Last Gasp Goal In Tense Tussle At Turf Moor

ALL a bit of  blur and I’ve barely slept so for now I’ll just point you the way of our match digest after a last gasp sucker punch squared it up in a 1-1 draw at Burnley. 

And here’s my colour bit on how agonisingly close we were to seizing control of the Championship title battle. Still, decent point and we’d all have taken it beforehand. As you were: win our home games and we’re up. Win the next two and we could be up before the Brighton game. And if it comes down to a last day shoot-out so be it.


Meanwhile, with the summit squeeze still in flux going into the final three fixtures, I’ve had the calculator and slide rule out looking at how and when Boro can go up and here’s my working out of most of the possible permutations in the promotion push.

1Rhodes goal


Here’s what we said before the game…..


TENSE. Excited. Heightened. Frightened. Euphoric. Nauseous. Stomach-knotted tightly as a school-kids’s shoelaces.Flashes of fire. Is it matchday?  Oh yes. Another massive, massive match. We say that every week but this is a high-stakes shoot-out that could be the decisive moment in the promotion campaign.

Get something and the maths swings decisively our way. Draw and we stay top of the pile no matter what Brighton do. Win and we dent Burnley, take huge leap forward and open the way to accelerate over the horizon. Lose? Well let’s not talk about that. Lose and we are still second at worst but that would ramp up the pressure to deep space levels where people start to  actually implode.

We won 1-0 in December when Burnley barely crossed the half-way line. Boro were bubbling then and in the middle of our long sizzling sequence. Burnley were woeful that night but are unbeatin in 19 league games since Boxing Day. Something’s gotta give.

Anyway.  Pre-match shots have been fired. Just as big spending Sean Dyche was trying to take some of the heat out of the situation by explained his earlier contentious big spending Boro comments Aitor rolled in a hand-grenade by saying that given the squad Burnley should have been promoted by now. That will ease the situation.

It was feisty enough last time we went there (this time of year) and mugged them in a 1-0 smash-and-grab backs-to-the-wall win that took the steam out of their title momentum, although hey still went up.There were melees on and off the pitch. And now we have added Leo and two teams chasing the title.

Meanwhile, here a good pre-match read that shows exactly how far we have come in a few short years. Andrew Glover looks at the horrifically unbalanced side Boro turned out at Turf Moor exactly five years ago.

Right, usual drill. Predict away. I’m going for the nillest of all the nils. With a fight.




185 thoughts on “Last Gasp Goal In Tense Tussle At Turf Moor

  1. Burnley and Brighton each have one challenging fixture left, against Preston and Derby respectively.

    If either of them only draws that game, they can only get an extra 7 points from their three remaining games, 84 + 7 = 91.

    We only need to finish above one of them, so if either of those draws happens an opportunity opens up to finish the job before the last game – beat Ipswich and Birmingham and we have 86 points + 6 = 92.

    Our two-point advantage is the key factor.

    This is the best option as any one-off game is risky, even though we would expect to beat Brighton.

    1. Hi Mark… I would just like to point out that most people would say that Brighton have two challenging fixtures left; Derby and Boro.

  2. You’ve got me there, Powmill. I think I’m trying to identify where they might slip in the next two games, so that we can be promoted within the next two games.

    However, I am at the age where brain fade isn’t as occasional lapse, but a way of life…

    1. Ian, why it is called ‘tablet’? Even in our language and formerly known something like asperin. Strange.

      Is it already Saturday? UTB!

  3. See our old friend Rav still cherishes hopes of one day becoming our Manager. Now that would make Season Card Holders reconsider their decision to renew.

  4. Best wishes to Rhys on his move back home. Real shame about the injuries, he never really settled in to any one position, his versatility was matched by his ability to end up in the treatment room.

    1. Real shame about Rhys. He managed to play RB, CB and CM all to a good standard and showed the potential to play at the highest level had his injuries not held him back. He would have been ideal in AK’s set up and his versatility would have been a real bonus.

