Sunday Roasted: Boro Burnt By Leeds

By Anthony Vickers on Mar 11, 12 04:48 PM

WELL that ticked ALL the "typical Boro" boxes:

Other results go our way setting up golden moment of opportunity if only we are brave enough, strong enough and good enough to take it ... tick. Live on TV with chance to show the watching world and potential Teesside ticket buyers exactly what they are missing... tick. Manage to turn out a really strong looking starting XI when up against a side with a poor recent record who haven't scored in three... tick

Then fail to turn up from the whistle, start scrappily, get torn apart by an average team we make look like world-beaters, descend into jittery, clunky chaos at the back and gift them stupid goals with schoolboy defending... tick

Slump into dysfunctional self-destructive individualism, lose discipline and shape in every department.... tick. Get a stupid costly red card.... tick. Pick up a couple of injuries.... tick. Leave crowd demoralised and flat (despite being fourth) with a meek and scared display that lacked fight, invention, nous or any hint of belief... tick.

Boro were battered. They were second best in every department for the full 101 minutes. In truth, we were lucky to keep the scored down to two. After a sluggish and nervous start Boro sheepishly handed the initiative to a fired-up Leeds side that were given so much time and space in and around the Boro box that even they were embarrassed.

Despite having a first choice engine room of Williams and Bailey Boro were bossed and pushed around in the middle by Clayton and White and they failed completely to get to grips with the passing triangle of Becchio, Snodgrass and McCormack. The defence had a collective mare with repeated runs into the box going untracked and Leeds winning every knockdown. Up front it was just as bad with Emnes having an off day, Jutkiewicz barely getting a touch and Hammill tricking and jinking to no effect.

The dye was cast by the self inflicted first goal that summed up the problems: under pressure Bennett failed to deal with a high ball and after a littloe nudge he weakly headed at the feet of White who cut into the box unopposed then squared for Snodgrass to burst unchallenged from outside the box to drill a low effort that somehow squirmed through Steele. It was awful defending.

The second if anything was worse. Becchio and McCaormack were allowed to cut through the entire defence with an excahnge of passes that left them bamboozled. Then a ball was slotted into the box that Hoyte should have deal with easily. All he had to do was hoof it out for a throw. But he took a swing at it and failed to make full contact, glancing it weakly into the path of McCormack and leaving him free to square it.

Now it is easy to point the fingure at Hoyte - he has put his hand up and apologised on twitter which I suppose is admirable, he could easily have logged off and buried his head under the pillow - but what were the others doing? When the ball was squared both centre-backs were ambling towards goal, neither bothered to look behind to see if there was any in-coming danger and both were effectively out of the game when Becchio strolled through unmarked to stab home completely unhindered. Shocking.

After that Boro chopped and changed, switched shape several times and tried to claw it back but they had nothing to offer that could hurt Leeds. They were trying to play through a massed defence. Several times Emnes tried to physically run through them. It became increasingly scrappy and disjointed and as heads went down, individuals were trying to dribble through. Boro only had one shot on target, a couple of headers wide and a few half-hearted despairing late lurches into the box that rarely threatened.

Thomson lasted 17 minutes - who had that in the sweep? - before being clattered. How unlucky can one man be? I'm guessing that at some point he swerved to avoid a black gate and drove his car through a mirror shop window. Owned by a gypsy. Or possible built on an old sacred Indian burial ground.

And Barry Robson? Sheesh. Yes, he was 'unlucky' that the ref didn't blow earlier when Clayton had him in a half-Nelson but his self-destructive default fury is a liability. He'd already won the free-kick! What was the point of lashing out? Save it and give him a sly equaliser later on if you must but don't risk leaving the team a man short.

He has 13 yellow cards this season already and how many of those have been for dissent, petulance or stupidity? He is a big player for us but is powered by sheer anger and when we are under pressure that bubbles over. He will miss three games now - including biggies at Birmingham and West Ham - and that is a big blow. Two more yellows when he comes back will see him break the FA's bad boy barrier of 15 and trigger another three game ban. He could miss six of the last 11 easily. And then be back just in time to get sent off at Wembley!

Grrrrrrrrrr. Still, it may be a disappointment, a frustrating surrender and big set-back but it is not a disaster. Boro are still fourth and well placed. Boro's fate is still in their own hands. Birmingham and West Ham up next.... a pivotal period: back-to-back games that will decide if we extend our season into May. We must bounce straight back and get something in those. At least they are away...


CroydonBoro said:

Missed the first half (blessed relief) and was non-plussed at the second.

