THE MOGGANAUT rolls on. Battling Boro stood up to a physical Leeds, shrugged off the disruptive arbitary justice of a referee who had lost the plot and finished the opposition off with a sizzling angled shot by Dreadlocked Destroyer Marvin Emnes.
Before the game Leeds fans were revolting over penny-pinching Ken Bates stewardship. A crowd of about 500 gathered outside the main stand and chanted “Bates Out” and at one point zeroed in on the doorman and accused him: “Your suit’s from Matalan.” The anger continued through the game as they vented their spleen at the referee and a string of decisions that had the crowd howling then after the goal again turned on the owner. But they could have little complaint at the result.
Boro only won 1-0 but it was comfortable. And it is no flash in the pan. have now lost just one in 15, haven’t failed to score since early March and have won three away games on the bounce for the first time since 2004. All without spending a penny. The transformation has been incredible.
Not least the transformation in Boro’s ability to go toe-to-toe with the Championship’s bruisers. Not just Leeds, who to be fair were wound up as much by the ineptitude of the ref as by any pre-determined strategy, but also Portsmouth in the opener. A year ago Boro were easily bullied out of those kind of games. Not now. There is a new steely mental strength and a confidence in their ability to keep going and to get a goal.
Ten yellows and three reds tells its own story. It was tetchy, niggly affair that simmered throughout and frequently threatened to boil over, although the referee created as much tension as he diffused with his often erratic decisions. Leeds will feel more aggrieved overall but Boro too weren’t happy either. Tony McMahon was very harshly treated, the foul for his second yellow and then red – “he’s just levelllng it up” was the consensus – was nowhere near as bad as many other fouls from both sides that were ignored but Joe Bennett and Rhys Williams can count themselves lucky their own transgressions went unpunished. They were clearly seen.
It was hard going at times. Leeds had the best of the opening spell and a couple of decent chances – the best an audacious 35 chip from Clayton that had Ikeme back-pedalling to tip over – and Boro were on the back foot.
Then in the spell in the first half where they had an extra man, over eager Boro were in too much of a hurry to get the ball forward and lost their shape and their way, although even then Emnes had a great effort from a twisting header turned over and Justin Hoyte had a stinging effort fumbled onto the woodwork.
But in the second half when they were given the numerical advantage again they were more far calculating in their approach, more patient in their passing as they tried to pick their way through the depleted defence and looked more determined to take the game to Leeds. It was very professional and solid.
The introduction of Julio Arca was a turning point in that respect. With the extra space going forward afforded by the red cards and an under-populated pitch he buzzed about and pushed through some deft killer short passes that carved Leeds open, including sending Emnes surging forward for the goal.
The strike when it came was worth waiting for: an assertive run to the byline in the box, a sublime check inside to lose his man and carve out a space then an unstoppable angled rocket into the far top corner that sparked a jubilant bout of EIOing among the Tees travellers. Rehabilitated Emnes is fast becoming a Boro legend.
There were nail-biting moments towards the end – Nicky Bailey hooked one goalbound looping header off the line, there was a late aerial assault and some scrappy stuff in the box – but Boro held firm and in truth should have made it comfortable with at least one more as McDonald, Martin and then Arca had late chances, the latter well saved.
It has been a productive and encouraging start to the season with a lot of positives even though the team has yet to really click. Emnes apart it has been solid rather than spectacular. That’s no bad thing. Bring on Barnsley.
ALL aboard the #mogganaut. I hope everyone who has made the leap into the twittersphere is enjoying the #borolive experience. Rowdy hashtag Holgate.
TO MARK the passing of 70s small screen giant Robert Robinson and celebrate a more gentle and cerebral dinner party chatterati quiz-show (rather than one packed full of vacant android “celebrities” and badly dressed flavour of the month smutty yoof comedians) we’ve been playing Call My Boro Bluff over on Twitter. Here’s some of those witty definitions we’ve come up with so far. Feel free to join in at #callmyborobluff
Ziege: a secret clause hidden in contract allowing unscrupulous cynical third party in on the scam to rip off your assets.
Digard: something that looks hard-wearing and robust but when used always breaks down and needs repairs.
Fleming: an apologetic gesture, usually a sheepishly raised arm, after a blunder seen by thousands.
Strachan: Scots word, derived from gaelic, meaning ‘surprisingly difficult.’
Slaven: an act of creative pessimism; to actively search for the black lining in the silver cloud of any situation.
Debeve: Having a borrow of someone’s girlfriend and having the best few months of your life.
Shawky: the cheap unwanted extra item a shop tries to sell you insisting it will get the best out of a more expensive buy.
Pallister: Something sold for sound financial reasons then bought back later at a higher price, for sentimental ones.
Ashcroft: a missed opportunity that seems trivial at the time but is later revealed to have disastrous consequences.
Doriva: impersonating a glamorous carnival location when you are really a South Yorkshire pit village
Ricketts: the act of stopping for fast food on the way to and back from work.
Viduka: mysterious and untreatable condition which prevents the sufferer from working during the winter months.
Reiziger: legal loophole that forces an employer to pay full contracted wage in spite of substandard service
McMahon. A flash-less, yet very useful device. Attributes include solidity, accuracy, leadership and love of the Boro.
Lamb: a miscommunication caused by a dodgy fax machine.
Emnes: something which originaly fails to impress but given time begins to prosper!
Afonso: an expensive purchase that initially seems beneficial, but ends up being horrifically overpriced.