Boro Come Acropolis In Dimi’s Keeper Clanger Greek Tragedy

BORO came Acropolis as Dimi suffered a Greek tragedy. A stoppage time bobble blunder handed QPR a 3-1 victory that looked very unlikely when rampaging Friendinho got the opener.

At that stage Boro were well organised and well on top while Rangers were shapeless, demoralised and starting to squabble among themselves and with the bench. Another goal would have seen Barton, Kranjcar and Morrison unravel. Alas, they clawed a leveller just before the break, got a half-time rocket and came out more spirited and more organised.
The scrappy second half was ragged and littered with mistakes and bookings and as tempers frayed there was a 12 man melee that threatened to boil over and led to three yellow cards. That simmered down and it seemed everyone had settled for a draw.
Then in a pivotal sequence deep in the red zone George sent a shot just wide and it came back off the advertising hoarding and alert keeper Green caught it then quickly pumped a goal kick up field – ‘Arry was going mental that he hadn’t slowed it down – and from there things went wrong… Varga collected and played inside and Omeruo played the weak back-pass and as Dimi came out there was a slight bobble and he did a comedy clip show blooper as his swing missed completely leaving Bobby Zamora to run through laughing to tap in. Two minutes later Morrison wrapped it up. It was another avoidable kick in the teeth.
Rubbish ref, failed to kill off a team when well on top, front men isolated, Friend and Varga the pick of the bunch, Dimi did well before his clanger (although he will argue it should have been Zedded not passed back), and Karanka was left scratching his head at the end.
“I can explain what happened but I can’t understand it.,” he said. “I don’t believe it. Again. One mistake. Again. We matched a team much higher in the table and then this. It is the same story every week.” He’s starting to understand the Zen of Boro.
Anyway, I’ve got to go out and drink beer, so more later….


38 thoughts on “Boro Come Acropolis In Dimi’s Keeper Clanger Greek Tragedy

  1. Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!
    The guys I sit with and I agreed that we had never seen a goalkeeping howler as bad as this one. What more can you say?
    But why oh why did we not play in the second half like we did in the first? We gave Rangers a good pasting in the first half, and played some neat, attractive football. What’s more, every time we attacked we had at least four men busting a gut to get in the box.
    So what happened? Admittedly Rangers came out fired up and played with much more spirit, but we just seemed to lose our shape. And those men busting guts just stayed back in midfield so once again, Danny Graham was left with no support whatsoever. That really didn’t help when he was already having a poor game.
    I’m afraid I just don’t understand a) why a method which is working well fizzles out or is changed so that it patently doesn’t, and b) how on earth we are supposed to score goals with just one (misfiring! but poorly serviced) striker in the box.
    **AV writes: At half-time ‘Arry gave them a rocket and told his wide men to press onto the Boro full-backs and pin them back so we lost a bit of width and bodies going forward.

  2. Just finished smashing a few plates on the floor to help cheer me up after that Greek tragedy.
    To be fair to Dimi he made two saves one after another in the first half which stopped QPR in their tracks and all round had quite a decent game apart from his slip up which we will probably see for years to come on sporting bloopers. The crowd near me needed a few bloopers.
    I was long gone and didn’t know or care about the third till I was driving home! I don’t normally leave before the end but really there is only so much you can take to really spoil your weekend and spoilt it is, in fact a real mezzo.
    Positives again are our defence and it can’t be too long before someone comes along and tests our resolve to keep hold of this teams own gorgeous George following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor George Hardwick.
    Varga seems to be steady and apart from a couple of stray passes Ben Gibbo looks like he is there to stay.
    Don’t know why Butterfield was taken off as he was prompting and probing the whole time and as well as delivering a killer pass and had a couple of good shots on target.
    Special K should shake the box and mix it up a bit as we cannot go on playing Danny Graham on his own because no matter how much running he did, he rarely got the ball. New tic-tacs please.
    QPR knew how to stifle our game, playing dead when tackled, forging rugby scrums and aided and abetted by a linesman who didn’t keep up with play and didn’t know the offside rule and a referee who couldn’t identify which team had kicked the ball out of play to give either a corner or a goal kick.
    Rant over roll on next season!
    Fat Bob

  3. I was gutted at the end of this game. Undoubtedly it was a game of two halves. In the first we dominated, Friend was excellent down the wing and we created chances and looked really good. When we went ahead I thought we would win the game, our defence has been reliably solid for 16 games…then it all went wrong.
    Their goal came from uncharacteristically sloppy defending and they punished it. To be honest if we had played in the second half as well as we did in the first I think we would have won it…we didn’t. Boro lacked the same creative edge, Graham was isolated and caught offside regularly, their attacking moves were slick and they came forward in large numbers swarming our defence and passing neatly causing us a lot of problems.
    By the end I would have settled for a draw. 90 minutes came and a loss was never really on the cards, we had ridden our luck but never felt like we would concede. Dimi will feel horrendous tonight, he completely messed up and they scored. I am philosophical about it, he had a really good game today and deserves a run in the team, I hope he isn’t dropped. The third was an insignificant bonus for them that wouldn’t have happened had the second not gone in.
    Overall it was yet another disappointing result for Boro. Our attacking options still need attention. Kamara on the left is never good, Graham is isolated and needs support, Butterfield should not have been subbed, we need a plan B formation if things aren’t working out, our defence still looks really good.
    I think we will beat Huddersfield. Up the Boro!

