Battling Boro Show Steel In Derby Draw

FANTASTIC entertainment. Not the most polished performance granted, but a great full-blooded scrap and the epitome of an old-fashioned FA Cup clash played in an electric hostile atmosphere with no quarter given. Tackles, blood and snot flying around – and teeth – and plenty to write into the annals of derby folklore – not least the presence of David Wheater in the midst of 3,000 Teessiders stood chanting for the full 90. I can’t wait for the replay.

Boro were excellent value for the draw and evn probably deserved to edge a win. With a few players out, a couple of inserted into unusual positions and a new look brave line-up with three up front they could easily have come unstuck but in fact they set the pace for long spells and were never over-awed by an in-form Premier League side.
With the physicality and aerial power of Jutkiewicz adding an extra element up front and McDonald and Emnes dropping deep and buzzing about behind him Boro had plenty going forward. They created a couple of decent chances as well as the goal. Juke had a few good opportinities to become an instant hero and open his account in a derby, not least before his double effort on the stroke of half-time, and he gave the two former Man United centre backs (and Turner when he came on too) a torrid time. That bodes well..
Boro had the edge in midfield with Robson omnipotent in a textbook display of box-to-box battling, Sadly with Lee Cattermole pulling out with injury we were denied the krakatoan explosion between the pair that harnessed could solve the Western world’s looming energy crisis. Williams slotted in neatly into the engine room and playing some deft stuff and Faris Haroun – awful in his past few outings – was magnificent in a display of perpetual motion on the right. Boro never let them settle.
At the back there were spells of uncertainty and the odd wobble but with Seb Hines in the middle (further nudging Steve McManus towards the exit door?) and Justin Hoyte in the unaccustomed left back slot (thus giving Joe Bennett a timely rocket up his pants?) it was always going to be a bit clunky. It worked. Just about. There were a couple of jitters and scrambles and twice in the first half Coyne had to make good saves from James McClean but the expected long spells of pressure didn’t materialise.
Sunderland’s goal was against the run of play – in fact it was from a corner cock up when Boro opted for an over elaborate short set-play (possibly based on the Burnley one that caught us cold a few weeks ago?) when they had a centre-back off the pitch and it should have been thrown in the mixer.
It was poorly executed and Emnes weak toe poke into the box was easily pumped clear then Barry Robson’s square ball when he tried to tidy up – and should have row zedded – was a disaster. His underhit pass back towards Hoyte was easily cut out and set Sunderland surging forward for their leveller. No wonder he threw the Man of the Match champagne in the bin in protest and self-disgust.
Sunderland did have some good spells and will no doubt moan about the “goal” that was ruled out for offside but could easily have been equally disallowed for handball. Take your pick, it wasn’t a goal. In the first 20 minutes of so Sessignon was a livewire and there were some hairy moments. Then late on McClean had a sizzling spell and looked their liveliest player but, again, they rarely did enough to force their way through.
Boro defendied bravely – Wiliams got a nut in the mouth and looked to have lost a tooth – and in numbers. They threw their bodies in the way, battled and generally coped well.
The Sunderland press pack were keen to point out that they had had an off day. Equally you could say that they were reverting to type and the poor side assembled by Steve Bruce was shining through the veneer of the Martin O’Neill revival. Whatever, credit has to go for Boro who forced them out of their stride with a spirited and enterprising display.
Now we have a couple of big league games coming up before the replay and have to take the same attitude and approach into those. The cup diversion has allowed the league table to squeeze up a bit and Reading have nudged ahead on goal difference and Hull are just behind by the same criteria. We need to quickly shrug off the three game Black January blip now and get something at Leicester.
Let’s make sure that “not a derby” energy can galvanise the season and get the Mogganaut rolling again in the Championship.


33 thoughts on “Battling Boro Show Steel In Derby Draw

  1. AV, a good summary of a match. I was able to watch on TV (via link given by AttilaTheSmog. A very entertaining match by all standards and as you said we could have easily won.
    And that with a team that had a defender (Rhys) in MF and a striker as an attacking MF. Who said we had a thin squad full of suspended or injured midfielders? It did not show at Sunderland.
    So a great moral boosting performance after a few bad matches. Let’s trust we can get a point or three against Leicester with a similar performance.
    I hope the #mogganaut is back now with Juke on board. At least we won some headers there and McDonald was full of legs, again. Terrific!
    Up the Boro!

