Monday, October 23, 2006

Dark clouds overhead

Middlesbrough 1 - 0 Newcastle Utd

Smogland, so often a happy hunting ground for us, proved far less accommodating yesterday, as the story of our season so far was once again repeated. As has so often been the case, we were left to rue many missed opportunities as a solitary goal enabled the home side to claim all three points.

This time it was alleged one time target Aiyegbeni Yakubu who rose to meet a Stewart Downing corner and head the smoggy winner five minutes from time. By that stage, the game should have been beyond the home team, as we wasted several excellent opportunities to register an away win.

The first half saw us dominate, with Martins hitting the bar with out best chance when through one-on-one with Schwarzer. As a team, our pace was unsettling Boro, and despite the loss of our European goal scorer Sibierski, we looked a better bet for a goal.

At the back, Moore returned to the centre to partner Taylor, and push Ramage back out to the left. For Ramage it must have been slightly galling that he was the one to move to full back, despite enjoying a much better game than his heavily lauded counterpart.

Nil-nil at half time, and despite Boro seeking to alter their team, it was Newcastle who once again looked the more likely scorers, with both Milner and Duff going close. However, as the game wore on, and our inability to score became increasingly chronic, the home team started to find their way into the game, with Stewart Downing enjoying more and more space down the smoggy left. It was his corner that led to the goal, but the nagging feeling is that had we taken our chances, this would have been nothing more than the consolation strike of a beaten team.

Next week's game against Charlton has "must win" written all over it. The consequences otherwise are not worth considering.

Other reports: BBC, Guardian


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