Sunday, 24 January 2010
Middlesbrough vs Swansea 23/1/10
Boro 1 - Swansea 1
An overcast and chilly day at the Riverside stadium was to be the setting for Boro's lowest league attendance of the 2009/10 Championship season. A mere 16,516 Boro fans held tickets for the first of a long list of 'must win' games in a push to propel the team up the league, and back into the Premiership.
Boro started the game with all the available senior players on the pitch, not all match fit, and a bench made up of youngsters. Despite this Boro made a positive start to the game, with home débutante Willo Flood looking lively down the right wing. Leroy Lita came close to opening the scoring on a couple of occasions whilst the other home débutante Chris Killen was a little quieter.
Half time came with polite applause from the home crowd as Boro went back to the dressing room, ruing the missed earlier chances, and believing that they had done enough to be leading at this point.
As we have seen so many times this season after the interval Boro started sluggishly, and this led to Pintado taking the lead for the visitors after 47 minutes. The crowd fell silent, especially in the knowledge that in the last 100 games Boro have only come from behind to win once.
Boro began to work their way back into the game, when in the 58th minute a miss hit Willo Flood cross flew into the back of the net, bemusing the fans and players alike. As the game wore on it opened up slightly, with both teams unlucky not to get a winner, but in the end the result stayed the same and Boro strode off the field unbeaten in the last two league home games, and possibly showed signs that the ship is steadying, despite the injury crisis.
It was good to see Joe Bennett come on at left back, and he did seem to make a positive impact when he was introduced, which left me wondering if it was time to stick him in the starting eleven and begin games with a more attacking mentality at home.
The anti-Strachanites will have left the ground unhappy, and no doubt calling for his head down the pub later that night, but for me the performance showed signs of improvement, and for the first time in a while give me the belief that with a proven Championship striker up front alongside Lita we might have a chance at putting a bit of a run together.
Coyne - 7
Riggott – 7
Wheater – 6
Hoyte – 6
McMahon – 5
Flood – 7
Johnson – 6
Arca – 6
O'Neil – 7
Lita – 6
Killen – 5
L Williams - 6
Bennett - 6
Grounds - 6
Boro Man of the Match - Willo Flood
Attendance - 16,847
Game Highlight - Flood made a positive start in first half and rounded off his day with a goal, even if it was a fluke. Also Killen despite not doing much did show signs that he can hold the ball up which is something we have been lacking for some time.
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