  2. Brilliant passionate performance; its only when they are up against it that they find their potential. Boro only seem effective when attacking on the break and today was a refreshing change from long periods of possession which amount to nothing.
    Maybe we can turn them over at the Riverside. As Mogga said during his post-match interview, it would be brilliant to see the Riverside full for this one. He also tacitly implied that the reason the team don’t get the results at home is due to low crowds. I agree. The place is awful when it’s half-empty and we will undoubtedly give the Mackems the entire South Stand to fill. Hopefully ticket prices will be low.
    Got to disagree with what you said last week AV. Despite what could be seen as a childish tit-for-tat, we must reciprocate their measly ticket allocation. You heard what 3,000 Boro fans sounded like today. Imagine over 5,000 Mackems in a half-empty ground.

  3. Perfect summation of a great battling cup tie AV. not a classic, but enough to make the neutrals stay awake from their usual Sunday afternoon snooze.
    Maybe we did miss the best opportunity to win it outright, but the coffers will be swelled by a bumper midweek replay crowd, and with the prospect of Arsenal waiting IF – and it’s a big if – we can beat the Mackems, its a prize worth winning.
    The players should be proud of their effort, and hopefully not take their eyes off the biggest prize of all – a play-off place and three points from Wednesday’s crucial game against Leicester. Boy, we will need the same spirit we showed today.

  4. That’s better….
    Do they get 1800 tickets for the replay on the grounds that Cleveland Police think that is the safest number that can be allowed in the gound?
    **AV writes: Sunderland will get 4,200 tickets, the full South Stand less a segregation strip and Northumbria Police are advising strongly they use a similar free coach convoy system from the Stadiumof Light. Nothing was said but I suspect they may bring their ‘peace wall’ with them too.
    The big away allocation under the lights will create a cracking atmosphere and put a few bob more in the depleted coffers. There’s a strong possibility it will be on TV again too, which is extra dosh for the club. We’ll pay Scott McDonald’s wages yet.

  5. Mogga, if you can ensure this team play with this grit, passion and determination in Championship games, this will ensure the recent run of capitulations will end.
    Excellent performance Boro, you took the game to the Mackems, you deserved the win. Lucky Sunderland, only scored because we gave them the goal.

  6. A really good game spoiled a little by the pathetic excuse for not allowing more Boro fans in.. health and safety my eye.
    That bit of childishness does remind me of the match way back at Sheffield Wednesday when they needed to win, and all we had to do was draw to stay up.
    Ron Atkinson’s media machine even convinced the Gazette to print the evening before that if you didn’t have a ticket stay away.(or else!)
    Thousands of us did make our ticket-less way down to Hillsborough, and many were stopped by police from getting in, even though the fans were still paying.
    Our small band sang their hearts out, but were drowned out by the Sheffield lot.
    The game finished 1-0 and it was us that took the drop.
    Sunderland were rattled, and continued their rough house treatment of our lads unabated. It’s games like that one that make you proud to be a part of something good and to see the passion in Mogga’s eyes was the icing on the cake.
    Make no mistake, MO’N has his work cut out and he knows very well that his hotch potch Sunderland are eminently beatable.
    Let’s firstly put our league form back on track before giving the Wear siders the old one two.
    Up the Boro!

  7. Got the match live on this side which was a lovely change from the Football League Show highlights.
    Was very impressed with the display.Midfield looked much better with Williams in it Haroun had a blinder and of course Robson was awesome apart from a blip which I have forgiven him for long ago.
    The Juke was a bit off the pace early on and maybe a few games in would have put that away just before half time.But he had a much better second half and he looks like a good prospect even if its just getting the ball down to oncoming players or holding play up for the same thing.
    All in all, well worth the draw and looking forward to the replay. Finally on the tickets it was a shame to see the Sunderland side of the stand practicaly empty which would have surely been full if the tickets were sold to our fans. Would have needed the same amount of stewards at each end instead of two rows down the middle.
    Just shows you what tv money and over the top safety regs have done to the game.
    For the Riverside fill it up we need the dosh.
    Lastly, is Steele ready for Wednesday?
    **AV writes: Very unlikely. Mogga may be looking for a loan keeper.

