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Middlesbrough 2-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 29th Dec 2018 16:57

Jordan Hugill netted a contentious 37th-minute penalty and sub Marcus Tavernier added a second on 72 as Middlesbrough beat Town 2-0 at the Riverside Stadium. The Blues had the better of the few first-half chances but found themselves behind from the spot after Jordan Spence was adjudged to have fouled Hugill, with Tavernier’s goal sealing the three points in the second half.

Myles Kenlock was handed his first appearance under Paul Lambert having returned from an ankle injury with Jonas Knudsen dropping to the bench, the first time the Blues boss had made a change to his back four since taking charge.

Gwion Edwards took over from Grant Ward, who is out for at least nine months having suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury at QPR, on the right of the front three with Kayden Jackson coming in for Ellis Harrison, who dropped to the bench, down the middle.

Former Blue Grant Leadbitter wasn’t in the Boro 18 - but wandered into the press room before the match - while Town target Rudy Gestede was among the Teessiders’ subs.

The home side were first to threaten in the fifth minute, Jonny Howson finding space on the right of the box before hitting a shot which deflected wide off Kenlock.

There were no further opportunities at either end in the opening 10 minutes but with a scrappy affair largely being played in Town’s half, although with Boro rarely being able to break into the final third.

On 11, a Lewis Wing freekick from the right was cleared out to Stewart Downing and the former England international hit an effort from the edge of the box which looped over Dean Gerken’s crossbar.

The Blues created their first chance of the game in the 13th minute. After good work from Flynn Downes and Jon Nolan, Kenlock cut in from the left and played a clever reverse pass in to Freddie Sears who hit a low shot which Boro keeper Darren Randolph claimed comfortably.

Trevoh Chalobah was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 18th minute for pulling back George Saville having lost possession as the Blues looked to pass their way out of defence, far from the first time Town had given away the ball in such circumstances during the opening spell.

In the aftermath of the freekick, Teessiders’ skipper George Friend blazed over, then in the 22nd minute one-time Blues target Hugill shot high and wide at the end of a pacy Boro attack.

Two minutes later, Randolph palmed over a looping Luke Chambers header from the edge of the box, then from the resultant corner on the right the Blues almost took the lead.

Nolan sent the ball over and Chalobah headed goalwards only for Randolph to dive across to his right and get a strong arm on the ball to divert what looked set to be the opening goal past the post.

Town began to pass the ball around confidently but without getting into threatening areas. Boro meanwhile were getting scruffier, losing the ball needlessly much to the frustration of their fans.

Spence shot well over from distance for the Blues on 31, then two minutes later Hugill volleyed over for the home side after Town had made heavy weather of clearing a Wing freekick in from the right.

Saville struck a not overly taxing effort straight at Gerken from 25 yards in the 35th minute - their first effort on target - to sarcastic cheers from the home fans.

But two minutes later the Boro support were cheering the game’s opening goal. A cross was sent over from the right and Spence was somewhat harshly adjudged to have hauled Hugill to the ground as they challenged for the aerial ball.

Referee Jeremy Simpson, an official never shy to award a penalty having given three in Town’s game at Reading a couple of seasons ago, pointed straight to the spot. After the Blues had made their obvious frustrations known, Hugill beat Gerken to give the Teessiders a lead they hadn’t really deserved.

Downes joined Chalobah in the book for a frustrated foul on Aden Flint in the 39th minute, then in first-half injury time the Blues almost levelled.

Jackson robbed Flint on the Town left then fed Nolan, who played the ball in to Sears, whose reverse shot was blocked by the advancing Randolph. Nolan might well have been better off playing in Edwards, who was breaking into the box on the right.

The Blues could count themselves a touch unlucky to be behind at the break after a half in which they’d had the better of the few chances with Randolph the keeper forced to make the more decisive saves.

Boro’s fans were beginning to express their frustrations with their side more vocally when referee Simpson gave them what looked at best a generous penalty.

The early period of the second half returned to the scruffiness of much of the first with chances continuing to be rare at both ends.

On 53 Blues Chambers read a low ball played across the area for Wing and was caught on the ankle by the Boro midfielder as he cleared. The Blues skipper looked in a great deal of pain and received treatment on the pitch before continuing, much to the relief of the Town management and support.

