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Match Report


Posted Sat 24 Sep 11 at 14:04 PM


Town claimed a valuable away point after holding Middlesbrough to a goalless draw at the Riverside Stadium.

In an open game, Blues came closest to taking the three points after Jason Scotland hit the post midway through the second-half.

Michael Chopra and Ibrahima Sonko also went close, while Scott McDonald had forced a fine save out of David Stockdale.

Paul Jewell named an unchanged team following the win against Coventry, with Sonko recovering from his knee injury in time to partner Danny Collins at the heart of defence.

The first shot on goal came in the eighth minute, as Barry Robson's free-kick tested the reflexes of Stockdale but the Town stopper was equal to the drive.

Town had a great chance to open the scoring on the 20 minute mark when Sonko found himself in space from a Keith Andrews cross but the big defender headed wide from six yards.

Chopra thought he had broke the deadlock after 33 minutes after connecting with a Carlos Edwards cross, however the striker's well hit shot was superbly blocked by Boro 'keeper Ikeme.

Four minutes later the home side created a great chance, which saw the ball break to Robson, but the Scottish midfielder dragged his effort well wide of Stockdale's post.

With the half drawing to a close, good work from Jimmy Bullard in midfield saw him work the ball on to Lee Bowyer whose curling effort went wide of the goal.

Soon after and more good work from Town saw Grant Leadbitter link up well with Scotland before hitting a shot that flashed just wide of the goal with Ikeme scrambling.

The second-half started in a similar fashion to the first and it was the home side who had the first effort on goal after the restart, with McDonald testing Stockdale with a long range effort that the on-loan 'keeper easily held.

Just 30 seconds later though and Town were agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock but Scotland's left-footed drive cannoned back off the post with Ikeme well beaten.

Stockdale did brilliantly well to tip a Joe Bennett cross away from the waiting McDonald before Justin Hoyte blazed the loose ball over the crossbar.

Just after the hour mark Town went close again. Leadbitter was fouled 25 yards from goal and from the resulting free-kick Bullard's effort went just the wrong side of the post.

The game was becoming an end-to-end affair and the lively McDonald tried his luck after cutting inside Sonko, but the Australian's finish was never troubling Stockdale and sailed harmlessly wide.

But McDonald did almost break the deadlock in the 66th minute as he turned Sonko in the box but Stockdale produced a great save to deny the Boro striker.

The home side were applying the pressure but Town almost caught them with a classic counter-attack.A great throw from Stockdale released Chopra whose expert through ball sent through strike partner Scotland but the Trinidad's shot deflected inches wide of the goal.

With the hosts on the counter a terrific block from Sonko stopped McDonald being sent clear by Hoyte, with Collins making a brave header to win the second ball ahead of Haroun.

With nine minutes remaining Boro thought they had snatched it through McDonald after he connected well with a Hoyte cross, however the striker's header could only find the side-netting.

Both sides continued to press but neither could find a winner and the game ended a stalemate.

Town are back in action on Tuesday night, making the trip to Upton Park to face West Ham (kick-off 7.45pm).

Middlesbrough: Ikeme, Hoyte (Thomson 82), Bates, McMahon, Bennett, Williams, Bailey, Robson (Tchuimeni-Nimely 82), Haroun, McDonald, Emnes. Subs not used: Zemmana, McManus, Arca. Booked: Bennett

Town: Stockdale, Edwards, Sonko, Collins, Cresswell, Andrews, Bullard, Leadbitter, Bowyer, Scotland (Murphy 85), Chopra. Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Ainsley, Delaney, Emmanuel-Thomas. Booked: Sonko

Att: 17,741

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