  8. I forgot to mention Barry – he and Haroun were excellent yesterday.
    After a performance like that by Boro, the blog can run up to ten posts now. Any prices reaching the “ton” there, AV? We might – just – reach ten positive posts before the Leicester match on Wednesday.
    Up the Boro!

  9. Agree with all of those whose contributions I can see so far.
    Plenty to take from that game into Wednesday at Leicester and beyond. Well done to all!
    Fuller post-match comments in my Boro Banter piece.

  10. I know we could do without the extra game but there was plenty to take from the game in pluses and minuses.
    I am no lover of ITV’s commentary team but comment of the day was the one about Emnes ‘keeping himself out of the hurly burly’.
    Comedy officiating with the right decision for the wrong reason. In the old days it would of been offside anyway but the way Gardner dropped the simple pass would have got two circuits of the pitch in rugby training – both hands on the ball and a comfortable height should have seen him touching down close to the posts.
    The best comedy moment was their equaliser. Mackems down to ten men and we transferred our defense strategy for corners to our attacking corners – no one at the opposite end of the pitch
    Emnes attempt at a shot was very poor but made to look outstanding compared to the slow trot back to cover.
    Robbo’s attempted pass to our one defender was short and we had the screen filled with red and white shirts and no defenders.
    Shame it wasnt on BBC because Hansen would have turned purple.
    Other than that it was a good performance all round, silly pass apart Robbo was outstanding. lots of good shifts all round though M&S doesnt seem suited to the role in the hole.
    McMahon looked like a Boro fan playing against the enemy, Bates and Hines did well at the back, Hoyte didnt let anyone down – you can expect the types of overlap as left back you would as a right back.
    Up front it was what might have been.
    On to Leicester with a spring in the step.

  11. I sincerely hope that we give Sunderland exactly the same paltry percenatge of our ground when they come for the replay. My workings are they should get 2156! 6.25%!
    I am sure we can get the Teesside Police on board with that – plus I am sure last time we played them – some of their fans stood up!!

  12. What a difference a change makes!
    Forced or by deft planning Mogga puts out a team that have not played together and thus with spirited aplomb they knock Sunderland out of their stride (O’Neil said so himself) and forge ahead at the Stadium of Light.
    It all goes back to the principle of having the facility to change your modus operandi when needs be. I can now breath a little more easily and not dread the upcoming games because for sure this result will have given the Boro a much needed confidence boost.
    All is not lost in the dark dungeon of January past. The steel is back with an added bonus of a big lad up the front who has ability. Hurrah!!!

  13. Well I wasn’t expecting that after the Coventry fiasco, the performance was unrecognisable from that tame insipid display. Well done to everybody concerned.
    As Kev B wrote earlier, to me the most important thing is receiving monies from the gate and television (I’ll be surprised if it’s not shown), this could well help the wages for a loanee, and you never know if we can win the replay,’ Arse ‘ may play a weakened side against us.
    Onwards and upwards.

  14. Very good performance yesterday. Disappointing to lose the lead but I don’t think there’s anyone who could say they wouldn’t have taken a draw before the game.
    Jukebox looked like he may add the presence up top that we’ve been lacking and Haroun looked a force in midfield.
    A mention to Connor Ripley as well, it can’t have been easy coming off the bench with 10 minutes to go (at the Sunderland end) I thought he coped very well and although he didn’t have a great deal to do he looked comfortable when called upon.
    Also the fans sounded brilliant – I know TV producers can move the fans volume up and down to their pleasing but sat in the pub watching the game they sounded great.

  15. The construction camp I am on has plenty of Mackems, Geordies, Scousers, Pseudo Man Utd supporters. So bar soccer wisdom credability is all about how your team is doing. Last season us Boro lads just kept our heads down.
    This season is different and after yesterdays game / battle all were unanimous in what a typicaly good old fashioned Cup game it was with the local derby edge added to the mix and how well Boro battled to very nearly edging it.
    All were equally unanimous that Emnes was woeful and Haroun, well where has he been hiding. What an incentive if any is needed for the replay, Arsenal and van Persie at the Riverside.