  4. They say you make your own luck, but to be honest, of late, if it wasn’t for bad luck the Boro would have no luck at all.
    As an aside to this, but not completely unrelated. the standard of refereeing, well documented in recent months if not years throughout all leagues, not just the Premiership, is absolutely appalling and getting worse.
    Call it what you want, pressure, players conning the referee, lack of technology, one thing is for sure, they can’t even get the basics right.
    it seems that these days you don’t have to just worry about whether your team will perform , but whether or not the match officials will be half competent.
    Some of the decisions that are made/not made, are completely laughable. No excuse for today, but recently you have to wonder what on earth is going on.
    The most unfortunate thing about the whole situation is they are never made accountable for their actions. Andy Marriner with a microphone strapped to his face, talking to someone on the sidelines incapable of identifying the real culprit is no worse than some of the strange decisions that have contributed to our downfall in recent weeks.

  5. More disjointed deafening din from the main act with the supporting 90 minutes reverting to type, aka “Typical Boro”. A bit ironic that the club just this week receives an accolade for its family friendliness only to then bleed the ear drums of the youngsters before they even start school!
    At half time the officials were being rewarded for their inept first half performance by a rousing vitriolic Teesside reception from the Boro paying public where one “iffy” offside led to a goal and the very fact that QPR still had eleven men on the pitch was a cause of much annoyance for the majority of the 15,000 (15K yer jokin arn’t yer!) in “attendance”.
    Just when the officials reached the centre circle (the East Stand lino legged it pronto) and the displeasure level was building (and hopefully thought provoking in their minds) but then up pops MMP with a deafening blast of ill timed (and distinctly irrelevant promotions) at full blast (is there any other volume level at the Riverside?) about some college and chemist offerings drowning out the howls of derision, unbelievable!
    How much longer are we to suffer a self indulgent Sideshow Bob totally detached from the event he is supposed to be supporting and enriching? It seems to be a struggle to even time the music for the players entering the pitch now, somebody obviously needs to tell the teams and the officials to know their place and wait until the main event has completed his act!
    Football wise in the opening few minutes QPR had us by the throat and our respectful standing off at a corner allowed the ball into the danger zone and enabled the Hoops to get two shots in quick fire succession on target only for Dimi to pull off two equally quick fire saves. It slapped us across the face, woke us up and an entertaining, fast paced, end to end encounter ensued so much so that I couldn’t believe 45 minutes went by so quick come the half time whistle.
    There was some good football, Boro looked like they had attacking intent, fire in their bellies and the Krancjar induced injustices that we were on the receiving end of from the Hertfordshire Ref only added to the entertainment factor.
    I don’t know whether the half time tannoy deafening decibels left the red shirted players with ringing in their ears but whatever happened at half-time it was clear tactically that our boys came back out with a very timid and sheepish approach to the game.
    Perhaps it was the equaliser that had burst our bubble near the end of the half and Aitor couldn’t lift them or perhaps the swashbuckling you attack, we attack trend of the 1st half went against Karankanomics.
    Whatever happened at half time in the bowels of the West Stand the 2nd half effort (I deliberately avoid the use of the word Performance) was woeful. It was a slow predictable tippy tappy, nervous build up, constantly on the back foot and we never resumed the flow of the first half.
    Of course part of it was down to the rollicking Arry gave his lot but there were too many Boro players who were unrecognisable and for me thats a big worry. Something happened and it didn’t look right in the second half. I suspect they were curtailed tactically, sat far deeper thus inviting pressure on.
    Butterfield was talismanic in the 1st half yet in the 2nd just wasn’t anywhere near as effective. He looked more restrained and shackled. Eventually he was replaced by Tomlin who tried singlehandedly to inspire, just a shame that he didn’t have Butterfield alongside to fight the good fight! Instead he had a fatigued and drained Graham who just looked perplexed as balls continually went in the opposite direction to his runs.
    Karanka seems to be content with playing with 10 players and yet expect or at least hope to win games. No disrespect to Danny Graham because I feel sorry for him but his (or indeed insert Juke or Main) role is hopelessly pointless and consequently fruitless. We used to say on here about Mogga doing the same old things yet expecting different results being sheer madness but approaches aside this is little different.
    During matches you have to alter things, freshen it up, give the opposition management a different conundrum to work out. As AV mentions above Arry changed it a bit at half time to try and stifle our flanks. Sticking to Plan A is fine if you have the best Stadium, the iggest support, nervy officials frightened to give any dubious decisions against your powerful club combined with the best players in the League.
    Not having all that going in your favour creates a totally different challenge and one that has to be acknowledged and addressed. Playing with only 10 effective players is a luxury we cannot indulge for much longer.
    I’m not advocating a return to Tinkerman tactics but if something is blindingly obviously not working I expect to see a modicum of intelligent problem solving being employed from the Boro bench. Blind faith in a system regardless of outcomes is frustrating to watch and soul destroying to endure if fruitless. I suspect because of how the game started and our feisty response it was not to the approved game plan and everyone in red was reigned in at half time and instructed to revert to type. as a consequence the 2nd half was as frustrating as anything I have witnessed over the last four years at the Riverside.
    Of course much of the knee jerk frustration could simply be laid at Dimi’s door but I believe that Dimi is merely a convenient manifestation of a singular bloody minded mentality. Dimi is what he is, an honest, genuine and workmanlike journeyman lower league Keeper who always gives his best. The best of a middling to lower League 1/League 2 keeper could be theoretically reasonable but not without the odd faux pas.
    Against Hull in the cup he looked rusty and embarrassed to concede, versus Bournemouth last week there was another twitchy moment with Grabban and today it was just one of those things when a mole hill appears from nowhere.
    A decent shot stopper (deja vu) but the defence don’t always seem to know if or when he is coming out to take responsibility and as a spectator he doesn’t inspire me with Givenesque levels of comfort. I don’t hold him responsible because in the first half had we took our chances and had the officials sent Krancjar for an early bath it could and should have been very different. The level of officiating was very poor today yet again and the Ref completely lost it in the 2nd half when things started to boil over.
    That perhaps is the crux of the matter, in the Bernabeau would an opposing player have got away with as many indiscretions as the Croatian did today? I very much doubt it. We have a Championship Gareth Bale in George Friend but George aside I don’t see many if indeed any game changers in the side now that Muzzy is out. Manu perhaps is one such player but we all know that his capabilities are balanced by his liabilities at times and his introduction was too little and far too late for me.
    Albert didn’t look himself and seemed to be starting off far deeper than normal. Now I fully accept that this squad of players are not hand picked by Aitor but there again nor was the present Derby squad inherited by Schteeve. There were 30,000 at the Rams midlands derby with the trees today but there were also five goals to cheer. The Riverside and MMP claimed just over 15,000 against one of the better Championship sides. I use to level at Mogga his management failings in leadership and in achieving the task, keeping the group or team together and in managing individuals. I sense I’m seeing similar frailties already.
    We have seen our best players sidelined earlier in the year and as a consequence seen any play-off hopes disappear at the same time. We have seen a selection policy of who trains best wins. Being a good trainer is not the same as a good performer when the heat is on.
    Running around in a luxury 5 star training complex in relaxed and surreal countryside is a far cry from the atmosphere of a faded pink arena which in itself is eerily intimidating and a foe who are faster, hungrier and meaner than your semi laid back injury prone colleagues.
    Text book MBA style theories are great in principle but even the best qualified graduate learns that in the real world real life scenarios are not as controllable, planned or expected unless of course your starting point is pretty near perfection (see above about stadiums, players, support etc.).
    Selection and omissions have been a concern, crowd participation is waning (thanks in part to MMP), tactics are predictable allowing opposition management the perfect game plan handed to them on a plate. Players look uncomfortable at times trying to wear boots that don’t fit, some even look lost, some quite simply are not the best in class (despite the endearing brownie points won in training) and some look disinterested or maybe their lack of ability is shining through the mediocrity.
    Something didn’t look or feel right after the break. Today there was nothing to lose yet lose we did and in the most “handbraked” of manners. There was no heart or soul in the second 45.
    Winning hearts and minds. instilling trust, belief, hope and confidence are paramount in the remaining few games. The first 45 minutes had some if not all of that, yet the second 45 managed to extinguish most of it.
    Defensively Aitor has performed magic especially considering the varying permutations of CB pairings. Defence aside it looks a pretty flat, dire, staid, uninspiring void of nothingness forwards of the back line. It hasn’t worked, it doesn’t look like working and if we are continually treated to the same old same old yet hoping for different results than that surely puts us all in the madness camp.
    Yet again we were outfought, out energised, less desire, less hunger, less pace less momentum but bizarrely only for the second 45 minutes, coincidence? I don’t think so and if not careful it will take root, we have been here far too many times before, fortune favours the brave not the special one (unless of course you have millions at your disposal).
    Aitor now has to prove his management credentials before the summer otherwise Steve Gibson will be in two minds whether or not to gamble what is left down the back of the settee come July and August. With 2014-15 season tickets now on sale that settee will have very little loose change if there is nothing to cheer.

