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Middlesbrough's Pre-Season: Game One

Friday 15th July 2011
Middlesbrough's tour of Slovenia kicked off on Thursday against Turkish outfit BB Istanbul.

There were some unusual spectators to this pre-season game, Reading FC came to scout their Championship opposition, as they are training just a short distance away.

Boro started the game with a mixture of experience and youth. Danny Coyne stood between the sticks for the first time since suffering a hand injury, while teenagers Cameron Park and Adam Reach were supported across the middle of the pitch by Richard Smallwood and usual wing-back Justin Hoyte.

Boro's top goal scorer from the 2010/11 season, Scott McDonald was partnered by the once out-of-favour target man, Lee Miller, who only made two appearances last season, both from off the bench.

The defence almost picket itself. Club captain Matthew Bates was partnered by Scotland international Stephen McManus at the heart of the defence, with pacey Joe Bennett and Tony McMahon on either side of them.

The main talking points throughout their time in Slovenia so far has been the freak weather, warm and pleasant evenings turning rapidly into hail and lightning, and it was a lightning quick start from Istanbul that sparked Boro into life.Little more than eight minutes had passed when Stephen McManus lost his footing and Samuel Holmen squared the ball for Turkish striker Tevfik Kose  to slot home from close range.  

From then on it was a very open encounter with goals at both ends only being prevented by last ditch defending.

Boro's new "wonder kid" Adam Reach, who scored Boro's last goal of the 2010/11 season had the best chance of the half when Scott McDonald turned and slipped a delicious looking ball, but Reach was thwarted by a great block from close range.

HT: Middlesbrough 0 - 1 BB Istanbul

The start of the second half was much quieter than the first, and the free-flowing football was only reinstated once Curtis Main was granted his Boro debut on 70 minutes.

A neat interchange of passes between Adam Reach and Leroy Lita almost set up Main, but he couldn't connect head to ball to convert a glorious opening with a certain goal.

Main squandered more chances throughout the second half, not being able to hit the target on a couple of occasions.

For all their pressure, Mogga's men got their deserved equaliser just four minutes from time.

Substitute Jonathan Franks controlled the ball wonderfully on his chest before lifting a delicious half volley arcing over the keeper into the back of the net.

There was one more chance to be had for Boro to win, but Main could once again not hit the target to provide a morale-boosting win for Boro.


Matty's MoM: Danny Coyne for an outstanding effort in goal, keeping Boro within touching distance of the game.
Matthew Norman
20-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Teesside University. Die-hard Middlesbrough supporter and all-round sports fanatic.

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