  16. I thought Robson had a great game, despite the cock-up leading to the equaliser. If every player in the team had his level of desire and determination we’d be top of the table with room to spare.
    Haroun was impressive to, he needs to do that every week.
    Boro need to make sure the stadium is full for the replay, tickets at a price Teesside can afford is the trick.
    Seb Hines at centre back means McManus has either teed off Mogga seriously or there is a deal imminent. I like Hines although my son isn’t so sure, I see him as next year’s centre back if Bates and Williams leave or the reserve centre back if we get promoted.
    Anyway, the bottom line is that it was a great game to watch, just what an FA cup tie should be, here’s hoping the replay is on telly.

  17. On a poor run, away from home against a side from the division above who should have been bristling with confidence – everything pointed to defeat. Typical Boro. Fantastic.
    It wasn’t a vintage display but the few chances we created were very good ones and I felt that we out-fought the Mackems.
    It’s not very sporting to say so, but it was nice to see a few nasty challenges from us. It seems a very long time ago that we were a soft touch. Strachan must have been tearing his hair out in ITV towers.
    I liked the shape of the team and, though you could shift one of two players around within it (switching Emnes and Haroun for me), I hope it’s one we stick with.
    Everyone will no doubt give the excellent Robson and Haroun credit, but I’d like to give Hoyte a mention. I’ve no problem with him at right back but seeing him on the left worried me a bit. He played very well overall, in fact I’d say it was his best performance for us in that position. Well done lad.
    Now for the really important games…

  18. With Mogga getting an excellent performance from whichever players were available to him, has normal service been resumed?
    If so we can look forward to the rest of the season

  19. Fantastic performance. We looked the better team out there, and it was notable at the end when we could have ran the ball into the corner, we kept attacking looking for a winner when you would expect a lower division team to be happy with a replay.
    Rhys Williams was superb in midfield, I’d settled on the fact he was better at centre half but on that performance he might have to stay in midfield. Hines and Bates were rock solid at the back, Hoyte had a great game at left back and him and McMahon might be our best option as full-backs at the moment. Hoyte can offer us something different going forward on the left with the ability to cut inside. It won’t do Joe Bennett any harm to have a bit of a rest and recharge his batteries.
    Great atmosphere in the ground, if only we could have got a winner in front of us in the second half. The only shame now is work commitments mean I will miss the replay though unless TV move it to the Wednesday.

  20. Good assesment of the game AV. For me I thought that Bates was MOM. his performance allowed Hines to settle in without any drama which in turn allowed Rhys to fill the Bailey gap in the middle which was a really good show in itself alongside Robbo, Haroun and Scotty.
    Our downfall was another stupid set piece which is now becoming ridiculous. With a man down (and their centre-half to boot) instead of playing the ball into the box we push all our big lads up from the back leaving us exposed there to attempt a daisy cutter which was about as poor, weak and ineffectual as you could wish for if you were a Mackem.
    To make matters worse when Emnes gave away possesion so feebly instead of tracking back to correct his error with gusto he allowed McClean to set off up the pitch unattended, for me that was almost criminal. It lead to another aberration when Robbo uncharacteristically then decided not to find Row Z. I’ve been saying for weeks on here that our set plays are abysmal and yesterday it cost us.
    I think Mogga should have used any of Luke Williams, Martin or Main on for Emnes in the last 20, Marvin’s body language yesterday to me looked like he just wasn’t confident and had no belief and certainly no fire in his belly. In fairness and to his credit he did disturb O’Shea for Robbo’s goal but apart from that he looked like he just didn’t fancy it. He got alongside Sunderland players but never challenged or tackled and just let them continue to their destination on several occasions, it almost made me think his mind was elsewhere.
    The potential carrot of Arsenal at home might hopefully get a few of the fringe players to up the ante and push for a starting spot and a few of the “shoe ins” looking over their shoulders.
    On the positive, I thought it was a good all round performance from almost everyone which hopefully has broke the “Manager of the Month” jinx.
    Overall a very creditworthy team effort but they must take it into the Leicester game otherwise it counts for nothing and please work some set plays out on the training pitch and also contingencies for if it doesn’t come off which at the moment they aren’t.