  6. Well, that spoilt the day.
    Watched bck QPR’s second goal a few times. From the main camera it looked an absolute shocker by Dimi. Didnt look much wrong with the back pass by Omeruo, could have launchd it but there was plenty of time and no one close.
    The camera behind the goal showed the bobble to its full extent. Just bad luck.
    I can see where Redcar Red is coming from with the odd caveat. The basis for the season has been Mogga’s best squad ever.
    After twelve matches we had twelve points, a continuation would have us sat alongside Brum fifth bottom. Lets just make sure tht we are not in that position at seasons end.

  7. Redcar Red, absolutely great post!!
    Looking in from afar and only seeing the odd match, leaves me with the limited right to comment and criticise However one can get a good feel for the situation from AV’s reports and the number of excellent and sometimes differing views on here.
    Is Tomlin not really AK’s man? Its just like a jigsaw, after a while the pieces start falling into place and you can see the picture evolving.
    I also think RR is correct in as much as AK has to achieve something from the remaining matches to give some hope for next season, otherwise the numbers turning up will continue to tumble. I do not believe that if we were topping the league next season we would attract more than 20K.
    As has been said on here many times, it is getting harder for the teams like the Boro to do a Burnley. Maybe our future is that of our past, middling mediocrity.

  8. Poor Dimi , a rubbish back-pass from Varga , who I like very much . Don`t worry Dimi , the gadge at the other end ( Green ) did the same howler for ENGLAND if you all remember .
    If it hadn`t been for our keeper we would have been a goal down after a few minutes . If the team were more prolific up front , this howler may not have mattered . MOVE ON .

