FOOTBALL

STEVE’S ARMCHAIR REVIEW – MIDDLESBROUGH V LEEDS

The first dangerous Middlesbrough attack of note, in the first half, came to nothing due to an excellent clearing header from Paul Robinson at a Boro corner. After this opportunity, Leeds threatened the Boro goal a few more times. Becchio was played in over the top but made a hash of his finish. Then, McCormack played in Aidan White, in acres of space, but the Leeds man ballooned the ball over. It’s safe to say that in the Premier League, with good players, these two chances would have been finished and the game put to bed. One minute before half-time, Middlesbrough attacked dangerously down the left, a good cross sent in with Lukas Jutkiewicz heading straight at Andy Lonergan. It would’ve been disallowed anyway as the linesman had raised his flag for offside.

At half-time I was thinking that this was one of the more exciting Championship games I had seen. Both teams were showing attacking intent but neither team were showing much by way of end product. Leeds’ two goals came from Middlesbrough errors and Boro just didn’t seem to want to have a shot. Surely, SURELY, it was time for Ogbeche.

The second half kicked off, there was no Ogbeche. Apparently, yelling ‘you don’t know what you’re doing!’ at the TV doesn’t work. Tony Mowbray didn’t take my advice on board and Middlesbrough were destined to lose.

The second half was one of the worst halves of football I’ve ever watched, so I’ll try to liven this section up the best I can. The first chance of the half went to Snodgrass who shot into the side-netting from the edge of the area. Shortly afterwards, we were given a free sample of Teeside theatre. Adam Hammill went down under the most minimal of contact, 20 yards out from the Leeds goal. The referee was wise to his ploy and didn’t award the free-kick. Cue the most ridiculous hissy-fit ever performed by a grown man.

Then we had another incidence of commentators over-selling what they have seen. There was a cross into the Leeds box with Rhys Williams running in at the back post, he connected with his but it hit the side-netting. The commentator was on dream street, ‘my word, he almost, ALMOST squeezed that in!’ (paraphrasing) Erm, he didn’t, it was comfortably wide, I’d have berated a child for not putting it on target.

There is much I can say about the second half. It was typical Championship fare really. It was really boring with a distinct lack of quality about it. It was a tale of misplaced passes and shots that sailed way, way, WAAAAY over the bar. Even ‘box of tricks’ Marvin Emnes was having a tough time of it. (Who’d have foreseen that? Not me, how could a player, who hasn’t triggered any interest from Premier League clubs since Boro were relegated three seasons ago, not play that well?)

Sometime in the second half, I can’t say exactly when because time seemed to have stopped for me, Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray finally used his initiative and made a couple of changes. This piqued my interest. Was it time for the man, the myth, the legend Ogbeche? In short, no it wasn’t. It was time for Connor Main and Kevin Thomson.

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