  21. I thought Boro played really well and seemed to control the game for long stretches – rather than the cup being a distraction it could actually kick start our promotion campaign.
    The obvious stand out performances came from Robson, Bates, McMahon and Williams but I was actually quite impressed with Emnes – he looked pacy with good control and just lacked composure in front of goal, maybe he’s better suited playing wide. Also Haroun looks a decent player too.
    Sadly Hoyte looked a bit nervous and off the pace with a less than perfect first touch – also Coyne is defintely looking even older than his 38 years and Ripley is perhaps a bit too young at 18 to be a long-term solution.
    McDonald showed a lot of energy but doesn’t seem to play as a striker and the Jukebox played well holding up the ball and being physical but again doesn’t look a natural finisher.
    If we could finesse a proven goal scorer and a keeper before the deadline then promotion could be nailed on – otherwise 50-50.

  22. Thought it was a cracking game. Big Barry will feel the worst. It was a very honest post match interview, good to see a player putting his hands up. He seems the type that the mistake will burn deeply and spur him on more. We could benefit in the league from his mistake, with some rested legs and pre-fired belly!
    Thought we played well throughout. The goal knocked us a bit. We seemed pretty tentative with the passing for a period shortly afterwards but that came back to us.
    The biggest problem for me seemed to be Emnes. I cannot get to the games so I have to wait for 14 second highlight clips on the Beeb or wait three months for a televised game! I thought Emnes was off the boil, did not look that sharp or even that keen. Seemed to be missing his smile?!
    More than confident we can do them at ours. should be a cracker. Better still if it makes the TV!
    Now just 30 odd hours before the window shuts. Doesnt seem to be any major interest in our guys. Bates and Williams both played which is always a good indication they aren’t going anywhere soon.
    Big Mick will be a shame to go. Thought he came in well, one of the GS2’s better buys. The need to give Bates and Williams games to prevent them leaving, plus their form has potentially limited his game time.
    Probably the biggest earner not to be playing…in our fiscal situation…can only mean one thing. Thanks and goodbye, should anyone else being willing to pick up the tab. Not sure on the level of wage. 15k at a random guess. Could be three or four players at this level, or half an injured leg in the Premier League!
    Hopefully if he does go another bod maybe on their way in. Who knows?! Feels like Christmas all over again.

  23. Its not right to just come on here and have a go at the team when they lose and are not playing well.
    So yesterday was a match in which the team deserves considerable praise for its performance. We were much like our old selves,moving the ball better, playing at a high tempo and three key postional changes that helped us.
    First Williams moved seamlessly into Bailey’s role and policed that area effectively. Second and a surprise and a slight groan when I heard he was playing, Hines who had a good afternoon and finally Hoyte, though horribly one footed, played it simple and effectively. Jukebox too made a difference he is going to allow Emnes and McDonald runs at goal because of his presence.
    Sundrland are no great shakes and I saw little to instil fear in us for the replay. Still puzzled as to why Robson did not knock the ball out of play when running towards his own goal

  24. AV – are we waiting on McManus (or Kink, or both) leaving in order to bring one or two in?
    Does he affect the loan keeper situation?
    **AV writes: McManus is mulling over an offer from Bristol City. If that was to go ahead it would release enough for fund the wages of two or three players on frees/loans, or a transfer fee and wages for one. They are checking the penny jar, clipping coupons and taking back Lowcocks bottles to fund a keeper on loan.
    All this and more discussed at length on tomorrows ever popular deadline day live blog from breakfast through to Big Bens’ bongs.

  25. The positives I agree with.
    The problem is that the team seemed to raise their game collectively and individually. I’m not sure (and January and December would seem to support this view) that we can play to that level every week.
    If not, where will that leave us?
    Still without a goal machine, still without forwards not scoring.
    I’ll keep the champagne on ice. (For now.)

  26. Wow, what a great weekend for me. At Brighton Saturday and Boro on tv Sunday.
    What a fantastic goal by Robbo, likely contender for goal of the season. Apart from his awful mistake,I thought he was magnificent. I know he’s a Scot, but real Teesside spirit.
    Also, Haroun and in particular Bates, brilliant displays of craft and aggression. Jutkiewicz should really have scored, but certainly did enough to suggest a good buy.
    Only slight negatives for me on the day, apart from not winning, were Emnes (I know I’m in a minority and haven’t seen much of him) and Hoyte who I don’t think is a good enough defender in this league.
    Just keeping fingers crossed the replay is televised.UTB
    **AV writes: Replay is to be televised on ITV and has been moved back 24 hours to the Wednesday.