  9. As the Season Ticket reminders drop through the letter box asking us to back Steve Gibson for another year in the Championship.
    Unless your one of the 8000 or so who will support the Boro in the Evostick league then it’s fair and reasonable to ask ‘Why Should I’.
    This will be Gibbo’s sixth season in the Championship since relegation. He has appointed four manager’s three who have failed and the latest one looks out of his depth. Why didn’t Gibbo go for Pearson, McClaren, Dyche or Rosler? Answer he wants a ‘Yes’ man who will do as he is told.
    It also appears that Gibbo is now buying the players HE wants. Surely when there was an outside chance of the play off’s the Tomlin money should have been spent on Given but it didn’t happen indicating the club had given up on the play off’s at the end of January.
    Five years in the Championship Five years of mainly dour horrible soul destroying negative football with the promise of more next year. I don’t think so Gibbo. The best I Can offer to the club is to say it’s time for them to deliver up front. Be in with a shout of the play off’s at Christmas and I’ll buy a half year ticket otherwise no chance.
    **AV writes: There was never a hope in hell of buying Given. He has two and half years left on a £50k a week deal at Villa. It would be a £6m investment in a 36 year old. That’s the kind of madness that got Boro into the financial mess they were in when relegated.

  10. It’s difficult to see where we’re up to in the AK evolution/revolution. It’s even more difficult to see the way ahead and gauge the prospects for next season.
    There are two schools of thought in the development of a team. One is the player-centred approach: the manager looks at the players at his disposal and selects tactics to get the best out of them. The second is the tactic-centred approach: the manager who is an advocate of a particulat tactic and chooses & acquires players to make it work.
    When he took the Boro job, Mogga initially adopted the latter approach with the players he inherited. With the opportunity of a couple of close seasons, he then shifted to the former approach – with less success.
    AK is obviously of the latter school. He is wedded to his tactical approach to the extent that he doesn’t change it much to counter the opposition. Has he got the players to make this work. Can we get the players?
    When we were on the run of wins, with seemingly a realistic chance of the top 6, it looked very much as if we had had good players all the time and Karanka had the trick of getting the best out of them. His tactics were clearly working and it appeared that we had the players to make them work.
    Sadly it was ephemeral. What happened? What changed? Was it as simple as the word was out and opposing managers countered? We saw that happen yesterday in microcosm when ‘Arry changed things at half time to enable QPR dominate the second half. If so, that does not bode well for the future.
    However this approach is used successfully in many countries. So perhaps the tactics are fine and it’s our players who aren’t up to the job. That’s where it gets worrying.
    Managers like Mourinho have zillions to spend to get the players they want. Karanka will have about thruppence. We seem unlikely to get the right players for these tactics unless AK and SG have an unrivalled network of contacts and Aitor has exquisite judgement of a player.
    The big concern is in attack – always the most expensive hole to fill. Graham has shown negligle signs of being the much-needed cutting edge. If AK perseveres in his approach, it will take an exceptional forward to defend from the front and cover the ground needed, while still reliably converting the few scraps that are produced.
    Is there another bargain Michu to be found out there?
    **AV writes: Let’s hope so.

  11. Well we certainly seemed cursed lately,what with the goal that wasnt given at Sheffield Wed,the handball goal from Forest and now “the bobble” they have cost us six points!
    Another game of two halves yesterday,first half we were by far the better team and had the players made better ball choices when in possession we might have had a goal or two more instead of going in 1-1 at half time.
    Second half we weren’t really in the game apart from a couple of chances towards the end when Adomah and Friend were unlucky.
    Then just as we nearly went 2-1 up in the 92nd minute ball goes up the other end and the bobble strikes and we were 2-1 down.
    Dimi couldn’t do anything about that but I lay the blame with the defenders. We had just almost scored to win it, Varga had the ball on the halfway line and he passes back to Omerou who then makes the ill fated pass back to Dimi. We should have been going forwards and trying to win it not playing defensively,it’s not as if we were protecting a point because we are in danger of relegation.
    We reverted back to our old ways yesterday,conceding late in both halves and putting in two totally different performances in each half.
    Officials don’t help either,QPR should have been a man down and could have had more bookings,I couldn’t believe it when Whitehead went down after been caught in the face and the ref brought the guilty QPR player over and pointed down at Whitehead as if to say “Look what you’ve done, don’t do it again” then went unpunished.
    Knowing Boro’s luck we will get Andrew Marriner as ref next seeing as he will be demoted from the Premier League for a couple of weeks after his changer yesterday and we’ll suffer another injustice.
    I didn’t think QPR’s high earners looked like a prospective Premier League club yesterday,we made them look pretty ordinary in the first half and defensively they were all over the place.
    Btw can someone explain how Harry gets Ravel Morrison as a loan player after the loan window shut at the end of January. Thought all loans in Feb and March are emergency loans?
    **AV writes: Yes, Morrison is an emergency loan (until Austin, Faurlin etc are fit again)

