Jelle Serves Up Goal Treat

TASTY Jelle showed this team are not to be trifled with as Boro served up a treat at Millwall.  Vossen has had to wait 12 games to get off the mark but got his just desserts with a delicious first on his way to a mouthwatering 23 minute -hat-trick before Bamford and Kike put cherries on the top. In a fantastic first half bubbling Boro created a flurry of chances: they could have had hundreds and thousands. Almost.

There were a string of clear cut chances, a couple of good saves, a strong penalty claim and one that bounced in off the post only to be clawed back into play by the keeper. It was party time for Boro who really could have scored seven or  eight. Nine?   In an awesome first 45 minutes that looked not only possible but likely.



                                     Tasty Jelle: Made Millwall defence wobble

To be fair, Millwall were woeful. Ian Holloway – who Boro have never beaten before – made a panic midweek tactical switch from his usual 4231 and played three at the back with two wide midfielders in a bid to stop Boro’s wingers: it was a disaster.

They were ripped open down the flanks ruthlessly in a cruel first half. Adam Reach had his man on toast on the left and free reign in the vacuum where the full-back should have been while on the right Albert Adomah and Emilio Nsue took it in turns  to launch raids into the space on that side and deliver testing balls in.

Reach was on fire. He tortured them down that side and put in a series of  excellent balls. The first few led to good chances that were squandered as Boro got their sights in then Jelle took centre stage and the floodgates opened. Excellent stuff.

Vossen has hinted for a while now that he has quality and showed it.  He said calmly and confidently only this week that he felt the goals would come soon. He could have had a hat-trick before he finally scored and you could sense people starting to wonder if he would ever score. But he soon put those fears to bed.  He was great, and not just in scoring (although his opener was sublime).  He also linked up superbly with Bamford – who has now scored five in six – in a dominant display of liquid movement, deft touches and crisp passing that made them look a formidable frontline. And then Kike came on and scored within a couple of minutes.  Impressive options and tough choices for Karanka.

The backline all did well too. They shackled penalty box plank Fuller and one-time Boro ‘Naughty Step’ Messiah Scott McDonald,  headed away the ever more desperate high-balls and  both central-defenders claimed assists with lovely long balls.  The engine room pair quickly seized control of the midfield and started pushing the ball wide for Boro’s flying flankers to scythe forward. It was a clinical dismantling of a side soon in disarray.

McDonald got some half-hearted booing early on but it soon turned to sympathy. He was working hard and getting nowhere fast. He got the consolation goal but Boro hit back within two minutes to reassert  their total control.

After the game it was a long wait before a chastened Holloway came up to the press conference and when he did he was still looking shell-shocked. Not many quips this time. The sad pirate said it was his “worst day in football.” 

It was Boro’s best win since a 5-1 victory just down the road at QPR in December 2009, Gordon Strachan’s first away win. And it was the first time Boro had scored four in the first half since a 4-2 win at Hull in April 2011… and that was also the last away hat-trick, scored by hapless former internal exile McDonanld.

It was perhaps a politically potent victory.  Plenty of people were waiting to use Higgy’s exit as a stick to beat Boro with and a defeat would have given them free reign to extrapolate for England. That issue may not have gone away but it has been defused.

It was a great day out for the 1399 Boro fans who were in high spirits from before kick-off (even on the way down on the train they were serenading fellow passengers with a selection of Christmas carols) and jubilant afterwards.












You get the sense that a real belief is starting to grow among the fans now . One defeat in 14. Best away record in the league. Best defensive record in the league. The goal difference deficit has been clawed back (Bournemouth’s eight goal advantage has been  wiped out in a months, Derby are just one goal better off) and any question-marks over the strikers ability to hit the net are being answered.


The rout pushed Boro back to within two points of the top – and with “Steve McClaren’s Derby ” in a small screen showdown at home next week the summit is again within touching distance …. bring it on.




MILLWALL: a land lost in the mists of time,  where herds of strutting Danny Dyer’s roam free in their natural habitat,  being top, top geezers and pwopa nawty.  Change at Tower Bridge and get an overland train to the eighties.

It is hostile, old school intimidating and always lively. The last few trips have seen the home fans raining bottles on the linesman and trying to lynch the manager –  hated Hammers icon Steve Lomas – promoting bemused Aitor Karanka to tell us in the tunnel after the mob had been cleared away: “It is crazy, they are trying to kill the coach and it only the first home defeat of the season.” Welcome to Millwall , Aitor.

But the trip is usually productive for Boro.  Last time out was a small screen sizzler – 90 minutes of mediocrity in a monsoon and swirling wind punctuated only by a cracking Emmanual Ledesma goal and his assist for Albert Adomah to seal it.




was a turning point for Karanka, his first away win and the start of a long good run as his style and system started to loom out of the dislocation of the dug-out change. Let’s hop it is a similar launchpad this time, a good win to catapult Boro on a hot streak.

The post-match press conference last season was amusing. It was the first time the language barrier presented a problem for Karanka – and not because of HIS accent .

This is the closest phonetic transcription I can get to the opening exchanges after Aitor was ushered in to the spartan New Den ante-room to face the London local press with their dense dialect and metropolitan Mockney vowel mangling.

Gordon Cox: “Gentlemen… Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka… any questions”

Stereotypical Cockernee Reporter: “Sooooo Ai’oor, you know Jo-zaaa Mo’weenyo don’cha? Well we wuz taw’in to Jo-zaaa vis week wight, an’ he sez’at Middews-buwwaw is the furss wesult’e looks f’arrfter games… you mus’be very flattered an’ awl vat? Wot wiv’ ‘im sayin’ vat?”