Note to manager: When attacking a strong, organised defensive unit, it it imperative to generate width and whip balls in from behind the full-back so that the centre-halves are forced to clear their own lines when facing their own goal. Panic and chances often ensue. Lofting slow diagonal balls into the air for them to eat up, will not.

I agreed with the crowd reaction at Juke's subbing. I'll be surprised if you couldn't hear me from my sofa. Especially as he looked to be trying to bring others into the game in a that way that Marvin wasn't.

Williams seemed to be the worst of a very poor bunch. Until Thomson came on. I hope we'll never see him again in a Boro shirt.

Smogbeche looked lively when he came on.

billy bob said:

Maybe your just not that good mate, see you in the play offs!

trev lurch said:

Hhmm. not sure Leeds are an average team, i think more like they made us look average, they blew us away in the first half and second half we played better but not well enough.

Leeds seemed to take everything we threw at them which wasn't much.

gaza said:

Yes you were absolutely hammered at home by an average Leeds side, probably the worst they have had in 50 years of watching Leeds. Doesn't say a lot for you lot does it?

With warnock now at Leeds three clean sheets in three games. We ran southampton ragged, played you lot under the table at your own ground and expect a late surge from Leeds for the play offs! And next year with Warnock bringing in five or six of his own Leeds will win it. Watch them go next year.

Sorry Boro fans, you lot look in a false position. Leeds are a lot better side than you. They were better in every department and they have sold there best five players in Schmeical, Howson, Gradel Johnson and Kilkenny. Next year with 5 additions Leeds will win the league.

You lot need at least six new players to compete. You're crap and I thought we were until seeing you lot. At least we have 25 years European history to reminisce about , beating Barcelona, Jjuventus, Milans in their back yards, four league titles to talik about. What do you have? A League Cup and one years run in Europe.

I was watchiing Leeds in the European Cup final before your boo boys and editor were born and slagging us whites off. Do you lot know what its like to have a great team that can get in five different european finals? Keep slagging Leeds off . We have been there done it had the t shirt, and can look back 45 years at great teams and history,our worst team ever in 50 years still stuffed you.


Thank god I'm not a boro fan. Its bad enough being a Leeds fan at the moment, good luck but doubt you will make the play offs. Don't think our man Strachan helped you

**AV writes: You started off well and made some good points before the bile started bubbling over a bit at the end. An object lesson in being a sore winner.

John Bowman said:

I don't think there are many who saw the game who would argue with your analysis. What was missing though was your take on why, under several managers, Boro consistently struggle and sometimes self-destruct at home.

I keep asking myself when was the last time Boro truly bossed a home match and I left feeling that the ticket was money well spent? Not this season, I'm afraid.

**AV writes: It is because we are now a Championship side with all the limitations, flaws and inconsistencies that entails. And it is not just us. West Ham and Birmingham have both been booed off at home this season because their fans believe they have "poor" home records (like us I think they have lost four).

In a rubbish division you can squeeze into a play-off place just by being average. Above average makes you a shoo-in for a top six place. Just being "good" for a few months at the right time gets you promoted ... see Burnley, Blackpool in recent years. It is what every makeweight/also ran dreams of.

RedHerts said:

Pig sick - tick

Dave said:

Couldn't agree more, we were pathetic.

John Stone said:

Tactics are spot on for away games, results prove it.

Tactics at home are abysmal. We were sussed out months ago. Teams just sit back and watch our tippy tappy slow pace play, often ending with a poor or suicide pass or just as bad caught in possession and then giving a soft foul away. Against Leeds and Reading how many good attempts on goal did we have? Can't remember one.

Automatic promotion chance has gone.

So lets throw the kitchen sink at the remaining games.

Lock all the players and staff in a room and show them a tape of the Man.Utd v Atletic Bilbao game last week. High tempo slick passing chance after chance were made by Atletic that made Man U. look ordinary.

Lets not just whimper out of the playoff places like we did out of the Premier League. High tempo needed now!

soccerbrit said:

oh dear! waking up in Aussie to read this result and AV's report is quite distressing. Your summary really does tick all the boxes -typical Boro!

Denis said:

I didn't think we could replicate the inept display against Barnsley with another one which was even worse with a supposedly stronger team.

We went with our friends from Leeds, whose team took over the pitch and their fans took over the stadium. we were abject, no fight, no pattern or purpose to our play.We were intimidated out of the game, had no strength or 'bottle' to contend them.

I am scraTching my head to understand how we can play better when we descend into such chaos.

