Team: Cerny, Borrowdale, Hall, Gorkss, Leigertwood, Routledge (Pellicori), Faurlin, Watson, Buzsaky (Vine), Taarabt, Simpson (Agyemang)
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Ramage, Williams, Stewart
We were terrible at the back and lacked ideas going forward and were completely unrecognisable from the side that scored bucketfuls in October !
Early in the game, we broke forward and a through ball found Taarabt, who selfishly shot at goal when he should have passed to Simpson or Routledge. After around 20 minutes, Yeates shot from all of 25 yards, catching Cerny off his line. It flew over his head but fortunately it crashed onto the bar and avoided hitting Cerny on its way back. Boro’ won a free kick following a clumsy challenge from Fitz Hall (who was booked), and O’Neil crossed it in for Kitson to deftly flick on with his head. The visitors capitalised on their lead and before the end of the half, Cerny made a decent save from another 25 yarder from O’Neil.
In the first 5 minutes of the second half, Middlesbrough were awarded a corner. As the cross came over, Watson gave away a penalty when he jumped with his hand up in the air (the referee was too quick on the whistle – Wheater put it in the net when it fell to his feet). Lita stepped up to convert from the spot. Magilton made two changes which were definitely needed – Agyemang came on for Simpson and Vine replaced Buzsaky.
Taarabt won the ball, passed it to Vine who then dribbled down the left wing before crossing it to Agyemang in the box, who hit it first time (and with his first touch), into the bottom right-hand corner. We were now back in the game. However, within 5 minutes Leigertwood passed it to Yeates, who then broke forward, gave it to Lita to shoot into the bottom right corner via Hall’s right boot. Rangers went up the other end and perhaps should have had a penalty when Agyemang was taken out from behind by Pogatetz, but it was mainly appeals from the crowd, although you do see them given.
Within a matter of moments, the visitors broke away, Lita was his tricky self again and he smashed the ball against the post only for O’Neil to slot it into an open net. But it wasn’t over yet, a few minutes from the end, Yeates curved in a twenty yarder to make it five ! After 4 minutes of pointless stoppage time in front of about ten men and a dog (and the Boro’ fans of course), the ref finally blew up to a few boos from around the ground. Shame we didn’t get a result in memory of Keith Cassidy but at least Chelsea lost.
Cerny: 5 – Poor again and at fault for at least two of the goals, which filled me with even less confidence than normal. If Heaton should return in January, I’d really like to see him given a go.
Leigertwood: 5 – He passed the ball straight to a red shirt for one of the goals and was troubled by their tricky little winger.
Hall: 4 – Very poor and unimpressive again. He allowed Lita (I think) to run straight through to set up one of the goals (albeit when booked)
Gorkss: 5 – Put absolutely no pressure on the Boro’ player for their final goal. Allowed to run and run which summed up his performance today
Borrowdale: 6 – Best of the defenders (but that doesn’t say much). Overrun at times but did okay against two, sometimes even three attackers.
Buzsaky: 5 – I don’t particularly remember him doing very much and he was taken off after their second goal
Faurlin: 6 – Our MOTM (again, not saying much) I thought his set-piece delivery was poor however
Watson: 5 – Very up and down for us. Would not pay ¬£2m (if that’s the sort of figure Wigan would want for him), no way
Taarabt: 4 – Constantly surrounded by two or three defenders. He tried the same trick over and over. We tried to play everything through him and Boro’ worked that out very quickly. He should have been subbed
Simpson: 5 – Not great and I don’t really remember him having a chance ?
Routledge: 6 – Better on the right than up-front. He looked fast and tricky at times
Vine: 6 – Set up the goal well with his first involvement, otherwise quiet
Agyemang: 6 – Actually scored with his first touch. He added a striking element that was severely lacking in the 1st half. Again, went quiet after scoring
Pellicori: – Not on for long and still doesn’t look like anything special
Magilton: 5 – In my eyes, he should have made a change at half-time. As it was, they were made straight after their second goal went in. It looked like an inspired switch when we went straight up the other end and scored. Just wasn’t our day. Much work to be done on the training ground – SET PIECES !
Middlesbrough: – Mark Yeates MOM – It would be easy to give it to Lita for his goals, but for me, the creativity of Yeates was excellent and let’s not forget that he’s second choice left wing behind Adam Johnson.
Referee: 5 – (Phil Gibbs) He let various little things go and was too keen to let play flow at times.The lack of a booking for the penalty suggested perhaps that he didn’t know who handled it ? He cannot be blamed for our loss in any way though. The attendance of 13,949 was greatly helped by the away turnout
“It’s not the despair, I can take the despair, it’s the hope.” – John Cleese as Brian in ‘Clockwise’ – I have said it before and will say it again, that quote at times sums up being a Rangers fan. It would be easy to go on a rant about this and that, and then make some wise cracks to heal the pain of a bruised pride, but what’s the point ? Only a matter of weeks ago, like many others, I thought we were on the coat tails of greatness and the dream was on.
They did their homework on us and the warning signs had been there. We scored an excellent goal to pull it back to 1-2 but they bounced straight back and put us to the sword. A positive for me was that Faurlin is looking better and better. We will soon know whether we can bounce back from this.