Aitor Karanka (looking non-plussed): “Errrrr… sorry?”

SCR (slower, louder): “Jo-zaaa Mo’weenyo… he sez Middewsbuwwaw is the furss wesult ‘e looks for. Wot you fink ov vat then?”

AK (looking non-plussed): “Errrr… sorry?”

SCR (very slowly): “Sooo, wuz you ‘appy wiv winning the game today? Did you fink Middewsbuwwaw d’served to beat Mi-waaaaaw?”

Personally I think Boro will click, their impressive away day form will kick in and they will ease to a early lead before ‘comeback kings’ Millwall (who have clawed back from two down to draw with Bournemouth, Wolves and Blackburn of late) get a consolation in a late flurry with their spittle flecked fans  baying for blood.


Meanwhile episode four of the new podcast is out and it now not only has a name but also a graphic that I rattled off. The gentleman with the stovepipe hat looks a bit like Dom Shaw and the one seated to his right is the spit of Phil Tallentire. None of them look like me.

tripe supper logo (1)


This episode covers HiggyGate, the delicate dug-out dynamics of a successful club and theimportance to the team of Mackem midfield metronome Grant Leadbitter and the strategic significance of his signing. You can listen to it here. 


PLUS,  as part of my multi-media bid for world domination, and my remit to ‘provide engaging content across a variety of platforms’   Untypicalboro is now on Facebook.

I’ve always resisted it because I can’t be doing with walls, pokes and people trying to buy lives for Candy Crush off me but there is a demand there (I get e-mails all the time) and apparently there are I’ve been set up on a “brand” page so you can “like” me but you can’t be “my friend.”  It’ll be snippets, trivia, pictures videos and the occasional quiz. I know a lot of the demographic on the blog are hsotile to it but equally for many younger people Facebook is there first instinct. So,  if you do that kind of thing, I’m there for you.


133 thoughts on “Jelle Serves Up Goal Treat

  1. I’ve watched that glorious shot of Vossen’s about six times, brilliant.

    Let’s hope that there are more goals to come from him and meanwhile Bamford keeps hitting the target with regularity too. The defence seems to work for one another and the team and I feel that there is a consistency beginning appear and I think that this consistency will banish that syndrome of ‘up at the top at Christmas and down with the decorations in the New Year.’

    Then there are the injured players to come back who will have a point to prove when they get their opportunity. Perhaps a good cup run is needed so that the returnees get involved by that route.

    Long may it continue.


    John R

  2. Re the moaning your absolutely right AV. Our Wembley visit to play Leicester in the League cup will live long in my memory not least because I sat next to a bloke who started maoning 30 minutes before kick-off and kept it up right through, despite me telling him to ‘belt up’ more than once. For the life of me I don’t understand where the pleasure comes in supporting your team with an attitude like that!

  3. Good piece on Boro’s goalscoring, AV.

    There really is nothing to be down about at Boro at the moment. It’s all ticking along nicely and, better still, appears to be improving. I don’t think we’ve peaked yet.

    One other point on not having a regular, single goalscorer: it is surely an advantage – players get injured and suspended but we won’t have to worry about missing our goal getter, we score enough without one.

  4. Was looking at the form stats last night. Whilst we’re top of the away league and have the meanest defence, we’re only 13th in the home league (and 8th overall). Derby are 3rd home and away and 4th overall. Fix that (starting Saturday) and we’re up. Fix that and the home fans will flock back as well.

  5. Looking at the new unbelievable training facility Man City have built and I say good luck to them. It will create more jobs. It makes you wonder what could be done to help small clubs in the lower leagues if for instance a small percentage of all transfer fees were set aside in a pool to be shared out to those clubs to be used for non playing expenses including ground improvements, policing, wages toward anciliary workers, (laundry, office staff. skilled trades etc). The future of the game would be secured’for those supporters of these clubs.

    I believe close to a billion was spent in the last window: 2% of that would be significant.

  6. Talking of referees, it was interesting to listen to the reaction to the sending off of the Liverpool player last night.

    Replays showed Markov looked back at the Basle player then swung his arm at head height. I don’t know how much or little contact he made but he certainly gave the officials every chance to make a decision.

  7. AK is wasting his own and everybody else’s time in having a personal hearing if he is unable to improve on the excuses he has offered so far for manhandling one match official and jabbing a finger into the face of the other. These are serious offences, which compromise the integrity of the game and need to be stamped out at every level.

    Aitor’s expressions of regret have been rendered meaningless by his later statement that he could give no guarantee that he would not repeat his behaviour in the future. The fact that he claims that he could see three fouls being committed from a distance of some fifty yards, but could not be precisely certain of the details of an incident happening under his nose and in which he was involved is also deeply unconvincing.

    Aitor is doing well. The team is exceeding all expectations. Neither he, the team nor the supporters need these distractions. He has set a poor example to his team and to the supporters. He will probably get a lengthy touchline ban. He should accept it like a man and move on. Personally I would like to see him given a community service order compelling him to go out and referee a local match every Sunday morning for the next six months. Preferably important junior games with parents screaming at him from the sidelines.That might give him a greater sense of perspective, and a greater understanding of the direction the game is taking at every level.

    He is doing great for the Boro, but I have no sympathy with him on this one.

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