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Opening Day Mediocrity For Boro

Sunday 7th August 2011
Middlesbrough were left frustrated after Portsmouth scored a 92nd minute equaliser in the opening game of the 2011/12 Championship season.

Debutant Luke Varney scored in injury time after a deflected shot fell kindly to him.

Loan 'keeper Ikeme looked strong when kicking under pressure and couldn't be blamed for either of the goals conceded.

Boro started brightly, controlling the game in most parts as Marvin Emnes and Scott McDonald ran along the Pompey back line

The opening goal came in the 24th minute as McDonald jinked past two defenders and crossed for Emnes, who controlled, spun and shot into the bottom corner of Ashdown's goal.

The goal lifted the 18,000 strong crowd at the Riverside as they pushed for a second goal.

There were good opportunities at both ends, the most notable of which fell kindly to Kitson, who was borderline offside, but Ikeme spread himself well to block the shot.

Rhys Williams played magnificently in the centre of midfield, partnered by Nicky Bailey. Both were timing tackles to perfection and protecting the boro back line well.

Portsmouth's first equaliser came two minutes after the restart as Kitson was set free down the left hand side. The ball eventually fell to David Norris, who's low 20 yard drive went unchallenged as the Boro defence seemed to just watch the play.

Shortly after Boro were back in front as Bailey played a delightful ball through to Williams who's cool finish gave the fans something to shout about in the driving rain.

Once again the goal spurred Boro into piling on the pressure to try and put the game out of reach of Pompey, but to no avail.

There were a few good chances, including a blistering shot from Emnes which had to be turned behind, and a cross which flew across the face of goal.

But Varney made Boro pay when his late shot nestled into the corner of the goal, sending the Portsmouth fans a reason to be happy with their long journey home to the southern coast.

Unfortunately the game wasn't played in good spirits. Players on both teams had a lot to say after numerous mistimed and cynical tackles were made, probably due to the extremely heavy rain which made it tricky for players to keep their feet.

Matty's MoM: Rhys Williams. Played brilliantly at both ends of the pitch. Timing tackles brilliantly and helping himself to a goal. Definitely a key player for Boro this season.
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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