Town were finding themselves under increasing pressure as the hour mark approached and in the 59th minute Boro went close to their second goal. Saville found Hugill in space on the left of the box but Gerken pawed his goalbound effort away.

Moments later, Downes appeared to catch Saville as he broke into the area, an incident which at first viewing looked more of a penalty than the one awarded in the first half, but on this occasion referee Simpson waved away the home side’s protests.

Boro sub Marcus Tavernier was yellow-carded for pulling back Spence on the Blues right on 66, soon after having replaced Downing. The freekick ultimately came to nothing but Town were beginning play more of the game in the Boro half.

The Blues swapped Jackson for Jordan Roberts in the 71st minute but before the former Crawley man could make an impact the Teessiders doubled their lead.

Howson found Tavernier breaking into the area on the left and the England U20 international hit a low shot which somehow snuck under Gerken and into the net with the keeper clearly frustrated that he had allowed it past him.

Andre Dozzell replaced Nolan in the Town midfield for the final 11 minutes with the game looking all but over.

Gerken claimed Hugill’s looping header from Friend’s cross in the 81st minute, then on 87 the Blues keeper made a double save, stopping sub Adam Clayton’s well-struck shot from the edge of the box, then grabbing Friend’s deflected follow-up at the second attempt.

Town created their best chance of the half in the 89th minute, Kenlock crossing from the left and Roberts heading wide of Randolph’s left post.

In injury time, Gerken saved well from Wing who really should have made it 3-0 having been found in space eight yards out, then Friend headed well over.

Seconds before the whistle, Gerken made an even more impressive save to deny Hugill, flying away to his left to tip what was a header bound for the corner of the net wide.

Having been unfortunate in the first half, the Blues rarely threatened in the second and once Boro had established their two-goal lead - their second another goal which looked very preventable - there was little doubt where the points would go, a familiar scenario in recent weeks. In the end only a succession of excellent Gerken saves stopped the margin of victory from being more significant.

The gap to safety remains at seven points, Bristol City having scored a late winner at home to 21st-placed Rotherham, but Millwall, who Town host in a vital game at Portman Road on New Year's Day, are now 10 points ahead of the Blues in 20th.

Middlesbrough: Randolph, Friend (c), Ayala (Batth 90), Hugill, Howson, Downing (Tavernier 61), Fry, Saville, Flint, Wing, Besic (Clayton 86). Unused: Lonergan, Assombalonga, McNair, Gestede.

Town: Gerken, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Kenlock, Chalobah, Nolan (Dozzell 79), Downes, Edwards, Sears, Jackson (Roberts 71). Unused: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Harrison, Bishop, Nsiala. Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire). Att: 23,334 (Town: 362).

Photo: Action Images

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Bluearmy_81 added 17:03 - Dec 29
Hurst 14 games Evans 10 years...... Blame Hurst!!! 😂😂😂

Erics_size_5s added 17:03 - Dec 29
January can't come quick enough. Evans, over to you.

runningout added 17:04 - Dec 29
Weaknesses a plenty. Still love em, but time for big changes. Not one or two

H1960 added 17:05 - Dec 29
Usual crap I was not expecting anything else, let's face it we are doomed, hardly worth Evans spending in January we may as well save in readiness to regroup in the summer, back up Lambert and give him the support he needs to take us forward again.

churchmans81 added 17:05 - Dec 29
Well, that’s that then unless we can sign Steve McQueen and the young American Italian lad, Houdini to play up front when the transfer window opens. 🚜⚽️

oxfordblue added 17:06 - Dec 29
Surely PL can,t come out now and say we are playing well we just need some help, we are going down and at this rate I don’t think we will get 30 points.
Also I’m not sure there are any players left to tell us that the atmosphere is really good, if I performed at work like they have i would be on the dole

thundercat600 added 17:07 - Dec 29
So, they wanted that Dinosaur MM and his side kick out and replaced with a young dynamic up and coming manager did they. Well you got what you wished for on both accounts and look where Ipswich Town is now, one thing is for sure, you Mick out brigade will never admit that your actions against MM have proven to be a disaster.

barrystedmunds added 17:07 - Dec 29
Ever the optimist, but I’m not seeing us coming back from this! We are, quite simply, awful! We are where we deserve to be and if, and it’s a massive IF, PL somehow keeps us in this league, he’ll be far more deserving of a gong then Harry Kane!!