First, the defence made errors, it can happen, normally solid but not today, bring back McMahon? Midfield, well, Williams was missing for most of the match, Bailey lacked match fitness, Hammill ran in cirles to no avail and Robson ranted to the point of being sent off.

Why we do we allow Emnes to stay on the pitch when he simply dribbles towardsa packed defence then loses possession. Why isn't Juke playing down the middle? Any answers Tony because to use your favourite phrase 'We did not pose any questions of Leeds'

Andy said:

What can you say? Another spectacular televised disaster - and yes Anthony, it was a DISASTER! Can't agree with your assertion that it wasn't.

Leeds' players looked reasonably accomplished, ours inept, incompetent and worst of all, apathetic. Leeds were energetic, animated, Boro, well...apathetic, and pathetic... apart from Bart - why he didn't replace dimwitted Emnes at least half an hour earlier I can't imagine. But hey, I'm not the manager .He must have seen something in Emnes that wasn't apparent to me.

For most of this Boro side to call themselves 'professional footballers' must be a contravention of the Trade Descriptions Act.

Smogonthetyne now on the moon said:

The result wasn't that surprising. The performance certainly wasn't.

The final half an hour against Forest, the second half at Mill-wall, 90 mins home to Reading, 90 mins home to Barnsley and 90 mins today have been poor, sluggish, little creativity and no bite.

Today was Strachan-esque. A lot of the players from that side are still there, and so of course are their frailties. This is not a Mowbray team yet. Little place, no creativity from the midfield, unbalanced and boring to watch.

This season we are running out of steam. Play offs would be great but I think we would be dead on our feet should we get there.

The real test for Tony is next year. This is a tough, attritional grind. Some poor performances and results are inevitable.

Put a line through today, and let's move on together.

ian r said:

Best way to sum up a poor inept performance, although it was already written we'd get beaten before the game. Leeds not scoring in three, West Ham dropping points... we just cant capitalise when other teams drop points. And as for being fourth, how long will that last? Birmingham and West Ham away - we'll be down to tenth before long.

Andy R said:

Sometimes you have to accept that the opposition are better. Today was absolutely NOT one of those occasions and we are almost entirely to blame for the defeat.

I refused to criticise after the defeat to Reading but they were the best team in the division at the time (and still are at the moment). Leeds are average Championship plodders. They are nothing more than a reasonably hard-working, motivated group - the very least we should expect of our own.

I can handle isolated, individual defensive mistakes - they are frustrating but they happen, it's human error - but the collective lethargy both defensively and in attack was very hard to swallow. We must raise the tempo of our play if we want to win at home.

The good news is that the defeat doesn't really hurt us. Automatic promotion was unrealistic after January but the play-offs are still very much on if we can bounce back. The inconsistency of everyone, not just ourselves, still gives us a great chance.

peterboroangel said:

Tick, tick, tick, spot on!

I was really fed up when I found out my son had his rugby final in Northampton k.o midday (and they lost too!). After listening to the commentary on radio5 during the last 20 minutes of the game I was relieved I missed it. Sounded awful!

Saw POSH easily beat Blackpool yesterday, which opened it up for Boro to take advantage. As you've already stated, no chance!

Very disappointing, but still hopefully we can make the play offs.

badras said:

Boro might of spent a lot more money than Leeds but leeds have much more talent in the squad.

Phil,Norton said:

Nearly six hours after the worst defeat since the Cardiff no show four years ago, and that's exactly what it was today . Thank god Bates and Hines decided to turn up , or they could have had five or six before half time .

Once again the ghost of Strachan descended on the Riverside and took over every tactical sense in Moggas brain . How else do you explain

1 : no substitutions at half time
2 : Emnes and Hoyte still being on the pitch at the end of the game.
3 : Jukewitcz being substituted

So far this season I've watched three , yes three, half decent performances in the league at home , Birmingham, Derby and Blackpool. You could write virtually the same match report for the other sixteen . No creativity or pace across the midfield , midfield to slow support front two , no understanding between the front two , opposition keeper barely tested .

If you count 1st half injury time a 100 minutes was up before we tested their keeper today! Exactly what did Mogga see in the first half from those players lead him to believe they were going to get us back in the match?

And before you come out with that old chestnut it's better than it was with Strachan , I don't think our home performances have been .

Now Robson's out for a few matches is there any chance of Mogga playing a right sided midfielder on the right, no . We all know he'll bring McMahon back and push Hoyte further up , same old same old . I'm seriously considering throwing season ticket application in the bin

boro1953 said:

The performance was no surprise to me. We have been playing crap at home for about three months now and I will not go again until Mogga changes the team ie give the likes of Park, Reach, Smallwood,and Luke Willams a chance.

