After a two week international break, it was back to league football with a trip to Huddersfield for the Boro. Over 3,500 away fans travelled to the John Smith Stadium in West Yorkshire, creating a great atmosphere throughout the game.
It was great looking at the team news to see that Dimi was starting in goal. We don’t have the time to test the goalkeeping position this season and play catch up like in future seasons. When have player that capable at this level it’s a no brainer for me. Hopefully when Tomas is back from injury he will come back stronger. I just don’t feel he is ready to be thrown into the championship and could do with a loan move to get use to the English game.
Regarding the game I thought Ben Gibson was solid was great to see him back involved after going off injured with seconds of the new season been played. After his successful first season in first team he was recently rewarded with a new 5 year contract. This is just as good any of summer signings this season, Ben plays as if played there for years and really has got good future in the game. Now an England U21 international it was important to get him tied down as I’m sure will been interest with the way he was playing last season. A huge talent and speaks so well when interviewed, you can’t beat hearing passion and a local lad playing for your club as a fan.
While I’m talking contracts it was great to get George Friend signed up to a new 4 year deal as his existing contract was due to expire in the summer. George was linked with a move away in the summer and it was vital to keep him. He’s been a key player and a fan favourite since joining the club chipping in with a few goals and having a big impact in our attacking play. The left back gained the free kick on Saturday which he’s magic Leadbitter put away in style!
Back to the game after the Dimi/Vaughan challenge which was very late studs in Dimi rib cage could quite easily got sent off, the game got heated while Dimi was receiving treatment. Leadbitter was furious with the decision and stated his points to officials, Huddersfield players and coaching staff. Butterfield had a shot which Dimi parred and Abella cleared to safety still feeling the effects of the challenge with Vaughan.
Normally Leadbitter takes his frustration out on a player and gets a yellow card. Not this time we got a free kick 30 yards out and Grant stepped up to take it. What a free kick! He drilled it into the top corner of the net. He’s magic you know, just watch Leadbitter go! Another player we must sign up to a longer deal with his existing contract up in the summer.
Rarely did Huddersfield have the ball in attacking areas possibly twice in 2nd half when the unthinkable happened Abella who was having a decent game I thought had switched off. A cross got through our box to Jonathan Stead to tap past Dimi from few yards. Yes him again Stead I thought when was announced over PA system.
Luckily we got away with the lapse in concentration when we went back on the attack. Adomah crossed ball into the box, Reach was running away from goal to try get it when he was tugged in the box by Huddersfield defender Tommy Smith. The ref pointed to the spot, Reach punching the air with the decision now for the dead ball specialist Grant Leadbitter to step up and take the pen. He had just been hobbling moments before. Kept his nerve and sent Smithies the Huddersfield goal keeper the wrong way.
It was the most celebrated penalty I can remember since Schwarzer saved Robbie Fowler penalty that clinched our European place at Ethiad Stadium. Leadbitter and all the team celebrating infront of us and our big following from Teesside, great that we won with so many there to witness it. After having some poor results in the past, when taking a big away following on the road.
Adam Reach had a fine game Ive been impressed with him this season, he now seems ready for first team action after successful loan spells last season. His work rate is excellent on numerous occasions he tracked back and won procession 2nd half.
The game should have been wrapped up well before and is a lesson to be learnt for other games, to be more clinical with our finishing and kill the game. It would have felt like day light robbery if we hadn’t took all the points as we controlled the game for large spells. A great away day and win!