The Riverside lights heralded a return to winning ways for Boro against Huddersfield Town.

Duncan Watmore scored with a stunning effort and Ashley Fletcher marked his return with a goal to secure a 2-1 success, and had it not been for a defensive effort of epic proportions Boro would have won by a far greater margin.

But the late sending off of Paddy McNair set up a tense finale as Boro spent the final minutes protecting what was a fully deserved advantage on the balance of play.

The visitors were actually in front inside 10 minutes after Isaac Mbenza converted a free-kick from the edge of the box. Mbenza also sent a shot across the face of goal when Huddersfield threatened again moments later, but that was the last real threat the visitors possessed until deep into the second half.

Boro’s response to the early goal was to absolutely dominate the bulk of the game with some great football. Warnock’s side had what appeared to be a blatant penalty turned down when Juninho Bacuna pulled Watmore back, but referee Jeremy Simpson was unmoved. Watmore was also involved when he latched onto a quality pass to deliver a pull-back across the six-yard box, but no one was on hand to convert.

Huddersfield were under the cosh and Boro-born Jonathan Hogg bailed them out when he headed just over his own bar after Darnell Fisher floated a ball into the box. Schofield was helpless with that one, but he was able to collect when Grant Hall got up well to head on goal.

The leveller came on the half-hour and what a goal it was. Watmore picked up the ball on the touchline before skipping past one man, cutting inside another, and then delivering a pin-point strike into the far corner.

Boro had a goal disallowed before half-time when Grant Hall headed home a McNair free-kick, and the pummelling continued. A series of crosses and corners were scrambled away. Ashley Fletcher was also denied by a desperate block after great work by the lively Neeskens Kebano.

Boro’s reward came moments before the half-time whistle. Fisher was fouled by Lewis O’Brien and Fletcher converted the penalty for his first goal since September to make it 2-1.

The second half started as the first ended with Boro on the front foot and Huddersfield struggling to relieve the constant pressure. Schofield was on the receiving end of numerous back-passes as the visitors options were being limited by the hard working home side.

Boro’s delivery of set-pieces and crosses into the box was a constant source of threat as Warnock’s side pressed for a third goal. Watmore’s running was a menace and Marc Bola conjured up some great moments down the left.

Huddersfield had their occasional sorties in the second period, but Boro were organised and resolute and Marcus Bettinelli wasn’t troubled until the 75th minute when he reacted well to claw away a goalbound effort from Kieran Phillips.

Fraizer Campbell also wasted a decent chance after a cross somehow found its way across the box to the feet of the Huddersfield striker, but his finish was high and wide.

There were eight minutes remaining when Boro were reduced to 10 men after McNair received a straight red card for a challenge on the edge of the box despite him winning the ball.

The resultant free-kick went just over the top and the numerical advantage gave Huddersfield the impetus to set up a tense finale after being second best for much of the contest. 

The visitors hit the inside of the post and Bettinelli was called upon again to make a vital save, but anything other than three points for the home side would have represented a miscarriage of justice.