  12. I managed to catch the game on the internet and was initially quite pleasantly surprised by Boro’s attack-minded performance, though it was clear to me that Boro’s forwards and midfield still haven’t worked out how to play 4-2-3-1. There really doesn’t seem to be much understanding or effective interplay between our attacking players.
    I thought the standard of the officials was poor – how a goal kick was given when a QPR defender headed the ball for a corner is beyond comprehension if they were actually watching play.
    As for poor Dimi gifting Bobble Zamora the winner – well is he really going to be our number one next season? Steele must look bad in training if he’s now third choice.
    Playing Kamara, who’s strength is essentially holding the ball and laying it off, as an attacking wide player instead of Carayol just didn’t work. Also Adomah looks a shadow of his former self and Graham looks like a stranger to his team-mates. Only really Butterfield and then Tomlin looked to make dangerous passes and inject some energy into proceedings.
    Of course Friend was excellent again and seems easily our best player in the games I’ve seen this season – I’d worry that Boro may find it hard to resist approaches for him from other clubs in the summer.
    Did we miss Leadbitter? I don’t think so but Whitehead looked good defensively but appeared short in ideas when he arrived in the last third of the pitch – though he wasn’t alone as the the long range punt down the keepers throat looked the preferred option for many.
    I had hoped when he was appointed Karanka would have been a bit more pragmatic in choosing the shape to fit the players available at a particular given time.
    Do we now need a new chunk of attacking players to make it work? I suspect the chances of obtaining enough of these type of players on our budget that have the complete skill-set is slim (I’m sure these type of players are coveted by many clubs that have PL budgets to boot).
    So unless he can make it work with the type of players we currently have now at our disposal then I would seriously be contemplating a Plan B for the summer pre-season.
    I just don’t see Boro acquiring enough players of a significantly higher standard than we currently have – Karanka’s actually hoping to sign Graham for next season so that kind of gives the game away as to the level we can realistically aim for.
    So in conclusion: some good performances and not all bad but still far from convinced that Boro will become an attacking force anytime soon.

  13. Rob –
    Please get a grip. McClaren, Dyche and Rosler might seem great shouts now but six months ago, I doubt you would have been championing them. If we’d have gone after Dyche or McClaren, there would have been an outcry. Big Nige would prob not have come either. ..

  14. Well Ladies and Gents, I think after that yesterday, there cant be any doubt as to where we are ,
    The players are just not good enough. The only one who looked like he can help us get out of this division was Omeruo (yes). The rest are weak both mentally and physically,(that’s why they are at this level,and will stay}
    this talk of George and Varga, Butterfield etc, its all huff and puff. Its a joke. They might have some ability and may look good on a YouTube highlight reel but that’s the problem: they can do the odd thing right but not for 90 minutes.
    Yesterday QPR never got out of first gear but still looked more comfortable on the ball than us. It was just a matter of time. And how come the gaps between our players are so big? They where cutting through us with ease. Why?
    We cant score because the midfielders get confused. When in attack ,they continue to rush everything or take too long to decide. Before he went off, with two players ahead of him, Butterfield actually tried a forty yard shot,that hit a defender
    Who wants to be a coach?
    Can we afford about 12 new players,of strong character and physicallity?

  15. Some interesting posts with sundry views.
    A question to consider, my view is that the formation is important only in so far as it gives structure to the team.
    We have needed incisive midfield players for some time and certainly pre AK. We have also needed someone to stick the ball away with some regularity. We haven’t even got one striker to play 442 never mind two.
    Any suggestions on what to do?

  16. One of the most worrying aspects of yesterday’s defeat is highlighted in AV’s response to my earlier post, and in various comments by Redcar Red and others. If ‘Arry can change tactics to counter a perceived strength in the opposition (ie Boro’s positive first half attacks), then why can’t our own coaching staff respond to his changes and do something to counter them in turn? Isn’t there a plan B?
    After 15 minutes of the second half it should have been obvious to AK and Higgy that we were no longer having the best of the game, that QPR were putting us under much more pressure and that ‘Arry’s approach had changed. Did they in fact do anything about that? From my perspective, it seemed not. Would the pace of Luke Williams down the left flank not have given Rangers something to think about? Would Butterfield and Tomlin playing together have caused them problems and created more chances for Graham?
    Early days for the AK / Hignett partnership, but it strikes me Higgy has some work to do to get the boss to consider tactical changes during games in response to the opposition.
    **AV writes: And yet, at 90 minutes QPR’s counter had produced nothing so althoug hthe dynamics changed it is not as if Boro were tactically unpicked by genius Redknapp in the second half. It came down to a bobble and an air-shot.

