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Middlesbrough's Pre-Season: Game 4

Saturday 23rd July 2011
Middlesbrough's first pre-season game in England ended in a shock defeat at the hands of neighbours Darlington.

Danny Coyne returned in goal after a slight injury scare to replace Connor Ripley.

Scott McDonald was left out and replaced by Marvin Emnes to partner Leroy Lita. There was reportedly a Swansea scout in the stands, sparking fresh rumours of another bid for either, or both, Emnes and Lita.

Boro started off the strongest as the Quakers looked shaky all over the pitch.

A series of loose passes by Darlo and neat interplay from Boro meant the Teessiders had plenty of opportunities to take the lead, but they couldn't convert any.

It was Darlington who took the lead after 13 minutes. Liam Hatch powered home a header from Kris Taylor's corner to delight the home fans.

Their joy was short lived , however, as an equaliser came just three minutes after. Lita picked the ball up in the middle of the park and drove 25 yards towards the Darlington goal, before bobbling home a low shot from 20 yards out.

Boro then seized the initiative and scored another 10 minutes later. More flowing passes led to an opportunity for Kink to score from inside the box. The pass from Emnes was perfect and the Estonian was able to blast a 12 yard shot past Sam Russell in the Darlington goal.

Just before half time Darlington drew level after scrappy play between the Boro defenders led to an ariel tussle between Coyne and Walshaw in which the Darlo man was able to bundle home with the ball practically on the goal line.

Darlington made a triple substitution at the half, but sub Adam Rundle only lasted six minutes before having to be re-substituted after a crunching tackle.

This didn't dampen the Darlo spirits as they took the lead again shortly after. Hatch this time turned provider for Jamie Chandler at the back post. The midfielder nodded past a helpless Danny Coyne to go 3-2 up.

Six substitutions saw Boro field a weaker team than what they started with, and this gave a boost to Darlington as they were all over the Reds in every part of the park.

Ex-Darlington striker Curtis Main came on for Boro, to a rapture of boo's from the home supporters.

Boro's new French midfielder Martin came close from 25 yards, but it was Darlington who caught Boro on the break, albeit a fluke goal.

A mis-hit cross come shot from Ryan Bowman deceived Coyne and ended up looping into the far corner of the goal to make it 4-2 in injury time.

Matty's MoM: Merouane Zemmama was instrumental in midfield. He pulled the strings for much of the time time he was on the pitch.
Matthew Norman
20-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Teesside University. Die-hard Middlesbrough supporter and all-round sports fanatic.

Total articles: 8

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