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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 27 Mar 12 at 19:06 PM

TOWN 1 MIDDLESBROUGH 1

Town came from behind to earn a share of the spoils against Middlesbrough, drawing 1-1 at Portman Road.

The visitors took the lead midway through the second-half thanks to substitute Lukas Jutkiewicz's strike, before Grant Leadbitter levelled things up with 16 minutes remaining.

The Town midfielder had earlier seen his penalty kick saved by Boro 'keeper Jason Steele, when the score was still goalless.

Paul Jewell made one change to the side that lost to Watford at the weekend, with Leadbitter returning to the starting line-up in place of Andy Drury, after serving his one match suspension following his red card against Burnley.

The game took a while to spring into action, with the first effort on goal not arriving until the 17th minute. The returning Leadbitter found space in the centre of the pitch 25 yards from goal and tried his luck, only to see Steele expertly palm his driven effort over the bar.

From the resulting corner, Damien Delaney headed over the bar after meeting Leadbitter's centre.

Soon after good work from Jay Emmanuel-Thomas saw him weave away from a couple of challenges in the box, before eventually being crowded out.

Michael Chopra was working hard up front on his own and he worked himself a little bit of space after 26 minutes, but fired his shot well over the bar.

Middlesbrough did force McCarthy into a save midway through the first-half, but Marvin Emnes' shot from the edge of the area was tame and easily held by the Reading loanee.

Chances were at a premium and it wasn't until a minute before the break before either 'keeper had to make another save.

Tommy Smith had given away a free-kick on the edge of the area after clipping Adam Hammill, and Tony McMahon curled an effort goalwards that McCarthy did well to pluck out of the air.

That was the last meaningful action of the half as the referee blew for half-time with the deadlock yet to be broken.

The visitors started the second-half the quicker and should have taken the lead inside the first 90 seconds of the half.

Emnes beat Carlos Edwards for pace down the left-hand side before pulling the ball back for Barry Robson, who saw his effort parried away by McCarthy into the path of Jutkiewicz, but the striker could only fire wide from inside the six yard box with the goal gaping.

But two minutes before the hour mark the game sprung into life as Town were granted a great chance to go in front.

The referee awarded Blues a penalty after Emmanuel-Thomas was bundled over in the box. Midfielder Leadbitter stepped up but saw his spot-kick kept out by Steele in the Middlesbrough goal, who guessed right and parried the ball away from danger after 58 minutes.

That save inspired the visitors and soon after they broke the deadlock with 63 minutes played.

Alex McCarthy made a fine double save to deny Jutkiewicz and Robson, but there was little he could when Justin Hoyte headed across the face off goal for Jutkiewicz, who stabbed home from close range.

But Town didn't let their heads drop and were back on level terms 11 minutes later. Good work from Lee Martin and Chopra saw the latter lay the ball off to Leadbitter, who made up for his penalty miss by rifling in a shot from 20 yards that flew into the bottom corner.

The ascendency was now with Town and Jason Scotland did well to create an opening, after beating a couple of defenders in the box and crossing across the face of goal, but there was no one in a Blue shirt arriving to apply the finishing touch, with 78 minutes on the clock.

Boro were looking dangerous on the counter attack though and McCarthy had to be alert to keep out a Hammill effort from the edge of the box with two minutes remaining.

Both sides searched for a winning goal but in the end both had to settle for a point apiece.

Town return to action on Saturday, welcoming Barnsley to Portman Road.

Town: McCarthy, Edwards, Smith, Delaney, Cresswell, Emmanuel-Thomas Bowyer (Drury 64), Leadbitter, Martin, Murphy (Scotland 68), Chopra. Subs not used: Lee-Barrett, Sonko, Stevenson.

Booked: Smith

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Bates (McMahon 17), Hines (Jutkiewicz 46), Bennett, Arca, Bailey, Robson, Smallwood, Hamill, Emnes (Thomson 85). Subs not used: Zemmama, Ogbeche.

Booked: Bailey

Att: 18, 727 (493 away fans)

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