Middlesbrough 2-1 Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 14th Mar 2015 13:27
Daryl Murphy scored his 23rd goal of the season but Town find themselves 2-1 behind to Middlesbrough at the Riverside at the break. The home side went in front through Daniel Ayala in the fourth minute in an incident which saw Blues keeper Dean Gerken stretchered off having undergone lengthy treatment, Murphy equalised on 11, then Albert Adomah restored the Teessiders’ lead on the half hour.
Teddy Bishop replaced Richard Chaplow in an otherwise unchanged Town side with the on-loan Millwall man dropping to the bench.
Bishop started in the centre of midfield with Jay Tabb moving to the left and Jonny Parr to the right.
Gerken, whose wife gave birth yesterday, continued in goal with Bartosz Bialkowski on the bench with Paddy Kenny also having made the trip.
Kevin Bru was back on amongst the subs after his knee injury, while Stephen Hunt travelled having recovered from his hamstring problem but was not in the 18. David McGoldrick remained in Suffolk but is likely to be in the squad for the home game against Bolton on Tuesday.
Boro were the first to threaten in the third minute when Adam Clayton chipped a quick freekick behind the Blues’ backline to Adam Reach, but skipper Luke Chambers did superbly to get back to stab the ball away from the midfielder. Referee Mike Jones waved away Boro claims for a penalty.
But from the resultant corner on the left, the home side went in front. The flag-kick was played short to Clayton, who sent the ball over and, as Gerken and Christophe Berra collided with one another, former Norwich man Daniel Ayala headed home in front of team-mate George Friend.
Following the goal, Gerken required seven minutes of treatment on the pitch and was eventually carried off on a stretcher with his neck in his brace while being administered oxygen. Bartosz Bialkowski took over in goal.
Before Gerken had made it to the tunnel, the Blues were on terms. Berra’s header found Parr midway inside the Boro half and the Norwegian turned and brought the ball forward before hitting a powerful shot to Dimi Konstantopoulos’s left.
The keeper got across to save but parried the ball back towards the centre of his goal, from where Murphy stabbed his 23rd goal of the season into the roof of the net.
It had been a remarkable start to the game with Town’s goal having come only 26 seconds of actual playing time after Boro’s.
The Blues were a whisker from going in front in the 21st minute when Tabb cut the ball back from the left and it fell to Murphy, who hit a powerful strike on the turn which struck a defender, then Freddie Sears before trickling onto the post and into Konstantopoulos’s arms.
After Jonathan Woodgate had replaced goalscorer Ayala - who had been a pre-match doubt with a thigh injury - Cole Skuse smashed a low shot which was deflected wide. From Tabb’s left-sided corner, Murphy headed over.
Tommy Smith picked up the game’s first booking for a foul on Tomas Kalas in the 28th minute, Chambers heading clear former Blues skipper Grant Leadbitter’s lofted freekick.
But two minutes later the home side were back in front. After a well-worked corner on the left, the ball eventually found Adomah on the edge of the box and, as Mings sought to close him down, the Ghanaian international hit a low strike which caught Berra on its way past Bialkowski and into the net.
Bishop’s 33rd minute strike was claimed comfortably by Konstantopoulos, then three minutes later Murphy headed another Tabb corner from the left over the bar.
Town threatened again on 39 from another Tabb left-sided flag-kick. After Mings had failed to get enough on his header, Berra returned the ball from the right and Sears’s hooked effort was blocked.
As the half moved into its final five minutes Adomah shot over from the Boro left, then Bishop screwed an effort wide from the edge of the area after another Blues corner, again on the left.
Town continued to look the more threatening side. With a minute of scheduled first-half time remaining Bishop skipped across the Boro area but saw his effort snuffed out, then Sears following up had his strike blocked.
As the half moved into eight minutes of injury time Bishop was shown his first senior yellow card for catching Friend as they challenged for an aerial ball.
The second of two Bishop corners from the right culminated in Berra’s over-head kick running through to Konstantopoulos, then Patrick Bamford claimed a penalty when challenged by Berra but referee Jones waved away his lengthy protests. Replays suggested the on-loan Chelsea man had a good case.
Just before the whistle finally came, Adomah hit a shot on the turn which was blocked by Mings.
On the balance of the half Town shouldn’t have been behind having been on top for the most part. However, after failing to defend Boro’s only two corners, they could hardly complain about the scoreline.
Having gone behind to Ayala’s goal and lost Gerken to his injury, the Blues reacted well, although Konstantopoulos will feel he ought to have done better with Parr’s shot which led to Murphy’s goal.
After conceding the second goal, the Blues had looked the more likely scorers, although without creating any clear-cut opportunities.
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Kalas, Ayala (Woodgate 24), Gibson, Friend, Leadbitter, Clayton, Adomah, Reach, Bamford, Vossen. Subs: Ripley, Forshaw, Nsue, Whitehead, Tomlin, Kike.
Town: Gerken (Bialkowski 10), Chambers (c), Mings, Smith, Berra, Skuse, Bishop, Parr, Tabb, Murphy, Sears. Subs: Clarke, Anderson, Chaplow, Bru, Varney, Wood. Referee: Mike Jones (Chester).
Photo: Action Images
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