BORO created a flurry of good chances but could not make them count before getting caught late on to leak a killer goal against the run of play and slump to a 1-0 defeat to a team who had not won away all season. Who writes these scripts?
THERE will be a political time bomb ticking under the Boro dug-out tonight. If Boro fail to beat Leicester – preferably with a cavalier swagger and a bagful of goals – then it will go off.
Make no mistake, like the seconds evaporating while Gareth Southgate sweats over which wire to cut with his clippers, patience among punters is running out fast.
INSULT added to injury time… Boro were dealt a sucker punch in time added on for the touchline conference after Leroy Lita was pulled back by last man Ward two minutes from time. Gutted.
That said the game should have been closed out in the first half when Boro survived a shaky start to take complete control. They scored twice and could have had a few more then after the break had another couple of cracking chances to seal it.
Then a familiar slow motion retreat began, conceding space, time and the initiative and inviting pressure from a team that looked well beaten at the break. And after the first Coventry goal there was an air of inevitability about the outcome.
A point away is not a disaster but the powerless slide from a position of superiority was. Not only were two goals and two points squandered but also the chance to prove a point after the West Brom debacle. It has given the anti-Southgate bandwagon another hefty push and considerably raised the political stakes at home to Leicester on Tuesday.
WAS only half joking when I suggested the Gazette should have a “angry mob special” with free pitch-fork and burning torch for every reader.
In the wake of the shocking on-the-field implosion there was bound to be a passionate backlash from furious fans left shell-shocked by the debacle. Naturally as tempers boiled over there have been renewed demands for Gareth Southgate’s head and servers crashed as the message boards went into hyperbolic overload.
But put down the crude effigy and the rocks. Extinguish the fuse on the Molotov cocktail. Now is not the time to storm the Riverside Stadium.
WELL that was a pretty comprehensive kicking. Five goals and it could easily have been more. Boro started a point behind the Baggies but by the end the teams looked leagues apart. They were out-muscled and out-played but more worrying after the second goal lacked any belief that they could claw it back.
After a bright start they ran out of ideas and after leaking a “controversial” opener they lost their shape and concentration and started to go increasingly long, a move that played into the hands of West Brom’s defence and is far from Boro’s strong suit. By the end Boro were in disarray in every area of the pitch and were not playing as a team.
THE BATTLE with the Baggies is another big test and certainly the toughest game so far. It won’t be decisive – there is still a full Premiership season’s worth of games to go after this one – but it could be psychologically important.
BORO passed another landmark and crucial pyschological barrier with the impressive 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday. Boro showed a steely resolve to come back after leaking an opener within two minutes – the first time they had come from behind to win in the league for over two years.
The last time that happened in the league – and we all had to dig deep to remember – was at Fulham in August 2007 when Mido scored on his debut in a 2-1 win. There was one occasion in the FA Cup at Bristol in January 2008 but in the bread and butter games it has been a massive millstone knowing that if the oppostion score first that a point was the best we could hope for.
After ticking off those boxes – clean sheets, back-to-back wins, more than two goals in a game, away victories – it is another sign that Boro are developing the mental strength needed to mount a genuine Championship challenge. Bring it on.
THERE was a rare outbreak of chanting Jeremie Aliadiere’s theme song after two finely crafted goals from the man who used to be the next van Basten. It won’t radically alter his career stats but it was enough to help Boro see off a robust Ipswich just when the visitors looked to be clawing their way back into the game.
THAT was the week that never was…
So, we are up and running again after a frustrating spell abandoned in a layby on the information super-highway, silenced by circumstance at the worst possible time. My deadline day blog was a sad and lonely affair. Everyone knew it was on and there would be beer and everything but no-one turned up, a bit like Afonso’s leaving do.
But we have time to make up. Here’s what I would have said.
WITH the speed off the mark of Mido and the clinical finishing of Jeremie Aliadiere, the Gazette geeks have delivered and the blog is working again…. well almost.
I can write, you can post… but as yet you can’t see the comments through the front window. There are 12 at the time of writing but to read them – and respond too I hope – you will need to “do a Werdermouth” and first post a comment then hit the ‘preview’ button. Then the Boro PR cloak of concealment is ripped away and rare pearls of dissent and wisdom are presented. Convoluted and less than user friendly I know. I’ll get it tweaked back to normal as soon as possible but for now it will have to do.
I’ll write something later but in the meantime anyone who has a week’s worth of post-deadline angst to get off their chest, start ranting…. NOW!