  17. As AV says at 90 mins QPR’s offensive hadn’t broke through and it was decided by a bobble. In isolation that reflection stands strong but apart from Friend’s shot from whence the resulting quickly taken goal kick from Green led to the Bobble Zamora goal we never looked like winning or brought our sriker into the game all afternoon.
    Against Bournemouth did we seriously test their keeper in 90 minutes? Against Forest we were out run, out fought and out chased at home but we were undone by a handball. we are riding our luck on small margins. Too many games now since January we haven’t been able to score, don’t look like scoring and don’t make our domination in games tell.
    With Mogga we had split Strikers who were so far apart they looked like they had never been introduced. We now have a lone striker who may as well be Macauley Culkin and Home Alone for all the penetrative effect they have.
    Bedding in a new system is fine and it takes time and we largely understood and appreciated that. We didn’t get an immediate new manager bounce with Aitor but we could see the organistion and structure in his methodology. Slowly but effectively he sorted the defence out which was brilliant.
    Reasonably we expected to see gradual evolution rather than revolution and with the transfer window we seen outgoings of individuals who clearly didn’t or couldn’t fit the new game plan. since the turn of the year at best we have been stagnant assuming that Ledesma’s cameo pre-Xmas was just a lucky never to be repeated blip.
    The midfield is defensively functional but it is clear that the attacking intent is either too complex for the players abilities and/or the players haven’t bought into it heart and soul.
    Being honest if we must I think Curtis Main is probably the best in the lone striker mad dog chasing around running here there and everywhere role. He won’t score goals but then I doubt that there is any player currently in the Championship with that skillset and lets face it scoring goals hasn’t been a requirement to date.
    We may as well play without a recognised striker and instead put an extra midfielder in and hope when we break forward down the flanks one or two from Leadbitter/Chalobah/Butterfield/Tomlin etc. can keep pace.
    Butterfield ran the show first half but he never looked like linking with Graham, when Tomlin came on he tried to link play but he and Graham were poles apart. Our best attacking threat and goal scorer was our left back.
    Kamara looked like a fish out of water, I think he is better than we are seeing right now and the same goes for Graham. Albert looked very restrained and subdued to me, maybe just an off day or maybe his spell on the little bit naughty but not very naughty step has taught him a lesson.
    Juke appears to be scoring for Bolton fairly regularly since his loan started yet Notlob’s faithful bemoan Dougie Freedman’s negative defensive tactics and his lone striker preference so why is that Juke is scoring? Its not a stick to beat Aitor with as to a man we were all OK when the Juke left for the Reebok but something is different with the guy.
    None of our lone strikers have looked a threat, a few have now tried and they all look desperate forlorn figures that plough a very lonely furrow. No service, no interplay with colleagues and apparently no understanding. That is the annoying reality.
    What’s more annoying is that it continues seemingly unabated without a single sign of even moderate improvement or at least a Plan B.

  18. Hold on , Hold on……
    We’ve brought in a guy who has never managed (it sickens me to watch what what McClaren’s doing at Derby ) – but THAT’S the Boro hierarchy. This guy can hardly speak English, so how is he doing to instill blood and guts in a team talk before, or half time.
    He is like King Canute ploughing on with a system with one up front , and not a very good (up front) one at that, a system which might work with world class players. Sorry but this guy simply doesn’t understand this level of football and what’s required to get us out.
    Big deal – a disciplinarian – but we’ve all had THOSE in our workplaces and elsewhere and it doesn’t necessarily produce results . This has been a poor appointment and I don’t care which way you look at it – players frightened to express themselves, frightened to entertain ,a boxer going into the ring determined not to get hurt – and not capable of hurting the opponent.
    Nil-Nil, Nil – Nil goodness me !!!!! we wait all weeek for the Pride of the Boro to step out on to the pitch and what do we get. Foreign Generals shouldn’t be leading British troops into battle , and before you cite Mourinho ,Wenger etc remember these guys are dealing with top class foreign player of all tongues who are still spoken to by the Managers in their own language.
    I hope you don’t think me xenophobic – it’s simply that if the standard of English spoken by Karanka in the dressing room is the same we hear post match – then the whole exercise is pointless when it comes to winding-up the players.
    Get rid – and get some one who knows this league. By the way Strachan didn’t know this league and neither did Mowbray. Managers ? what a life !!!!

  19. Excellent posts Redcar Red also Clive Hurren and Burrapete.
    Hate to say it AV but a lot of fans now have the same opinion of Karanka as we did about Mogga six months ago .
    What concerns me is our continuing lack of goals created by the midfield. One of Danny Grahams goals against Ipswich came from a corner, the other a rebound off the keeper. Could anyone tell me the last time a boro centre forward scored a goal which was created by a pass from a midfielder. Answers on a postcard to our current manager.

  20. Apart from the cruel luck of Saturday, can anyone understand the logic of letting Reach extend his loan? Seems to have got fmttm’ s Rob Nicholls’ back up and I have to agree.
    Seems to me the remainder of a season without a tangible goal to aim for other than trying to win a few games would be the ideal grounding for the young man, to show what he can do in Carayol’s berth…is Karanka turning into Krankie mk II?

  21. The issue of having a non-scoring centre-forward has been an issue for most of this season at least but the difference before was that the ‘striker’ role was being performed to support other players into getting into scoring positions.
    I think Kamara and to some extent Juke were used to hold the ball up and lay it off to the likes of Adomah and Caryol to have a pop. It was more of selfless team role that ultimately got the desired end result.
    I wonder if having Graham on loan in that position is not having the secondary effect of allowing others to play off him because basically he’s at Boro to prove that he is a goal scorer.
    There’s nothing much in it for him to play the selfless role that other previous incumbents have endured as nobody will notice anything other than the notches on the goals scored post when he returns home. Incidentally is a finisher allowed to have unfinished business?
    The problem is Graham still lacks goals and ultimately confidence. Plus our other attacking players are seldom getting into the positions that 4-2-3-1 needs to make it work effectively.
    Maybe we should revert back to Kamara up front to see if we can develop more interplay amongst our forwards – also it may be time to see if Luke Williams is up to the task of playing at this level. What else is there left to do with this season if not to give some of the normally bench-warming hopefuls a chance to shine before decisions are made in the summer?
    I take Ian’s point earlier that starting formations are not cast in stone but perhaps they effect the players mentality into what their role is and what restrictions are upon them.
    Finally, I know that the life of a Championship manager is getting increasingly shorter (only six have now been in their jobs for more than 18 months and Mogga was after all the longest serving before being sacked) but you can’t say Karanka has had the chance to prove anything yet . You can’t seriously attempt to judge a manager who’s not even had one pre-season yet let alone two.
    **AV writes: Short-term knee-jerkism is the new football mentality. The game now has a memory span of a month. The managerial life cycle has been compressed into a year. Every defeat is a disaster. Two defeats in a row is a crisis. Two draws even. Perspective, patience and time to build are outmoded commodities. Win or die. Even in League Two.

