City: Dare To Dream

A MULTI-ZILLION-PETRODOLLAR-JUGGERNAUT deservedly beaten. The champions. On their own patch.   What a day.  It was a famous FA Cup coupon-buster as brilliant Boro battled and showed silk and steel to see off City.

Boro acquitted themselves well at Anfield in a pulsating and proud performance but that side was disjointed and demoralised and had a few ring rusty players and has gone on to be distinctly average this term.  But the win at City was several gears up. They are a far better team. And a far richer team. The home side started with £170m worth of players on the pitch and had another £70m on the bench. They are the reigning Premier League champions, are second this time round and are in the Champions League. They included Galaticos like Navas, Zabaletta, Aguerro and Silva. And Boro beat them.

And it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t a spawny win. Boro deserved it.  They earned it. They worked for it. They  matched City tactically and bettered them when it came to energy, passion and motivation. They were organised, disciplined and focused and they carried out out Aitor Karanka’s meticulously prepared game plan to the letter.

111opener

                        All pile on: Boro celebrate Patrick Bamford’s opener

Boro  bust a gut to press and harry and close quickly and contain a fantastic forward line, they sweated and ran and ran up front to deny City any time on the ball to build moves from the back, in the middle to to shackle the creativity and  along across the rearguard and drew the sting then gradually, slowly, they started to probe themselves and looked increasingly dangerous  on the break. And  they finished on top.

It wasn’t easy though. No way. Let’s not kid ourselves. City were fantastic at times and the first 20 minutes was a masterclass in electric collective movement as they zipped the ball about at bewildering pace and buzzed about in and around the Boro box and but for a superb show of shot-stopping from much maligned second string keeper Tomas Meijas it could have been  over before the half-hour mark.

As City repeatedly carved through an initially rocky rearguard  in a torrid first phase – especially down the right leaving George Friend dizzy at times – Meijas made a series of full-length blocks to deny them and dish out several thousand portions of humble pie while he was at it. At that stage it was fingers-crossed. The balance of play was overwhelming and there were fears that one goal could led to a deluge.

But gradually Boro got a grip. They weathered the storm. They tuned into the pace and pattern of City’s movement and started to match it.  The tackles were flying in, crosses cut out,  runs tracked, space squeezed, crosses blocked and the insistent early pressure started to ease a bit as the back-line grew into the game.

Having blunted City’s attack Boro started to find space and hit on the break.  They  finished the first half with a flurry of tentative attacks and came out after the interval looking sharper and showing more intent and were quickly in front. It was a scrappy opener but it was deserved, Boro prised open City’s defence and forced a string of errors and punished then. It was a good run and  determined pressure by Adomah on the keeper and force the error and  a perceptive run and slide by Bamford to anticipate and stab home the hapless attempted goal-line clearance by Fernando.

2424BAmford

                 Get in there: Perceptive Bamford comes sliding in to stab home

After that City increased the pressure and intensity but lost some of their finesse and while they pushed forward in greater numbers you felt belief was draining from them and they and their fans grew frustrated. No wonder. Every single Boro player suddenly grew a foot and found an extra yard in a Titanic defensive display of bodies on the line blocking and tackling, snapping at heels and charging down shots in a frenzy along the 18 yard line and there were some far-fetched penalty shouts waved away.

But there was more heat than light. For all their urgency City barely got a sight of goal and having been the busiest man on the pitch in the first half, Meijas was barely tested in the second. Lampards’s shot deflected off Clayton looped up and hit the post but that was it.

But up the other end Boro looked dangerous on the break, taking advantage of the space as City pushed more men forward. Some quick balls upfield sent Tomlin, Adomah and Bamford to threaten a second and a Leadbelter rocket was bravely blocked and the balance of the game swung tangibly Teesside’s way.

2323Tomlin

                                           Boro’s Begkamp: How did that not go in?

Tomlin, who had scored three in the previous two games without being at his best, was a galvanising figure who worked hard and took his share of the defensive burden and kept going well beyond the point he often fades but he also showed some real guile too to find space and play some sublime balls to scythe through the City back line.

Tomlinho should have sealed it  as he picked up a ball from Adomah and back-heeled and spun superbly to beat his man with a balletic Berkampesque swivel then stabbed a low effort against the inside of the post and across the face of goal in a mouth-watering moment that later had the national pundits gushing.

