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Match Report: Middlesbrough 1-0 Shrewsbury Town (Middlesbrough Fan's Perspective)

Sunday 8th January 2012
Middlesbrough avoided defeat to lower league opposition in the third round of the Budweiser FA cup despite a lack-lustre performance against League Two Shrewsbury Town.

The Shrews were guilty of some wasteful play in front of goal and could of quite easily pulled off a famous giant killing in front of the Riverside's lowest crowd of the season had they been more clinical with the chances they had. A solitary Marvin Emnes strike was enough to send Boro in to the fourth round draw.

The Teesiders lined up with a 4-1-3-2 formation with Richard Smallwood starting his first game at the Riverside of the season and Kevin Thomson starting his first game since October, after Boro were forced to change their midfield through injury and suspension.

There was a lively start with chances coming at both ends. Justin Hoyte saw his goal bound effort deflected wide and Bart Ogbeche nodded over from the resulting Malaury Martin corner. At the other end Mark Wright went close after he capitalised on a Scott McDonald mistake but his effort went just wide of Jason Steele's goal.

The home side again went close from another Malaury Martin corner, but skipper Matthew Bates headed the chance narrowly over.

The Shrews however were proving they had turned up to make things hard for the championship promotion chasers and came close twice in a matter of minutes. First a shot from Terry Gornell was deflected out for a corner and then Jason Steele had to be alert to keep out Marvin Morgan's low drive.

Town got plenty of people back to frustrated the Boro attack, but the home sides persistence paid off on 41 minute. Martin's cross from the left found Marvin Emnes in space six yards out, the Boro top-scorer coolly controlled with his chest and poked home into the corner.

The home side started the second half confidently and Bart Ogbeche's powerful shot brought the best from Town keeper Neal. The Shrews keeper was again called in to action a few minutes later when Scott McDonald twice went close after some neat Boro build up play. The Australian international nearly beat the visiting keeper with a clever back heal but Neal got across his goal well to save.

Boro's second choice keeper Danny Coyne was then introduced to the game after Steele pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury and he was immediately called in to action after a low drive from Ainsworth went narrowly wide.

Lively Nigerian striker Ogbeche again went close up the other end after he went clean through on goal but he hit a tame effort at Town keeper Neal as the home side searched for a second goal. Neal was again called upon minutes later as a Joe Bennet cross again found Ogbeche, but the Boro strikers effort was well saved away to the keepers left.

Welsh keeper Coyne was again called upon in the Boro goal shortly after when Morgan hit an excellent shot from 25 yards, but the veteran shot stopper produced a smart one-handed stop to deny the visitors a late leveller.

The Championship club dealt with a couple of late Shrewsbury attacks to progress to the fourth round, but credit has to go to their league two opponents who pressed throughout the game and never once looked out of their depth against opposition from two leagues above them.
Matthew Nixon

Total articles: 28

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