      Some didn’t rate him but I think they need to reflect on the quality of the playing and back room staff around him at the time and what he had to work with. His era was just after the highs of the glory years with spoiled fans still benchmarking against the likes of Southgate, Ehiogu etc. It should be pointed out that Rhys had support from the likes of Hoyte and Bikey whilst he tried to hold the back line.

      Always gave 100% and during those darkest Championship days almost carried the team on his own. Easy for some to blame him for odd goals but defensively we didn’t defend as a team (nor attack as a team for that matter) and we were in disarray all over the place and as the stand out “go to” only decent player on the pitch he took some unfair stick.

      Hope the sun and the fresh start reinvigorates him and his wounds, sprains, strains and tears have healed. It would be great to see him rebuild his career and go on to have a late great swansong (pun intended). Good luck to the lad!

      1. he was my farourite player during those dark years. Met him quickly at the away end with HalifaxP during the match at Derby. Nice chap.

        Why did we not arrange a testimonial match for him? He was here for over 11 years and one of our own.

        Good luck and all the best, Rhys. Up the Boro!

  5. Yes, good luck to Rhys – a good talent who looked to have the ability to operate at a higher level but sadly a career largely lost to injury.

    Come on Preston.

  6. I’m optimistic about tonight’s match given

    a) that Burnley looked distinctly lacking in energy for large parts of the game last Tuesday.

    Neither Gray nor Vokes looked fully fit to me.

    b) that Preston will give Burnley nothing. The mutual loathing of the Burnley and Preston

    fans will certainly work in Boro’s favour.

    I’ll be surprised if Burnley win, and the intensity of the fixture is the last thing they need at

    this point.

    Can I record, in passing, how impressive Joey Barton was last Tuesday. I have never had

    any time for him in the past, but the way he took Leadbitter’s tackle-itself almost worthy of a

    red card- dusted himself down, didn’t complain, but got on with the game to become

    Burnley’s outstanding player was very impressive. He is the only one really playing for them

    at the moment . Some, albeit reluctant, credit where it’s due.

    And a bit of credit to Dyche as well for not rising to AK’s pre- and post-match personal

    comments, but paying respect to the Boro’s performance after the match. Burnley, by the

    way, did rather more than play long balls. They moved the ball around well in the second half

    and found space on the wings which we found difficult to cope with.

    Pre-match I posted that i fancied a 1-1 draw, because whichever team took the lead would

    defend deep, and concede a late equaliser .

    That’s pretty much as it turned out, and I agree with Clive, Never…, and Cassandra that after

    a very good first- half performance, where our shape and passing was far superior to

    Burnley’s, we resorted to all out defence after our goal.

    It wasn’t simply a matter of defending too deeply. More significant was our refusal to pass our

    way out of trouble. I am all for safety first and not taking unnecessary risks, but when every

    clearance is either a kick into touch or an aimless boot upfield then the ball will continually

    come back, as it did last Tuesday.

    And when time-wasting, milking and feigning injuries, and general time-wasting is taken to the

    extent that it was then I, for one, was not taken by surprise that the ref added 6 minutes to

    the playing time. We were at least spared the sight of our massive keeper being poleaxed by

    cramp. But we were spared little else. In the end, despite our marked superiority for much of

    the game , Burnley deserved their point.

    Rhodes and Ramirez were joint M-o-M for me. Rhodes is brilliant at knock-ons and needs

    someone to play with. Not a Nugent type, but a busy speed merchant. A fully-fit Gray would

    be an ideal complement .

    Ramirez was in a class of his own, but was moving somewhat gingerly throughout. He looked

    to be nursing something, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him rested tomorrow. If so he will

    be missed. Sorely.

    **AV writes: He had a bad cramp after Bolton and then suffered again at Burnley which is why he came off (although he also got a kick on the calf). I don’t know what the prognosis is for cramp.

