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Match Report: Middlesbrough 1-1 Bristol City (City Fan's Perspective)

Sunday 25th March 2012
A debut goal from Hogan Ephraim gave Bristol City a much deserved point at promotion chasing Middlesbrough.

City held on for the draw despite playing the final 15 minutes with 10 men after left-back Ryan McGivern was sent off after bringing down Boro striker Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Robins manager McInnes made five changes from the side that lost at home to Watford in midweek. Dean Gerken replaced David James in goal, as injuries and suspension forced Derek McInnes into the loan market before Thursday's deadline day.

Ephraim and Andre Amougou, who made loan moves from QPR and Burnley respectively, made their debuts for the Robins whilst Cardiff loanee Dekal Keinan was on the bench.

In a bright start to the match it was City that made the best chances as a cross from lone frontman Jon Stead found Stephen Pearson in the six yard box, but the Scot slipped at the wrong moment.

It was Albert Adomah who had the next chance of the game, as his 25-yard free-kick went just wide of the right hand post with Boro keeper Jason Steele rooted to the spot.

Middlesbrough's first chance fell to striker Lukas Jutkiewicz. The striker's 20-yard shot was straight at keeper Gerken, who was making his first start under McInnes.

City built on their early pressure and deservedly took the lead when Ephraim ran onto a neat through-ball by Pearson and smartly clipped the ball over the onrushing keeper to score City's first away goal of 2012.

The home side were quick to react to going behind and Jutkiewicz had another opportunity, this time Amougou blocked his shot. Next it was Bart Ogbeche who went close as his free header was easily saved by Gerken.

Stephen Pearson wasted City's best chance of doubling the lead as his shot went high over the bar after good work from Neil Kilkenny. Boro were booed off at half time and responded by bringing on Malaury Martin for Nicky Bailey.

But again it was City that started the half brighter with Stead going close with two close range chances. The home side were soon back into it and Ogbeche again wasted a goalscoring opportunity by sending his free header straight at Gerken.

The home side's equaliser came out of nowhere as Martin unleashed a thunderbolt which went high above Gerken before the keeper could move. The goal was probably deserved from the home side after constant pressure early in the second half.

Merouane Zemmama was the next player to go close as the Middlesbrough midfield fired just over with a snap shot from a headed clearance. Gerken was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers as he made a smart save as Jutkiewicz's cross deflected towards goal. The keeper got a strong right hand to it, despite diving the opposite way.

The game swung in Boro's favour with 15 minutes to go as McGivern was sent off for a challenge on Jutkiewicz, who was a constant pain for the defence. The Irish defender got caught the wrong side of the striker and cynically brought him down as the last man, giving the referee no choice but send him off.

Despite the numerical advantage and sustained pressure for the final 10 minutes, Middlesbrough were unable to break down the City defence and the Robins held on for a valuable point.
Thomas Langridge

Total articles: 7

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