  22. If the ball did bobble from a stray Coke/Fanta/lemonade bottle cap, then it looks as though the Boro fans are in the clear. As we all know, football fans are so untrustworthy that their bottle tops are taken off when the drinks are handed over the counter at the Riverside.
    A careless steward or maybe a thirsty member of the groundstaff dropping the offending piece of plastic whilst undertaking last-minute duties on the pitch?
    Meanwhile, at Twickers, or the Millennium or Edinburgh, rival fans can sit in their seats with full pints, or share a bottle (including whisky!) between themselves, and even sit next to opposing fans without WW3 breaking out.
    Maybe we will be lucky for the next few weeks. Would be nice to think so.

  23. Werdermouth.
    It would be pertinent if anybody could be bothered to look back over all our goals this season to see how they arose.
    How many were the result of continued pressure and passing where the striker knocked it in from ten yards? My instinct tells me we have been relying on a lot of individual play.
    I go back to comments I have made in the past. Listenining to Maddo and Higgy before him the constant call is to get players in to the box. If I had a tenner for every time Ali has asked the pair ‘come on, your’e the expert summariser, what do we need to do?’ then I would have a yacht the size of Abramovich.
    If Carayol and Adomah were like Bale, Ledesma like Hazard, Graham et al like Drogba, Leadbitter like Lampard then the wouldnt have been here.
    That is’nt a criticism of them, they are what they are and I am sure they do their very best. They are not premiership players.
    Mogga’s teams were not all out attacking, he even said himself that we will sit back for half an hour, match the opposition and take it from there.
    It is what it is. No silver bullet

  24. The bottle top most likely will have come from a physio’s kit bag. Most likely from the incident when we were attacking in the second half and building up steam and had Rangers panicking to get back when Varga (much to the annoyance of the home crowd) knocked the ball out of play so the QPR player could receive life saving treatment.
    As Forever Dormo states it couldn’t have come from a spectator as the Health and Safety Jobsworths deem it a danger to have a bottle top on a plastic bottle. Its safe and OK however to have unwashed coin and note infected hands of a stranger unscrewing the said bottle top from where you are then expected to drink from whilst having your eyes poked out when you pay for the pleasure. Would you like C. Difficile with your Sprite (other soft drinks are available) sir?
    On the subject of short term knee jerkism, there are only 24 posts on here after an event filled game. I think the short term knee jerkism has now descended into longer term knee jerkism, the short term jerkers apparently can’t even be bothered to be bothered anymore
    **AV writes: If the apathetic drift continues I might have to start to include all my regulars in the declared traffic figures whether they turn up to are read or not.

  25. Redcar Red –
    It appears there is no longer a knee jerk reaction, it looks to be a steady, rhythmical walk in the opposite direction.
    I suppose the bottle top incident is a sort of karma for having a smile at the beach ball incident for Reina at Sunderland. Or maybe the Ince equaliser against Leeds that bounced over the keeper’s shoulder.

  26. I enjoyed the game on Saturday (not the result) in the first half we saw how good we can be against a team that has more ex-Premiership players than we had. In the second half we did lose our way somewhat but until the “fluke” we still held an improved QPR and at the very least deserved a draw.
    Posters on here ask why did Varga not pump the ball up field instead of playing it across the back. From my view in the east upper when Varga received the ball I could see at least two Boro players in offside positions trying to get back onside and by the time the ball was rolled to Dimi they were back onside.
    From what I have read on here it seems a lot of posters want rid of AK, after all he has been in the job nearly five months now!
    Some have asked why did we not get McClaren back, now let me think, is that not the same manager that when he was here a lot of fans wanted rid of, in fact did not one fan throw his red book season ticket at him, ahhhh but that was before the Carling Cup win and the UEFA Cup final.
    How long was he manager, that’s right five years not five MONTHS and even after the most successful 5 years in Boro history, when he moved to the England job, how many “fans” were saying thank god for that !
    Some posts I have read have veiled references against the chairman, yet this morning I was talking to a devout Leeds fan and he was telling me how lucky we were to have Steve Gibson. I wonder sometimes if some of our “fans” really do understand the financial side of running a football club, get this manager, buy this player or bring in an investor/billionaire, if only it were that simple. Lets see at the end of this season which clubs fall foul of the FFP.
    I spent 29 years in the army and have no idea of the complications of trying to manage a football club in this day and age, but I do have an idea about loyalty and I am quite prepared to give AK the 2 1/2 years of his contract and see if we are progressing. Billy Davies has just been sacked, so how long will it take for a Boro “fan” to post “lets get him in” the mind boggles.
    Come on BORO
    **AV writes: Billy Davies *shudder* …

  27. Typical Boro, we can’t even lose our bottle properly when the team has a wobble – instead someone goes and loses just the bottle top and causes a bobble that costs us the game.
    I’m also a little worried, given the demographics of the blog seem to be skewed towards those with longer memories, that they may struggle to get back up again from any kind of knee jerk whatsoever.
    Ian –
    Whatever way you look at it Boro are scoring fewer goals than they used to. There has to be some reason and solution to be found by those who know a lot more than I do – I suppose you could say it only requires better players but that is never going to be always possible on a shrinking budget.