  7. Agreed, good luck to Rhys, he deserves a run of a few years injury free enjoying his football.
    A potentially very good footballer whose career has been blighted by injuries.

    Redcar makes a very good point, Rhys was a beacon of light in what were very dark times for us Boro fans.

    I cringe when I think our defence had Hoyte and Bikey in it, how far have we come?

  8. What happened to my seamless prose?

    **AV writes: Cut and paste from a different medium importing invisible text codes?

  9. Savage Responds to Criticism by Boro Fans

    I am amazed that Boro supporters have criticised my ‘hothead’ comments. It seems obvious to me that I am the biggest hothead ever to play the game and no-one else comes close.

    People quote Vinny, and yes, he was no doubt the most vicious player to appear, and he would break people’s ankles where I would just kick them. But Vinny was just an amateur compared with the sheer persistence of my petty, spiteful and provocative foul play.

    Some suggest Joey Barton as a bigger hothead for his outbursts and sendings-off, and his thoughtful public comments; for example saying of Burnley ‘At least I don’t have to live there’, and later having to humiliatingly eat his words to get a contract and become a captive parrot for Mr Dyche. Breaking the first rule of the true hothead – never admit you are wrong!

    I, of course, have said more stupid things than anyone can remember, especially about the north, but I have never ever admitted to any of them. Joey and others fall far short of the level of stupidity I am able to consistently achieve and maintain in the face of any of the actual facts. They just don’t cut it as true hotheads.

    My agent keeps telling me that as an expert pundit I should be able to come up with something to say about the clubs in the north, and he assures me it will be reasonably credible as long as it’s less ignorant that something Steve Claridge might say. My agent is a lovely guy, but he just doesn’t get it. My appeal to the public is precisely because I can beat the Claridge’s of this world hands down when it comes to commenting in ignorance.

    Let no-one doubt that I am he, nastiest of the nigglers, prince of petulance, sultan of stupidity – the Savage!

  10. They all have their persona to provoke reaction, its their job. I’ve met Robbie Savage and he’s a really nice bloke.

  11. Will we approach 30,000 on Saturday? Figures suggest 28,500+ but I suspect most people have bought already especially after the Brighton sell out.

    I certainly don’t expect Ipswich to be a ghost town tomorrow.

  12. I’m sure he is, Grovehill. It’s a feeble attempt at satire, just meant to be funny, I hope no-one takes it literally.

    Although there needs to be a germ of truth in there somewhere, or it doesn’t work. None of us would have enjoyed playing against Robbie, Vinny or Joey.

  13. It all comes from when my wife heard Ian Morton saying ‘If this is justice, I’m a banana’. Since then she’s subscribed to Private Eye, something about the behaviour of the rich and powerful being exposed to public scrutiny, or some such leftist claptrap of the sort AV comes up with.

    Anyway, although that magazine distracts me from reading Match and Shoot, I must admit it does hold a strange fascination.

  14. I see the referee for the Ipswich match is a Mr Darren Bond and this is his fifth visit to the Riverside and we are yet to win with him as Ref, his record is:

    Dec 2013 v Birmingham 2 – 2

    Apr 2014 v Millwall 1 – 2

    Aug 2015 v Reading 0 – 1

    Dec 2015 v Birmingham 0 – 0

    So we are due a win and it is another Hoodoo for AK to bust.

    Come on BORO.

  15. Exmil

    It is good to know that there are plenty of sad folks on the blog, that makes two of us now.

    You can beat such facts

    When I was doing my final year project at Leeds we had to design a heavy water plant. From Nuclear Science Abstracts we discovered that should a mouse be suffering from Mousepox, if you replace 10% of its normal water intake with heavy water then it will survive seven days instead of six.

    Another interesting fact we learnt in metallurgy was that metal lampposts fail due to corrosion caused by K9P


  16. Mark, contrary to your comment, I’d have loved to have crossed swords with any one of them, only with RS not in the toilet as my grandbairns are want to fight over, I’d fear a George Michael moment.

