Skip to main content

Match Report


Posted Fri 29 Apr 16 at 21:38 PM

Report: Blues 2 Middlesbrough 2

Blues put in a barnstorming performance in their final home game of the season to earn a deserved draw against Middlesbrough.

In a thrilling St. Andrew’s encounter, Stephen Gleeson and David Davis were both on target for Blues, as they put a major dent in Boro’s automatic promotion hopes.

Gary Rowett made two changes to his starting XI. Adam Legzdins took over the goalkeeper’s gloves, with Tomasz Kuszczak missing out because of a broken nose. Maikel Kieftenbeld returned to the starting line-up in place of Kyle Lafferty, with the Northern Ireland international dropping to the bench.

The match began with Blues kicking towards the Gil Merrick Stand, which was occupied by close to 5,000 Middlesbrough supporters.

Blues were temporarily reduced to ten men after just five minutes when Jonathan Grounds sustained a cut to his head and was forced to return to the dressing room to have stitches administered by the Club doctor.

The crowd had to wait until the ninth minute for the first chance which fell to Stewart Downing. But the Boro winger fired wide from just over 20 yards out.

However, Blues were more than holding their own against the promotion chasers from the north-east in the opening stages of the contest.

Boro began to ramp up the pressure and they went close to taking the lead after 25 minutes when Grant Leadbitter’s pass put Jordan Rhodes through. But the prolific striker was denied by Legzdins who produced an excellent save with his foot to deflect the ball behind for a corner.

But almost immediately Blues went close themselves. Kieftenbeld let fly from 30 yards and goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos was only able to parry it. The ball found its way to Clayton Donaldson but the keeper did well to save his follow-up shot.

Just before the half-hour, Legzdins did brilliantly again to deny Rhodes with a fine save after he raced out to deny the Boro forward.

But then most of St. Andrew’s erupted in joy after 33 minutes when Gleeson fired his side into the lead with a stunning strike.

Grounds’ cross from the left was headed clear by Ritchie De Laet, but it only reached Gleeson who let fly with a terrific shot from 25 yards. The Boro keeper got a hand to but was unable to prevent it flying past him into the back of the net.

Unfortunately it was a goalkeeping error from Legzdins that let the visitors back into it after 40 minutes.

Boro were awarded free-kick 25-yards out after Grounds’ foul. Gaston Ramirez hit it reasonably well, but with Legzdins seemingly looking untroubled he somehow fumbled it into the path of Rhodes, who had the simple task of tapping it home from just two yards.

Half-time: Blues 1 Middlesbrough 1

Blues made a positive start after the break, winning a corner within a minute. David Cotterill curled it in, but Ryan Shotton headed his effort over the bar.

Rowett’s side were then just inches wide of taking the lead when Cotterill sent in a deep free-kick from the left which was met by Shotton at the far post, but he glanced it agonisingly the wrong side of the post.

A minute later Boro should have scored themselves. Rhodes hits the post and then got his leg in the way of Albert Adomah's shot. The ball squirmed its way to Ramirez, but he somehow managed to smash it over the bar from inside the six-yard box.

But it was only a matter of time before Boro found themselves in the lead when Ramirez headed them in front after 57 minutes.

Boro broke quickly and Adomah put a brilliant cross in from the right to the back post. Rhodes got to it first and headed back to Ramirez who nodded it home from close range.

Despite falling behind Blues were certainly not out of the game and they continued to press forward and were rewarded with an equaliser after 68 minutes through Davis.

Caddis crossed the ball into the area. It was headed out by Ayala, but only as far as Davis, who made no mistake as he drilled a low shot home.

But with the Blues fans still celebrating Ayala fired the ball home at the other end only for it to dubiously be ruled out for offside to the dismay of the Boro fans behind the goal.

Blues then came incredibly close to taking the lead when Cotterill’s cross found Fabbrini, but the Italian headed over from just six yards out

With just under 10 minutes to go, Blues almost took the lead. Cotterill's shot was spilled by the keeper, but Robinson’s follow-up header was saved.

Cotterill then saw his fierce strike from distance parried by the keeper, but with Kieftenbeld following up and looking likely to score he was brilliantly tackled by Ayala.

With less than two minutes of normal time remaining, Boro were a whisker away from securing a winner as Boro captain Leadbitter struck a zinging shot which cannoned back off the bar.

But Blues held on to claim a point in what was one of the games of the season.

    Latest Match Reports