make their time on the ball count.

Nsue strike seals the three points for Middlesbrough

In the end, it was a rare moment of quality which put the game to bed with another player notching his first Boro goal. Equitorial Guinea captain Nsue brought the ball forward from right-back, cut inside and finished superbly, killing the game and ensuring all three points would be making their way back to Teesside.

Wells lofted a shot over the bar from the edge of the area as the Terriers struggled to put together any late fightback, and the game finished with clinical finishing on Middlesbrough's part proving the difference in a drab game.

The result sees Boro move up to second, two points behind unbeaten leaders Brighton. Huddersfield, meanwhile, dropped into the relegation zone but their performance against one of the Championship's better sides suggests that brighter days could be ahead.

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