 Then Adomah and Vossen and Bamford all had chances – and Lampard hit the post – before Kike sealed it late on, slotting home after the ref played a good advantage after a foul on Bamford.

And what a party that sparked. Kike practically went crowd surfing among the ecstatic EIOing army of delirious dancing Boro fans before everyone piled on and soon after, when the whistle went, the entire  team were back down in front of the travelling Tees army with players and fans celebrating together, reinforcing the growing bond that unites us all now.

What a game. What a team of heroes. What a dream time season of golden possibility this is turning into. The players were gushing after the game. And a beaming  Aitor said it was his proudest and most emotional moment at Boro.  It may be – but I think people are now starting to believe there are a lot more  to come.

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408 thoughts on “City: Dare To Dream

  1. I can’t believe anyone is scared of Brentford. And I wouldn’t worry too much now about games in March. Typical Boro fans that is. “We’ve just beaten the richest club in the world” “yeah I know but we’ve got to go to Bournemouth in six weeks and the wheels could come off big style.” Worry about that in six weeks time. For now enjoy the ride.

  2. I’m not scared of Brentford though I do worry when the chances fall to our forwards they take full advantage. I don’t want to be reading of yet another ‘keeper having a worldly at our expense.
    Or seeing it on the TV either.

    (Formerly CroydonBoro)

    1. I am tempted to apologise for not being familiar with your organ. But that might be misinterpreted. For those of us who are not “People people”, when did the reviewing career start, and how is it going?

      Maybe a little off piste, but if you see a film you REALLY think is worth watching, you could let us know on here. Not everyone can get to hear the Good Doctor.

      1. The reviewing career started a couple of years ago – and they still haven’t sacked me.. Considering the way I’ve shot up the long service charts in that time that’s something of an achievement, especially in light of the state of the wider industry.

        Posting under this name was very much an accident caused by been logged in on my phone on my alternative ID, I was deliberately not using it here out of respect for our host and well, there’s a couple of posters on here who I wouldn’t want to be in opposition to on movie pub quiz night. Also I’ve been posting under the CroydonBoro handle for so long posters are used to my drivel and can avoid if the want to; posting under a new name feels a little like walking into the local with a conspicuously new suit on when one would normally wear trainers and a t shirt. And jeans.

        Plus I get to talk about my specialist subject to my hearts content elsewhere, it’s nice to come here and indulge in some Boro time and of course the diversions the conversations take are always worth turning up for.

        But as I’m generally time limited when posting and don’t have the inclination to keep logging in and out of different ID’s for the same application on my phone, with AV’s kind permission I’ll move forward with the new name.

        Whiplash (the movie) is tremendous entertainment. Simple premise, wonderfully executed and all the more impressive for bring written and directed by a bloke under 30.

        CroydonBoro

      2. I like a good movie so had a quick peek. Glad to see the review of AS. I thought I was seeing a different film than most folks as I thought American Sniper was awful.

        Whilst on the movie subject, can you tell me why Grand Budapest Hotel has Kermode et al gushing? It was terrible. Fiennes received rave reviews, but I got the impression he studied Leonard Rossiter as Rigsby in Rising Damp to model his performance on. It seems you just need big stars in cameo roles to guarantee critical success.

  3. Why does last Saturday’s performance mean that we will beat Brentford (or anybody else for that matter)? We were on a good run before the Ipswich defeat. Every game is important to both teams and there’s no such thing as a “cert”, hence last weeks result. We just have to hope that we stick our chances away and that the defence remains firm. We need 3 points tomorrow and to avoid defeat at Derby, Bournemouth and Watford to be in a commanding position for an end of season party.
    UTB

  4. Neil its not that people are scared of Brentford but treat the team that are 1 point behind boro and are fifth in the league with a bit of respect, there have also won their last 3 matches away at Norwich and Brighton home to Rotherham.

    Come on BORO.

  5. Let’s hope steveh is wrong. I won’t predict the result for fear of offending the football gods.

    Before I go to watch Bournemouth v Watford (would a draw be the better result there, for Boro?), maybe a few words on the Brentford game.

    Slaggy Islander – the result last week does NOT mean we will beat Brentford. Each game is its own universe which must be conquered anew. However,although past performance does not guarantee future profits (as I think they say in investment advertisements), if the past history is a trail of success then at least the players go out with confidence to their next game. On the other hand, if a team cannot buy a goal, has been beaten 10 games in a row, the players will have no confidence at all and it would be a brave man to bet the house on their next game being a win. It’s about consistency and confidence.

