Andy Munro watches as Blues go down 2-1 at home to Middlesbrough.
The visitors’ manager Tony Pulis played the stereotype, fielding four giant defenders, five in the middle and one up front. It proved difficult to penetrate and, in fairness, Boro’ completely controlled the first half. A couple of times only last ditch ‘bodies on the line’ defending saved the Blues from going behind but goal did
eventually come when a driven cross saw Lewis Wing converting; his unnecessary celebrations in front of the Tilton will, I can promise him, be remembered for a very long time.
Yet the second half was a complete turnaround as Blues’ never say die spirit came to the fore. Characterised by non-stop running, the availability of options and no little skill, Blues turned the screw and should have had a penalty when Che Adams was brought down but was then laughably booked for simulation. This reflected another poor refereeing display with the linesmen not much better.
Still, Blues weren’t to be denied and a move started by Jota, ended with Jutkiewicz laying the ball to his strike partner, who swiveled on the proverbial sixpence to fire home. Then, Gary Monk made a rare tactical error by bringing on Vassell and going for broke instead of keeping the shape that was working so well. No point in pillorying a manager who is serving us so well but the game definitely opened up for Boro’ to restore their lead. Even then we were unlucky not to draw level again with Randolph saving well and then a tremendous shot from Maghoma sailing just past the post with the keeper well beaten.
Perhaps one of the few consolations was that we played well enough to at least draw and there should be no doubt that this team will bounce back.