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Middlesbrough's Pre-Season: Game Five

Friday 29th July 2011
Middlesbrough's pre-season jitters on English soil continued after another shock defeat to League One rivals Carlisle United.

A very inexperienced squad travelled to Brunton Park as three youth players and trialist Arsenal striker Rhys Murphy were named on the bench.

Hoyte, Bates, Smallwood, Franks and McDonald were all named in the starting line-up after not playing against Darlington.

The game started with Boro controlling much of the play, but again failing to convert pressure into goals.

Merouane Zemmama had Boro's best chance of the half, a curling free kick which looked destined for goal, but only to be beaten away by the outstretched Collin.

Carlisle's defence looked rocky as Jonathan Grounds sent a free header from a corner straight into the hands of the keeper.

From then on it was all Carlisle. James Berrett's curling shot from 25 yards came off the underside of the bar and into the back of the net. An effort which no keeper would have saved.

Boro did have the ball in the net, however. Scott McDonald hit home from Hoyte's cross, but once again, it was ruled offside. The fourth goal this pre-season to be discounted because of offside.

Carlisle were causing Boro's back line all sorts of problems as Zoko, McGovern and Loy all had chances to extend the lead.

Berrett looked to put the home side 2-0 up with a brilliant left-footed volley that looked certain to be flying into the net, but Coyne was on hand to produce the save of the game.

Two minutes before the break and Carlisle did go two goals to the good. Goalscorer turned provider as Berrett crossed for Loy to turn the ball in from close range.

Boro made two substitutions at the half, Murphy and Kink replaced Zemmama and Emnes, whilst Carlisle did the same, bringing on Simek and McGlen.

The Teessider's were working hard to pressure Carlisle on the ball, which meant very few chances were created.

Murphy's intelligent play gave McDonald the opportunity to score, but his attempted lob did nothing to worry the keeper.

Carlisle's goalscorer Loy was replaced by Madden at the same time Connor Ripley and Lee Miller entered the game for Boro.

After less than a minute of being on the pitch Ripley was forced into a diving save after a long-ranged effort.

Madden then tested Ripley from close up. It looked easy to score but the local Middlesbrough keeper thwarted his attempt.

The day looked to get even worse for Boro when Hines clattered into Zoko and a penalty was awarded.

Berrett took the strike but only for Ripley to parry the ball away, the resulting shot from Madden was also blocked by the 18-year-old who looked more mature than his days.

Youngsters Brobbel, Reach and Weldon came on to try and give Boro some energy and a way back into the game, but to no avail.

It was Ripley who was again called into action when Zoko's fierce shot after turning was saved well, five minutes from the end.


Matty's MoM: Connor Ripley. Even though the young lad only came on as a substitute on 64 minutes, he made sure that the game wasn't a complete embarrassment for Boro. Making four or five crucial saves and a penalty save on top of that.

Matthew Norman
20-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Teesside University. Die-hard Middlesbrough supporter and all-round sports fanatic.

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