  28. I have to admit to having ‘end of seasonitis’ some what early.
    The teams average performances, lack of goals and to use the inevitable cliche ‘mid-table mediocrity’ are leaving me struggling to get excited about Boro at the moment. We are yet again in a situation where we’re ‘looking forward to’ yet another end of season clear out and a new group of players for next August. Which will then lead us onto the dont get too excited about this season because it’ll take a year to bed everyone in scenario.
    We really are locked into a self perpetuating circle, how thats broken I dont know. We aren’t going to sell a shed load of season tickets, the crowds wont increase until the teams performances/results propel us to the top six. How do we get to the top six if there isn’t sufficient cash to buy the quality players needed to achieve that?
    Personally I’m looking forward to the summer sports now, which in mid-March is not good.
    I hope we beat Huddersfield, but if we dont so what?
    **AV writes: My column in the steam driven paper Gazette today is on just this: apathy, angst and existential crisis… the creeping recognition of ordinariness and the fear of becoming “the likes of Middlesbrough.”

  29. Werdermouth –
    I agree we are scoring less, no doubt in part due to the fact we are more organised. The
    fact we have tightened up must have an effect.
    But at the other end we were not scoring goals with Barca like possession and pressure. A lot seemed to be down to individual sparks from Carayol and Adomnah plus the odd thunderous strike.
    You are right about not being able to get better players on a shrinking budget. Vic is probably right that we have to get used to being ordinary.
    Our current situation was not made in Northern Spain, or Saltburn for that matter. Gravity is a constant and we are suffering from it, you need escape velocity to overcome it and we have no Saturn booster to generate it.

  30. Ian –
    Lack of incisive midfielders?
    Adomah has scored nine with eight assists, Carayol eight with three assists, Leadbitter six with 10 assists. That’s not bad going in a team that hasn’t attacked since the begining of November.
    Don’t confuse lack of incisiveness with lack of freedom to express yourself. The latter has been curbed by our ultra-conservative, risk-averse approach; sacrificed at the altar of clean sheets.
    Improvements in defending have been at the expense of attacking intent. That’s fine if you’re happy to stay in the league but no use if the minimum requirement is a top six finish.
    All three layers mentioned are very good at this level. If they are made available for transfer they will be snapped up, probably for a song given how their value has been undermined by Karanka and his pettiness. The chances are that they will be replaced with inferior but harder working players who will take us no further forward.
    The flawed theory is that we can easily to add goals to our solid base.
    Teams will give you a throw-in, a corner, a free kick, even a penalty in some situations but they will not, Greek keepers aside, give you a goal. Scoring a goal is the hardest thing in football to do. To think that adding goals to our current negative set up will be a simple final step is simply pie in the sky.
    Perhaps the grand plan is to fill the opposition’s goalmouth with bottle tops.

  31. The likes of Reach, Smallwood etc etc, are out on loan because they aren’t good enough.
    Señor Karanka should be given the same chance as the previous incumbents, to bring players of his choice in. Only then can he be judged. The present shower are amongst the worst I’ve seen at the club.

  32. I heard after a thorough investigation of Bobblegate it wasn’t a bottle top after all – apparently following some crisp passing on the edge of the box a crunching tackle caused the lid of the Pringles to accidentally fall off…

  33. Especially in the Steve Gibson era, Boro have always been a club that gave its manager time to make an impact. We have sometimes been patient to a fault – as with Robbo.
    If we follow the wishes of a few on here and sack AK sooner rather than later, we’ll have descended into the revolving door mentality of other clubs. No, he’s left his homeland and uprooted his family so he deserves to be backed.
    We were heading for a relegation fight when he arrived. He saved us from that, made a quick impact on our defence and is imprinting a pattern of play that has been widely proven to work well. Let’s see what he can do with more time, more of his own players and a close season or two.
    If we were to get rid before 2015 I for one would wash my hands of Boro – and, after more than half a century, I don’t say that lightly. AK has 2 1/2 years left of his contract and deserves to see out at least the majority of it.

  34. Burrapete –
    if Aitor is half as successful in his field as Canute, AKA Cnut the great, was in his we can all look forward to going on tour again.
    Tactically I think Cnut would have gone with an attacking 2000, 3000, 5000 formation which would have been traditional in those days. That’s why William of Normandy caught the eye with his tactic of dropping back to draw the opponents in and hitting them on the counter.

  35. The reality is, AV, that we already are ‘the likes of Middlesbrough’ and have been for at least two seasons if not longer. We will, in all probability, never shake off that epithet given the constraints of FFP and the lack of available investment.
    Let’s face it, we have average Championship players, some who are above and some who are distinctly below average, and can’t afford anything better, so barring an unlikely Rockcliffe epiphany which sees a moderate Championship team blossom into free-scoring marauders we are, in Moggaspeak, where we are.
    Unless during the summer, Karanka unearths gems from amongst the pebbles – and I don’t think filling the side with young or has-been Spaniards is necessarily the answer – then the ‘likes of Middlesbrough’ erimus…

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