RUBBISH game, great result. Two pennas, three points. Scrappy as hell and some scary moments but hey, we’re back in it because all the other results – and all the breaks – went our way. Blackpool slipped up and so did Cardiff… which makes next week massive.
MATCHDAY fun and frolics here, live and direct from stuttering Boro’s crunch clash with QPR. Feel free to make wildly inaccurate stabs at pre-match punditry and we’ll have a laugh at them later. You can also post your post match rants here.
NO CUTTING edge. Still. After bemoaning blunt Boro’s lack of firepower the gaffer spent much of January courting strikers and brought in three. And still we can’t score.
TWO steps forward one step back. Two back maybe.
After a slow and steady six game unbeaten run had fostered an unaccustomed bubbling optimism based on Boro’s new found steel we have been given a harsh reality check by Blackpool. Again.
BORO were laboured, scrappy and lucky. Passes went astray, they lacked urgency and the fluid movement of late and they needed a huge slice of good fortune to hold on against a rock bottom side who haven’t even scored away from home let alone won as the ball landed to Simpson eight yards out in stoppage time and he blasted it straight at Wheater.
But isn’t it great to be moaning about winning ugly than moaning about defeat?
VIC (heart) WILLO.
I was accused at half-time of wanting a ‘bromance’ with Leprechaun livewire Willo Flood. To be fair I have been gushing over my new favourite player in the press lounge over the past few games. Gary O’Neil is so last year. Willo runs. He tackles. He fouls. He excites. He dribbles. He chases. He snaps at heels and runs 30 yards applying a half Nelson. He plays on both flanks and in both boxes. He scores from outrageous angles. He passes. He is like the Irish Juninho. Except for that passing bit obviously.
THINGS looked bad before kick-off. The slow bubble of pre-match optimism faded fast with the news that Scott McDonald hadn’t travelled and turned to panic as the team-sheet appeared. Justin Hoyte in central midfiled? What madness is this? Andrew Taylor back in the team in the vacant Adam Johnson berth.
Things looked worse as Ipswich scored after 22 seconds in a moment of disjointed defensive chaos. And in the spell that followed it looked as if the roof would cave in as Ipswich piled forward in waves,ripping down a fragile Boro left flank and peppering the box with balls that were being desperately, untidily, frantically scrambled away. We were so bad that Daryl Murphy and David Healy looked good.
HERE we go for the real start of the Strachanovite revolution. With seven new recruits in January plus a hardcore of the old team having bought into the new ethic of hard work, a high line, an emphasis on patient retention in the middle, closing quickly and 96 minutes of concentration and determination, this is now very much Strachan’s side.
At Ipswich the most important part of the jigsaw – the much needed front man who is supposed to score the goal – is dropped into place as Scott McDonald is set for his debut. Fellow new boy Lee Miller may be alongside him, expererienced Steve McManus will add the leadership qualities at the back and Kyle Naughton – who was excellent in this league last year – will probably go in at right-back.
HERE we go again: the transfer window bring and buy scramble again and where the last few have been tumble weed affairs this one could get a bit busy.
I’ll try and keep you updated as the day unfolds and news comes in from our bank of telephones and the official Hurworth hotline. It will be like Sky Sports News only without the rolling yellow ticker tape. Or a frozen looking bloke stood shivering to camera.
So read on….