    His ankles wouldn’t have been tapped, they’d have been in his kit bag for his mam to carry home, he was the forerunner of the whinging tarts of today. As a hard man, he couldn’t fill an application form in, my wife’s suet dumplings are harder than he is, what a tart!

    Same applies to ‘nutter Barton, it would be toe to toe on the park and, if it wasn’t sorted there or over a pint afterwards, then please allow me to help you find your car in its allotted space.

    As for Mr. Jones, I reckon that past the Hollywood hype, there’s a pussy cat. Don’t get me wrong on and off the park I’d have come second every time, but I reckon he’d have been looking at a lot of scars in the bath later!

    Give me a Ron Harris/Dave Mackay any day, pitch, pub, car park, all in a day’s work, RS is. Complete ponse.

    Said with feeling.

  17. A glance at my road atlas reveals that Preston, Blackburn and Burnley form a little clutch of clubs a stretch north of places like Bolton. (I should know this, as when I was a kid my Dad used to drive us from my Mum’s family home in Manchester to my Nana’s caravan in Blackpool in his Sunbeam Alpine, and it usually broke down in or around Preston [no M6 in those days]).

    I think Blackburn is the main rivalry for Burnley, but Preston is clearly the next closest local derby.

    If Newcastle or Sunderland were coming here intending to beat us to maintain their promotion challenge, I think we would be well up for it. And if the Preston supporters are very committed and passionate about the game, that transmits itself to the players. And no-one wants to be embarrassed by local rivals in front of the TV cameras.

    As RR has already analysed for us, Preston are a decent and resilient side and well able to cause problems. I am tired of thinking a rival is going to slip up and being disappointed, but if Burnley are going to drop points, I think it has to be tonight. Hope Reachy has his shooting boots on.

    I have tied myself in knots over the Savage thing. I’m sure everyone realises that it’s a spoof, but I don’t intend anyone to take it literally that I think this is Robbie Savage’s real personality. On the other hand, we might think that needle and niggle was a big part of his game, and that he is some way off being one of the leading experts on MFC.

    I’ve always thought K9P has a lot to answer for, Ian.

  18. after burnleys win tonight , pressure game tomorrow. But all the games at this stage of the season should all kick off all at the same time.

  19. Disappointing at Preston tonight. Shed loads of goals tomorrow please to give us a goal difference cushion ….. just in case

  20. I was really hoping that Preston would do us a favour but I should have known that it’s never that easy.

    We just have to win at home to Ipswich and then have the advantage of playing first next week to put the pressure back on the others. I always thought that Burnley would be the ones to buckle but they have hung in.

    What odds Charlton pulling off a miracle? Not high, I would guess.


  21. Selwynoz

    Every game is a potential banana skin. The better teams normally win but if you don’t score when on top it gives them something to hold on to, they gaim confidence and then anything can happen.

    Look at our results at Blackburn, Rotherham, Charlton, MK Dons, Bristol City. At Bolton we went behind.

    Against the top six our record is W6 D2 L1.

    I don’t expect Burnley or Brighton to drop points, I think it is up to us to win our games.

  22. Ian I agree. I have always been of the view that it will go all the way to the last game.

    My nightmare scenario is that we only draw our next two games and then go into the final game needing to beat Brighton whilst they would only need a point! I just hope I am wrong.

    What’ the view of your Derby colleagues on them resting players against Brighton in preparation for the play offs making Brighton’s task a little easier?

  23. Lucky goal for Burnley but they could have been 4 up by half-time and were deserved winners. On that form they should win their last two games and therefore go up.

    Barton again outstanding in spite of being targeted by Preston. He didn’t rise to it.

    So it’s between us and Brighton, and in spite of the hope that we might be able to play out a friendly mutually beneficial 0-0 draw,the final game looks like it will be the decider.