Steele was poor again, give Ripley a chance. Bring McMahon in for Hoyte (a no brainer) put Rhys back (his best position), drop Emnes and give chances to Luke, Bartand Curtis, play Smallwood in Bailey's position and move Bailey forward.

Forget about the likes of Arca and Haroun etc they have all had their chances and we need energy and goals so Mogga needs to be brave and change things. The Riverside is a souless place now and it is up to Mogga and the players to get the fans back onside.

PS any decent left backs for loan?

London-based Boro fan said:

I thought I'd posted three times on the "Derby daze" thread (they were all acknowledged afterwards), but only the second one (if memory serves) actually appeared at 4.07. I've also had to click on "Preview" to read the posts on this thread so far...! Methinks you still have IT problems, Vic...

The third post referred to above was a P.S. noting that the Beeb couldn't even be @rsed to seek Mogga's views on the match! *mad*

My first post was a plea for someone to send - PDQ - for Steve Peters, the sports psychiatrist (or "Brain Mechanic", as he's been dubbed after coming to the rescue of the likes of Vicky Pendleton & Dylan Hartley), to come & help the Boro lads confront/exorcise the mental demons that seem to paralyse them at home. He's Middlesbrough born & bred & would surely be willing to ride to the rescue.

Ian Gill said:

I said:

''A final thought before the match. Lets play as if we are at home and believe we will will the match. No matching up, ensuring that everyone spends all their time nullifying Leeds, just go out make them try and match us up.

Let us go out and give it a go, the worse thing we could do is have a dreadful, dreary, cautious home performance and lose. Unless of course we win however grim it is.

Want it both ways? Too damn true.''

Smog -

This is Tony's team, the pattern has been repeated time and again at home.

There are consolations, scant though they may be. We are still in the play off spots, we normally come back after a shocker.

Last, but not least, we only have four home games left. What is more there is nothing in the rules that say we cant forfeit the home advantage and play both legs away from home if we make the play offs.


Percypieblocks said:

Posted last week that I saw Leeds on telly play Southampton off the pitch (even though they did lose) so I expected a tough game today.

I thought Leeds played well, they had movement and pace and a game plan, which you couldn't accuse us of having.

We all know that the main problem is a complete lack of pace in the midfield (forget creativity, you can get by without that in this division) but when the midfield can't support the forwards when we break, nor are quick enough to help out the defence when the opponents do likewise, you (we) are always going to have problems.

I was hoping after what I'd read about Hammill that he was going to be a good addition to the squad but I thought today that he was awful, we've already renamed him 'Camel' in our house.

I am also getting really concerned regarding the performances of Williams and Bennett (don't get me started on Hoyte). Bennett's defending is really poor and I fail to see what Williams brings to the midfield with the exception of always giving away silly freekicks is dangerous areas.

All in all a very poor performance and that today included Mogga, whilst realising Duke wasn't brilliant today, to bring him off and put young Main in his place was a very poor decision, especially with 'The Camel' performing so badly. As soon as he's off we start pumping high balls into the box, very strange.

Again we were second best in every department, Leeds fluency, movement and defending was far superior to ours, typified by that brilliant header from Robinson to stop a certain goal from Robson's corner.

It's times like this that I'm glad I live outside the area, I can only imagine what the home support is having to put up with at the moment, but I will be at St Andrews next week end.

Borobadger said:

Do you think we will go up this season AV?

**AV writes: Call me a deluded ra-ra high on foam finger fumes but I still believe we will make it to the play-offs. After that all bets are off - although my hotel room is booked for the final.

gt said:

I was trying to find a word for the performance today,and the only one I could think of was "Docile."

Lets not tippy toe around this, the manager got it all wrong, he picked the wrong team (two holding midfielders, a guy on the wing Robson (no way), and I know for sure Cameron Park is at least as good as Hammill), they were ill prepared and totally without shape.

On another point and I would never make excuses after that but I'd like Mogga to come out and rip some of these officials. How can you play when you are being mugged all over the field and as soon as you try and compete the foul goes the other way or a card is given (I believe the ref was from West Yorkshire wasnt he).

And did I hear the last time we did the double over Leeds was 1962.

I felt physically sick today,no Yorkie puds for me

**AV writes: Ref was from Hull.

Werdermouth said:

Now that was a genuine really bad all-round team performance by everyone - even Mowbray, bad tactics, bad setup, bad substitutions.

