Writer: Mikey Delap
Date:Sunday February 1 2009
In the second edition of Vital Fans View, Roverjoy takes a look at our match away at Boro.
Here we go -
This being my first fan zone review I would have liked a better game but sadly not to be starting with another 0-0 draw the first in 10 years for this fixture. A game of few chances ended in yet again another clean sheet, but another two points dropped. Making it three draws on the trot, with 6 clean sheets in our last 8 games. With that sour feeling quoted by Big Sam himself "I feel like we`ve lost here today. To only come away with a point is bitterly disappointing." I totally agree and have felt like that a lot recently especially in our away games. But points are points and I would prefer to get 1 rather than 0, unlike the philosophy of all or nothing that didn`t prove too good with Paul Ince which has ended us up in this mess.
The game started cagey and remained it, a relegation six pointer that neither side could afford to lose. Both sides started conservatively just hitting it up long ball to each other and were just cancelling each other out. I think Southgate saw Ooijer as a bit of a weaknes in our back line against someone with pace and that is why Johnson started on the left not the right. Not a lot in the first half apart from a good effort from Grella on the edge of the box spilling out from a corner very surprising maybe Tugay is grooming this guy. Two breaks by Middlesbrough first Ooijer getting skinned by Johnson and giving a silly free kick. Then again Johnson having a long range shot deflected just wide. A few things typified the first half though MGP wasting corners the keeping catching most of them. Also in the first ten minutes Warnock having a throw waiting for some movement still getting none and throwing long to RSC and just going out for a goal kick.
Second half still not that much improved a replay of Wednesday night Tugay with a beautiful ball over the top to RSC and chested down but given handball against this time. Middlesbrough now only really showing a threat through the counter they played a long ball to Alves his pass and strength caused the Admiral to struggle and he had to resort to a foul and a yellow (could have been worse). Rovers started to threaten and had a good shout for a penalty long throw by Pedersen into the box and Riggot was all over Samba, but nothing give. I don`t get why we don`t use this tactic more often Pedersen has a good throw and it always causes confusion look at it last season against Man Utd. I think that could be a good weapon. Good to see Dunn back and he had a good volley blocked from the edge of the area. Then came the final chance of the game and it ended to Roberts header six yards out bottom left corner and a great save. But really Roberts should be getting those ones. Sunderland, Bolton earlier in the season could have six more points if he had taken those chances. Bit harsh but I think Benni and Roque would have finished that chance.
In a season where anyone in the bottom half could get relegated, we find ourselves 18th due to another 0-0 draw which really we could have won. With our old manager Hughes not doing any favours for us losing to Stoke. I think the introduction of Diouf will give us that flair we are missing and his ability to be a match winner. I think he could be the difference between a 0-0 and 1-0 to Rovers. So bring on Dioufy I say and I hope he gets the support he deserves even though I thought he was scum previously he deserves his chance and you cannot deny his quality.
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Date:Sunday February 1 2009
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