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Middlesbrough 0-0 Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 23rd Apr 2016 15:59

Town’s game at Middlesbrough remains 0-0 at the break with the home side having had most of the first-half chances.

Boss Mick McCarthy handed on-loan Barnsley defender Paul Digby his first league start for the Blues at right-sided centre-half alongside Tommy Smith with Christophe Berra out due to a knee injury.

The Sheffield-born loanee had previously made three sub appearances for Town in the league in addition to two FA Cup starts. For Barnsley he had made 11 senior starts and 14 appearances from the bench.

McCarthy made four changes in total with Luke Hyam, David McGoldrick and Kevin Bru also starting, while Andre Dozzell, Brett Pitman and Jonathan Douglas dropped to the bench, alongside Teddy Bishop, who played his first 90 minutes of the season for the U21s at Sheffield United on Monday.

Hyam joined Cole Skuse in the deeper central roles with Bru ahead of them and McGoldrick up front in the middle with Liam Feeney on the right and Freddie Sears on the right.

Second-placed Middlesbrough started with Jordan Rhodes up front, while David Nugent was on the bench.

The Teessiders, who were skippered by ex-Town captain Grant Leadbitter, made one change with Ritchie De Laet replacing hamstring injury victim George Friend at left-back.

In blustery conditions the Blues began the game on top and in the fifth minute McGoldrick turned a shot to Boro keeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos from just inside the box.


But the home side quickly began to take charge, Bartosz Bialkowski claiming a cross from Albert Adomah, then Digby clearing a ball in from the left from Stewart Downing.

The Teessiders had the ball in the net in the eighth minute after a freekick taken by Leadbitter on the left but referee Darren Bond had already called them back to take it again. When it was retaken, Leadbitter’s ball across just evaded Rhodes lurking at the far post.

With the home side now very much on top and with the home crowd making plenty of noise, there was a moment of indecision between Digby and Bialkowski as they sought to deal with a ball forward on 11, but the youngster was able to clear his lines.

Bialkowski kept the scores level with another excellent save in the 15th minute after Rhodes had nodded down an Adomah cross from the right to Downing, who found himself space before hitting a well-struck shot which the Polish keeper stop down to his left.

Moments later, Feeney broke away for Town on the right and sent over a low ball which Hyam bundled wide at the near post.

But Boro were still having much the better of it and in the 21st minute Smith diverted a corner back towards his own goal but straight at Bialkowski, who claimed.

On 28 Digby failed to judge a wind-affected high ball played into a corner and was dispossessed by De Laet, who he caught in the chest with a boot.

Following the freekick the Teessiders went close again, Rhodes crossing from the left of the box to Adomah at the far post, but the Ghanaian international nodded wide. Two minutes later Hyam picked up the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Rhodes.

Boro should have gone in front in the 34th minute when Gaston Ramirez played Rhodes in on goal, but Bialkowski stood his ground and got down to his left to palm the ex-Town striker’s shot wide.

Shortly after the resultant corner, Adomah whipped over another teasing cross from the right which Rhodes just failed to reach.

Town were pinned back in their half and at times were defending desperately, not least when Digby, already grounded having bought a dummy, somehow stretched out a boot to thwart Emilio Nsue after he had been played in on goal.

As the half moved into injury time Jonas Knudsen diverted Adam Clayton’s cross from the left wide ahead of Adomah. From the corner, Ben Gibson looped a header wide. Soon afterwards referee Bond brought the half to a close.

Aside from the opening five minutes it had been almost all Boro and they will feel they should have been ahead as they left the field.

The Blues had spent much of the period defending inside their box with Bialkowski forced into two important saves.

Full Blues league debutant Digby had had one or two tough moments in what weren’t easy conditions but had similarly made important challenges and had grown in confidence as the half wore on.

Midfielder Teddy Bishop spent half-time warming up with fitness coach Andy Liddell and looks set to be introduced towards the start of the second half.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos, Nsue, Ayala, Gibson, De Laet, Clayton, Leadbitter (c), Adomah, Ramirez, Downing, Rhodes. Subs: Agazzi, Nugent, Forshaw, Kalas, Stuani, Husband, De Sart.

Town: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers (c), Smith, Digby, Skuse, Hyam, Bru, Feeney, Sears, McGoldrick. Subs: Gerken, Foley, Bishop, Dozzell, Douglas, Pringle, Pitman. Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire).


Photo: Action Images



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jas0999 added 16:02 - Apr 23
Lucky to be level, but MM will be delighted I suspect.
1

Mick_Mills_Tache added 16:15 - Apr 23
Final Score are describing it as attackers vs defenders. Think that just sums everything about MM up. Bart already man of the match it seems. 1 shot in 60 mins again says it all. Only a matter of time until they get that goal!
3

Bluetone added 16:41 - Apr 23
Sort of adult version of "three goals in"
0


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