martin587 added 17:08 - Dec 29
Once again we had more percentage of the game and just cannot create chances.Stupid penalty to give away,the ball was going away from there player.
It all depends now just who Paul can get in to improve the squad.Long shot I know but we are still in it.I won’t give up until the fat lady sings,but it don’t look good.
Long sad drive home,once again.🙉

Kirbmeister added 17:11 - Dec 29
January can’t come quick enough? Who is going to sign in January - no one. A couple of has beens on loan, but no one will sign permanently knowing they’ll be scratching around in league 1 next season. We’re not even decent league 1 standard. Absolute sh..e

warwickblue added 17:12 - Dec 29
No-one realistically expected us to come away with points from Boro and, other than that, we're basically no worse off than we were this morning. If - and it's a big if - we can get in three experienced players in the next couple of weeks, we are still in with a chance of staying up. There are three or four other equally poor teams. It will be close, I admit but it can be done.

compton added 17:12 - Dec 29
Mr Evans you have stewed is big time

carlo88 added 17:12 - Dec 29

ArnieM added 17:13 - Dec 29
I think this season we have to conceeed this is finally our lot at this level. We are having virtually no rub of the green in any games that I’ve seen. In fact quite reverse. But the hard fact is we are simply not good enough. Our ma8n issue is the loss of ALL our strikers, and a lower league manage4 who brought in wholesale lower league players to change the squad from a Championship side to a league one side. And that is where we are going.

I’ve personally now given up all dim hope of staying up and I honestly feel we should be preparing now for a rebuild job under Lambert in League one. Dont waste money trying to bring in injury prone or journeyman loanees in the vain hope of staying up. It simply isn’t going to happen.

parkinshair added 17:13 - Dec 29
I don't think even the most optimistic town fan expected anything other than defeat today. Our fate is effectively sealed and it's league one football next season.
It's a shame that the Hurst appointment failed so spectacularly. On paper it was what we all hoped for, but Evans should have done due diligence a little better before employing a sociopath in a tracksuit. Be careful what you wish for will haunt us, but there was no way we could continue with McCarthy. Speaking to a Norwich fan he drew comparisons with how they felt about Hughton. It's easy to judge when you're not being served up nose to the grindstone football every week.
I'm confident Lambert will take us forwards but you would need to be a miracle worker to stop the backwards step we had already taken when he took us on.

compton added 17:13 - Dec 29
Sorry us big time

Northstandveteran added 17:15 - Dec 29
At least relegation will mean a mass clear out of the worst squad in the history of Ipswich town football club and perhaps allow us to start again with our youngsters who know how to win.

The post code for Walsall f.c is WS9 9PQ.

Can't wait 😒

ArnieM added 17:15 - Dec 29
thundercat: I suspect you are SO VERY HAPPY tonight. Well done mate.

goat_man added 17:16 - Dec 29
The worry for me is that we're actually not even at League One level. It's going to have to be a serious clear out next summer and then we'll start poorly and it'll all be about how we need to time to gel blar blar blar

Bluearmy_81 added 17:19 - Dec 29
So, they wanted that Dinosaur MM and his side kick out and replaced with a young dynamic up and coming manager did they. Well you got what you wished for

And still some can't see the true cause of our demise!! Wake up FFS its EVANS!!!

ITFCsince73 added 17:21 - Dec 29
Possibly the worst day in clubs history??
I personally can’t think of a worse day in 40 + years.
Do I wish Mick was still here?
You must be bloody joking!!

NSL added 17:29 - Dec 29
Thundercat600 is a banker

Nobbysnuts added 17:29 - Dec 29
Well one good thing is that's another game nearer the end of this miserable season. Please let it be over. Absolute sh#te.

TimmyH added 17:32 - Dec 29
Well there you have it...if Boro could have chosen a club to play against when their chips were down it would have been us, how many times over recent years have we given up points to such teams and certainly worse who are out of form whether home or away - I've lost count. Sounded like we played okay 1st half THEN have a penalty on us to rebuild your confidence and game over.

Big big home games coming up against Millwall and Rotherham which could define the rest of the season!

dirtydingusmagee added 17:35 - Dec 29
again expected result,so its no change we still have to win the Millwall and Rotherham games, that hope still there ,but its got to happen,anything short then thats it im afraid ..


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