Huddersfield Town still can’t feel totally comfortable over retaining their Championship status after defeat at promotion-chasing Middlesbrough.

A disappointing first-half display did for Town’s hopes of springing a shock at the Riverside, where Boro scored twice in as many minutes.

Town didn’t take care of the ball anything like well enough, and Grant Leadbitter drilled in a penalty before Gaston Ramirez grabbed a second with a neat solo effort.

David Wagner’s side showed a second-half improvement but couldn’t prevent Ramirez grabbing his second with a well-struck free-kick.

There were three changes for Town – with a rest for Philip Billing.

Video thumbnail, David Wagner analyses Middlesbrough defeat
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The Danish teenager, who looked a touch off the pace against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday, was on the bench with Emyr Huws recalled alongside Boro old boy Dean Whitehead, making his first return to the Riverside since his summer switch to Town.

Jamie Paterson, as hinted at by boss David Wagner during his pre-match press conference, returned in place of Karim Matmour.

And with on-loan Boro left-back James Husband ineligible against his parent club, Jason Davidson was duly drafted in.

The home side included former Town men Adam Clayton in midfield and Jordan Rhodes up front.

Town kept the ball effectively early on, but couldn’t prevent a fifth-minute Boro corner flighted in by Leadbitter, with Joel Lynch making a strong headed clearance.

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Lynch was then caught dawdling by Albert Adomah, who put in a dangerous delivery, only for Rhodes to produce a tame shot.

George Friend, the left-back keeping Husband out of the picture at the Riverside, got a firm head to a Stewart Downing free-kick, but Tommy Smith blocked and Town mopped up the danger.

Then Friend teed up Adomah, who had switched from right to left, but he miscued his drive and the ball was scrambled away.

A foul on Huws led to Town’s first real chance in the 24th minute, with the free-kick played square to Smith for a deep cross from which Mark Hudson’s header was saved by Dimi Konstantopoulos.

Middlesbrough's Jordan Rhodes challenges Huddersfield Town's Emyr Huws during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough.

Skipper Hudson made a good clearing header from another Adomah delivery and Jed Steer a fine save from Rhodes before Boro’s two-goal blast.

Lynch’s foul on Ramirez, the tricky Uruguayan forward on loan from Southampton, gave home skipper Leadbitter the chance to strike from the penalty spot in the 32nd minute.

Then, soon after the restart, Ramirez intercepted a Whitehead pass and romped through to round Steer and fire home.

Town were looking decidedly shaky, and Hudson cleared as Ramirez sparked another attack before Friend’s delivery flew across the face of goal with Rhodes unable to get a touch.

Middlesbrough v Huddersfield Town. Sky Bet Championship. Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough. Dean Whitehead.

Town made a better start to the second half, with Huws heading over from a corner before Joe Lolley had a free-kick saved.

But Boro were still lively, and good play by Friend and Rhodes set up Leadbitter for a shot which floated just over before Steer saved from Adomah at close range.

Paterson the miscued when well placed, much to the delight of the home fans in a 24,669 crowd which included 613 Town fans.

Town were making a better fist of things than in the first period and with Clayton down injured after a tackle by Huws, Lolley fired over the bar from distance in the 66th minute.

Town made their first substitution in the 71st minute, when on-loan Wolves forward Rajiv van La Parra replaced Wells and Bunn was pushed up front to look for a consolation.

But the game was put out of reach by Boro in the 77th minute when Ramirez scored direct from a free-kick after a foul on Rhodes.

Billing replaced Whitehead and Sean Scannell went on for Lolley to make his 150th Town appearance, but in a far from memorable match.