Surely Mogga needs to rethink how Boro play home games if we keep performing so ineffectively against any organised opposition.

Jutkiewicz and Main looked a decent partnership against Sunderland - perhaps Emnes would be better using his pace out wide rather than trying to win the long balls in the air down the middle. Also why not play with genuine width with overlapping fullbacks (preferably with McMahon rather than Hoyte).

OK AV, maybe you're right that the standard of players we can now afford is going to mean they are inconsistent - but should they all be inconsistent at the same time? Or is the Mowbray game plan at home too cautious and is allowing the opposition to gain confidence and take the initiative?

Still on the plus side there are only four home games left (unless you're still expecting one in the playoffs)

Bob said:

19 goals in 19 home matches speaks for itself. Our defense is nowhere near good enough to protect such a meagre return. As most of us predicted, not buying an experienced goalkeeper is proving a big mistake. For fans to be calling for Tony McMahon in defense shows how bad things are.

It's been a year of over-achievement that looks like ending in tears. My prediction is we'll finish well down the table, but knowing "typical Boro", we'll finish seventh and miss out on a play-off place on goal difference.

Forever Dormo said:

Where to begin? Well, I suppose it looked as though all the team members were having a bad game at the same time. It looked like Leeds were playing with more urgency than Boro, and that the Leeds players were "up for it" in a way we were not.

They closed our players down, pressurised our men when we were in possession, and generally just APPEARED to be trying harder. It seemed as though, the first three times Robson had the ball, he was harried and chased by Leeds players so he ended up being forced back 25 yards or so before being hurried into playing the ball back to our keeper or other defenders who might not have wanted the ball.

Who was it (I forget) who shot so wide in the second half that the ball crossed the touchline on the east stand side. In other words, the ball went out of play about 50 yards away from the target being aimed at! My wife could have done better!

And I had been talking to my mate about the possibility of Robson being sent off before it happened. He was obviously frustrated and on several occasions seemed to be taking part in what might neutrally be described as "animated discussions" with teams mates, especially Bailey, and was obviously annoyed at what was going on up front in the first half. So when he later seemed to lash out when fouled, it was no surprise - and neither was the red card. I suppose we might have hoped for a yellow.

So for the next three weeks, Robson will be of no more use to the Boro than the long-term injured McDonald. Or me - and I would be a lot cheaper than him. It will be interesting at the end of the season to tot up the matches he will have missed this season by reason of his disciplinary record.

When we assess his value to the team (and he is often a major contributor in our successful games, quite apart from scoring a number of spectacular goals), is it fair to balance the equation by subtracting the negative contributions in games when he has been sent off, or been unavailable for disciplinary reasons? Imagine the injustice he would feel if he wasn't paid for those weeks!

All in all, a very dispiriting afternoon. And my mate reminded me he had recently received his season-ticket renewal reminder. He will still renew, though. We must all be mad, or masochists.

(Incidentally, after the match I went to the pub and watched Barcelona play - probably the third time I have seen them on TV in the last 10 days or so. Whatever game they are playing, it doesn't bear any relation to the one we see at the Riverside. Mind you, it doesn't bear much relation to Premier League football either).

Tony power said:

Your a div. Leeds are not a mediocre side. They have lacked direction under Grayson but now have purpose under Warnock. Boro on the other hand are mediocre punching above their wait. Leeds out played Boro today because they are a better side . Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it

David Carter said:

Jeez what was that? Take so long dawdling over the ball until all the options are closed down and then get caught in possession seemed to be the tactics.

No excuse for a dreadful performance but I'd forgotten what Warnock's sides were like. Leeds players spent a lot of time on the floor whining that someone had breathed on them a bit too hard, loads of off-the-ball incidents and nasty niggles and the ref fell for it all day long. Constantly blowing up, although you couldn't say he broke up our flowing attacking play, then when he eventually brought out a card he sent Robson off. Still, it's not like we deserved anything.

But Warnock is a weasel of a man. Let's bounce back. At least without Robson we might finish with 11 next time.

Sandy said:

Yet another capitulation at home and whether you admit it or not we (not concerned with Birminghan or West Ham) have a horrendously poor home record for a team aiming for promotion. Every time Boro play at home I shudder for all the obvious reasons.

Mogga you are the guvenor, you need to get it sorted whereby for the final few home games of this season Boro turn up and give the paying public value for money. Its no surprise so few Boro supporters head for the Riverside to watch a home game when they are guaranteed a poor performance.