  24. Getting to the last couple of games and everything changes, now the mountain of money at the end of it makes it’s presence felt. It is not just important that we win today, it is all important. If we win today, we are in a good place, because it means we could lose at Birmingham and still go up by beating Brighton and that is a privilege that only we have, earned by the sheer willpower of ak. Todays match is a potential trap, I listened to the Ipswich manager’s presser. “I must try my young players now so that I know what the position is for next season, I am already playing one, I may play another, I must play a competitive match to be fair to all the other teams, also I do not want to be beaten heavily. To sum up, be careful, very careful.

  25. Had a pint with them tea time. As far as they are concerned the season is just about over and it is whether they play Hull away or at home first in the play offs.

    I cant see them resting players and they will want to go in to the play offs with momentum, I suspect the result will depend on how the game starts. Derby do like to play football and if they are in the game will give it their best shot. They should have a lot of fans their – it is one of their day out fixtures, spring bank at the seaside.

    Before the last game becomes a decider we need to be winning games.

    The tightness of the battle is shown by the odds. Yesterday we were 1/12 and Burnley 1/7 to go up, after last nights game Burley are 1/16 and we are 1/10. Brighton have settled at around even money. If we win today I guess we will be favourites again.

    Many of us took Boro to get 8 points in the second leg of the exmil challenge, we have banked one of those, seven to go.

    Mrs G and daughter have off to watch the ballet, I am getting ready to watch a different kind of footwork. To the Gillmobile.

  26. One point from our two games before Brighton will keep our destiny in our own hands. Whilst we most certainly don’t want the situation to develop in that way, where we could need a convincing victory over Brighton, that is the situation and it is a good one.

    Three points today is all we need to focus now just now though.

  27. Until I watched the Preston v Burnley game I hadn’t realised how much I supported PNE. I was squirming, ducking, putting my head on imaginary balls pumped into the penalty area…. Must have been something I caught from my best mate when spending 3 years “studying” in the Fens, 40 years and more ago. He came from Penwortham. It was a rather nervous evening and with the predicted, but hoped-against, result.

    It was always going to be, in these last games, a question of what Boro does on the field, and not a question of relying on others.

    We win all 3 games, we go up as Champions. We win both our home games, we go up but only possibly as Champions. We win against Ipswich and Birmingham but draw against Brighton: again we will be promoted and again, possibly as Champions. Other scenarios rely on lower teams humbling Burnley or Brighton in the next couple of games, and that doesn’t seem very probable in light of recent form. So, it’s down to Boro!

    In reality, we’d all shake hands with God now, if he offered us second place and guaranteed promotion. But, what the heck, in for a penny, in for a pound. Let’s charge towards those guns. Champions has a nice ring to it and nobody in this league rubs their hands with joy “Oooh good! We play Boro next”. Our home form tends to suggest a particular outcome, against ANY Championship team, but I am too superstitious to type it out here.

    I hope for an attacking performance. I’d love an early couple of goals, as per Darlington a couple of nights ago at Whitby. Then we can enjoy the rest of the afternoon (and the weekend). No time to be faint-hearted at this stage.

  28. On a different topic:

    There have been so many deaths recently (Victoria Wood, Prince, Bowie etc), with a cluster at 69 years and some rather, and scarily, younger than that. Some are people I feel I have grown up with, as if I have always known them, even if I haven’t met them. They have, after all, “been” in my living room often enough.

    So it brought an ironic smile to the face to read 2 tweets from Robert Webb, as follows.

    1. “Oh God! Not Shakespeare as well? Can’t believe it.”

    2. ” My thoughts are with Shakespeare’s family, producers and monarch. So sad. Let’s just watch his top clips.”

  29. At a family party lunchtime yesterday , my grandson, a Liverpool fan, informed me that Boro are, at which point I firmly reprimanded him.
    Upon reflection, I was possibly too harsh.

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