  27. As deadline day arrives what do you think the wage bill would be for this team?
    Young Woodgate Wheater Huth
    Johnson Downing Morrison Cattermole
    Graham Yakubu
    **AV writes: When they were here? Or now? When they were here…
    Schwarzer – £25k
    Young – £18k
    Woodgate – £32k
    Wheater – £12k
    Huth – £28k
    Johnson – £8k
    Downing – £22k
    Morrison – £3k
    Cattermole – £5k
    Graham – £2k
    Yakubu – £35k
    Give or take. Plus bonuses (win, goal, for being in top six), plus appearance fees (especially the youngsters who came through ranks, possibly doubled their basic), plus ‘image rights’ for big stars, plus endorsements, plus free stuff in local shops.

  28. Drat. Lost a post. And nearly at the end of it! Here is a different, much shorter one. I know I should save it first, as I go along. Just as Robson knows he should play safety first in situations like the one that led to Sunderland’s goal on Sunday. He is an experienced footballer. He knows he should have booted the ball into Row Z.
    When I was younger (not playing football – there are other ballsports, you know) I knew not to “dive in” to a tackle too early but to wait until my opponent had played the ball too far ahead of himself, or got himself into a less-than-optimum position and offered me the opportunity to take it from him. I knew it and for most of the 25 years I played I tried to follow the rule. But there were times, unaccountably, that I made an error of judgement and just got stuck in, and then sometimes regretted it.
    We all make mistakes. We try to avoid them, but we are human. Robbo’s mistake cost him (and us) dearly. It was a pity as he played so well, and his strike deserved to be the winner. But let’s not pillory the lad. He is an experienced pro. The last thing he needs is to be castigated for it.
    It is a pity we do not have more Robsons, Williams, and Bates in our squad. And I guess we also saw McMahon & Hines because the manager realises those players know exactly what Boro playing Sunderland means to the supporters. Like it does to Wheats & Cattermole (the loveable little renegade!!).
    We have another chance next week. And the extra money will come in handy – even handier if we get through to play Arsenal!
    **AV writes: I’ve already requested the Emirates Stadium press room restaurant menu for the Arsenal replay. Planning ahead is everything in this game.

  29. **AV writes: “I’ve already requested the Emirates Stadium press room restaurant menu for the Arsenal replay. Planning ahead is everything in this game.”
    What are the dates for a FA Cup final and the play-off finals at Wembley? And the ticket allocations for Boro supporters? And of course I need a recommendation for a hotel there. So where are you staying near Wembley, AV?
    Fumes of the foam? No, just seriously excited about the #mogganaut now. Let’s enjoy and dream – that’s the whole point of supporting, isn’t it. Up the Boro.
    **AV writes: I don’t know about anyone else but I’m booked into the Premier Inn at Wembley for Friday May 18th. (You can always cancel) Hmmmhotelbreakfastsss.

  30. Dreadline Day looms.
    I suspect there will be little to excite us. The Foxes tomorrow night is to the front of my mind and it was a real shocker to my morale to get a reduced price ticket because of my age, 29 is the concession age at Leicester. You can check for yourselves.
    One thought we should keep in mind is that often the best chance for the lower league team in the cup is the first match whether it is home or away. Vic getting the menu for the Emirates is tempting fate but at least Arca and Thommo will be available for the replay.
    Williams performance in midfield has rekindled the debate, at least in my head, about his best position. In some ways he reminds me of Roy Keane, Keane started of at centre back for Forest but developed in to a top midfielder. The danger for Rolls is that he never settles in to any one position.

  31. I booked a family break to London to take in King Tut at the Dome and the Terracotta Army at British Museum.
    Oddly I anticipated another Red Army at Wembley but the Cardiff debacle occurred. It was an unpleasant experience seeing all those fans on the underground wearing the wrong replica kits, even worse was their excitement at breakfast. I didnt need grapefruit for breakfast.

  32. I went to the Emirates Stadium to watch the ‘boxing day’ match v Wolves. The catering manager there (and also Wembley) is a Smoggie.
    One step nearer to World domination?

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