DEADLINE day signings Jacob Butterfield and Kei Kamara were the stars as rebuilt Boro finally clicked to beat “The Likes Of Yeovil” 4-1 and clock up a vital first home victory to relieve the pressure on Mogga.
Both scored in polished performances as Boro came from behind – again – to grab control and play some entertaining attacking football in yet another pulsating game at the Riverside in which both sides rattled the woodwork and missed sitters.
The win puts a far more positive hue on the recent sequence of results. Two defeats in 10 and unbeaten at home since the opening week sounds far better than the damning shroud of negativity that went with only one win all season and the four in 31 mantra that painted the landscape black last week.
Of course, beating the newly promoted minnows doesn’t change the bigger picture. It doesn’t make Boro promotion certs. Just as being beaten at table-topping QPR last week didn’t make them relegation candidates.
The glaring problems remain – some sloppy possession in midfield could have been punished far more often by a sharper and more ruthless team and the individual errors at the back that have proved very costly were still evident – but for all that, Boro are not far short of being a decent team with just a few tweaks.And as Mogga admitted after the game, he is still working to get a centre-back in.
Rhys Williams did his best to make things familiar for Yeovil and had a “Weston Super Mare” allowing a routine long header to sail past him and letting visiting striker Williams to streak free to score an easy opener after just four minutes them the Kryptonite armband sapped his powers again in the second half as he played a poor ball to wobbly Whitehead who was robbed leaving Hoskins through to rattle the bar.
That doesn’t mean Boro were lucky to escape with a win. Far from it. Kamara rattled the bar and post, Hennessey made a couple of good saves and Boro may have had another penalty after Adomah was hauled down. So all those ‘what ifs’ cancel each other out.
What remains is the fact that Boro were mentally strong enough to bounce back from a gifted early goal that could have lead to an implosion in the crowd and were ruthless in finishing off Yeovil on a day when the pressure was on. It was a good display. And it was entertaining too. And gave the nerves a real work out. As usual.
Butterfield was fantastic. He has a deft first touch that creates time and space for him to pick out a killer ball, even when he is under pressure. He has a fantastic range of passing and it almost always means a forward ball too. And as we have seen he also has a cracking shot on him. He scored an unstoppable 25 yard utter thunderbastard and could easily have had another from a similar range.
Kamara has proved a real find. He works hard across the entire front line, drops deep, wins balls in the air and has an instinct as to where the ball will land in the box. He has scored three in five starts now. Could he be the goal-getter we have cried out for? Could he be the heart shaped hands hero to galvanise the season? We’ll see.
Hopefully it is the result that kick-starts a stuttering season. It was an emphatic win. It is easy to dismiss it as “only Yeovil” but the wurzels have been hard to break down this term. Leaders QPR only beat them 1-0. Leicester edged it 2-1. And a win is a win.
Of course, the campaign so far has been frustrating. The failure to finish off sides, to defend a lead and to turn draws into wins has left Boro trailing the leading pack and left the fan-base divided over the potential of the team and the ability of the manager. It will no doubt have left the chairman a bit fidgety too.
But it is still early days. The shape is good, the side are not short of goals or attacking intent and as the new boys bed in that can only get better, slicker, more potent. But yes, the back-line needs beefing up. That can be done. Boro have the time and money to do that. But it needs doing quickly to make the most of this season.