    And I think Neil is correct in saying Brentford deserve respect. Their team, like ours, is up near the top of the table not by good luck but by consistently good performances and results. When two good teams, each on a decent run of form, meet, then the game is up for grabs – a real contest like some of the heavyweight boxing matches when we were younger (Ali v Frazier, Foreman v Frazier, Ali v Norton etc) rather than some of the “matches” currently put in front of the public at great “pay-per-view” expense. Two genuine contenders (if not yet champs) rather than two bums.

    I think Brentford have done very well this season, and they will feel they can beat anyone at the moment, as Boro will. They may go on to confound all the doubters that they can maintain a real challenge. It is even possible next year’s Premier League may have Bournemouth, Brentford AND Boro in it. I’d certainly settle for that. So, maybe an epic encounter, maybe a stalemate. We will not know until 2.30pm tomorrow. On paper a really good match but, as we all know, football is a game played on grass not paper.

  6. If, while I am at the Tortured Tiger watching the footie, someone would like to poke home number 400, please feel free. I will be checking up on you when I get back, so don’t be shy.

  7. I Hope we can take advantage of playing one of our fellow contenders and put them a further three points behind us. The problem of it being so tight at the top is that you really need to win something like six in a row to get a little bit of breathing space. At least a couple of the top six are probably going to manage to win four out of the last six (as Ian has shown earlier) so opening up any kind of gap is going to be tricky.

    But I feel strangely confident about tomorrow and possibly a good win is coming our way – no doubt with MOTM for AK.

  8. Bournemouth winning 1-0 and yet again the opposition has a man sent off. I remeber Eddie Howe ‘boasting’ before they played us that they get men sent off. It was a poor decision as well under the new rules. Another Premiership ref.

    What is the difference between top flight refs and the rest? They are full time and get paid more.

    It goes back to my comments about being in the part of the table you deserve to be in, the degree of luck decides the final position.

  9. GHW –

    Until The Grand Budapest Hotel I’ve always found the work of Wes Anderson too arch to enjoy and his frequent use of prodigiously intelligent child characters off putting. He errs towards style at the expense of emotion – though his disciplined use of form, colour and framing are exemplary.He’s clearly a clever chap but seems overly eager to show it.

    But in TGBH there’s no kids plus without sacrificing his devotion to form has added warmth and humour by unleashing über-intense thesp Fiennes unknown comic ability.
    No-one was expecting that element and as a bunch we seem to be impressed by the new, hence the rave reviews. It’s not just the ‘new’, Fiennes made me laugh, when my review goes up it will also be gushing. The cameos I could have lived without. It’s also the first WA film where Bill Murray wasn’t over indulged. Also a bonus.

    1. Sorry, I just don’t get it, although Adrien Brody did make me laugh. I’m more of a Jerry Lewis Bellboy kind of Hotel film watcher. I like to be entertained, I’m afraid the intricacies of movie making might do it for the aficionados but not for me. Liked The Drop, which shows I appreciate good acting in a poor film.

  10. We’ll, I’m looking forward to the Brentford match. I’m also optimistic, but I know it’s going to be a tough one, Brentford are clearly a very good team. I’m looking forward to seeing a Boro win in person for the first time in a while.
    Tomorrow will be the day the Boro strikers click.

  11. Time for a ‘prediction’.

    Brentford 0 – 1 Boro. Bound to be wrong, I know, but I don’t see Boro losing whatever the score. Right that’s knackered that prediction. Could be draw…

    UTB,

    John

    1. John

      If we can get out of the blocks early and score then I can see us winning 1 0 or like you a draw!
      My predictions have been lousy that’s why I never have won the pools or the lottery. Mind I did win a nice watch at the Riverside at one of the old players events but that was some time ago!

      Sorry!

      Fat Bob

  12. Then Pride

    **AV writes: “Look at his face! Just look at his face!” This is ridiculous: 400 posts and the club isn’t even in an existential crisis!

  13. grovehillwallah –

    The new kit is the only thing I don’t like about the this season. It’s terrible. We look like tin soldiers, or the half time marching band at the super bowl. Give me the Jackie Charlton horizontal white band any day of the week.

    1. Dormo –

      It was 32 seconds!!!

      I’d just started to settle down and watch the game and couldn’t believe it so promptly switched off knowing what the result would be.
      At least we know what we have to do today. UTB

      Fat Bob

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