The play offs are a dream for those with rose coloured glasses. Take a hard look at Boro at home and then tell yourself that this squad has what it takes to win promotion - there is only one answer......

Jarkko said:

Andy R said: "I can handle isolated, individual defensive mistakes - they are frustrating but they happen, it's human error - but the collective lethargy both defensively and in attack was very hard to swallow. We must raise the tempo of our play if we want to win at home."

Hoyte apologized for his mistake in the Twitter. His mistake came after a brief good spell for Boro but as Andy said we did not lose because of a individual error, The WHOLE team played apathetically.

We were about to see the best 11 available for Mogga (only McDonald was missing) but we saw a Strachan team of total strangers to each other. Not a team performance.

But nothing is lost yet. The automatic promotion seems a long way too far now but we are good enough for the play-offs, that's for sure. We don't have many injuries except McDonald and now Thomson. AV, any news on Thommo yet?

Up the Boro!

tim from sa said:

Oh no this has been and is going to be our legacy for this season. We have lost this league at home.

What particularly hurts is most of the results when for us.Hence we are still fourth.
The last thing is that we were fielding a full strength team which most of us myself included said can take on anyone in this league.

The summery is we are better than three quarters of this league but we cant beat anybody above or around us.

Jarkko said:

A year of over-achievement? I'd call that consistency. We have had a dip in form this year - no doubt - but we still have won four matches out of the last six.

As the weather gets better to help play the passing game Mogga wants and we have less people at the treatment room, we should finish the season well like last year.

But we might not made it to the automatic promotion but we should do the play-offs by playing as we have done since February 2011. So no miracles needed - just our routine level.

Up the Boro!

Norman Conquest said:

"but knowing "typical Boro", we'll finish seventh and miss out on a play-off place on goal difference."

which will be no bad thing in my book. Until some of these Boro young guns get 70-100 games under their belts, I think it is a waste of time going up because the outcome will be inevitable. In a year or two however, it may well be a different story.

BoroPhil said:

It was an absolute shocker, no doubt about that. Leeds were all over us from the first minute and we either didn't fancy it or couldn't cope with it.

We need to get a few things in perspective though, we got six points out of nine last week, we’ve won four out of out last six, we are still comfortably in a play-off position and Leeds are still six points behind us having played a game more. No time to panic.

If I was going to make changes for the next match, I’d move Williams back to centre half, he wasn’t involved at all yesterday, it was reminiscent of his West Ham performance. This would be unfortunate on Hines. I’d give Bennett another rest, he seems to make at least one mistake a week at the moment, switch Hoyte back to left back and bring the unfortunate McMahon back into the team at right back.

Finally, we need to have a look at our tactics. We signed Jukebox as a Plan B, yet all we did yesterday was lump the ball up to him. We now have Plan B, but have totally forgotten about Plan A.

Nigel Reeve said:

I missed the first half as I was watching my son play footie (his team lost 10-0), so I guess I got off lightly.

As the man on the telly said, at least seven of our last 11 games are away from home.

michael said:

Leeds were brilliant mate. End of story.

**AV writes: Blimey talk about hyperbole. Leeds were good. They were organised, motivated and they they were highly effective against a side having an off day - but brilliant? Have a word. I'm not sure that was in the top ten displays I've seen this season in the Championship. Definitely not in the top five,

Wayne Laville, Ormesby said:

I couldn't have put it better myself. Utterly woeful, I am a season ticket holder but was talking to a young mother and her two children who she had bought tickets for to see the Boro score goals. She was sick and said I don't think I will be paying to see rubbish like that again!

After getting a crowd turning up in excess of 20,000 the only thing that never turned up against Leeds was the Boro team. This is not the kind of performance we need to be showing fans coming along to the stadium for maybe their first time.

Since the arrival of the new striker we seem to have reverted back to our old ways of thumping high balls up the pitch, every attack going down the middle, chipping balls into the box. Change the tactics. Boro are far to predictable. Get some width, get down the byeline and around the back of them drilling the ball across the box along the ground we all know this is a nightmare ball for defenders to defend against, look at Leeds they put two past us using the same method "it works" It's not rocket science.

I won't get started on the absolute dross of such unprofessional refereeing I am witnessing at the moment, the FA need a clear out and get some young blood in, preferably with 20/20 vision.

borobythesea said:

Oh dear. Only able to watch Boro on rare occasions these days, so had looked forward to TV coverage. At least on the BBC can get local commentary from Mr Brownlie, which is a bit better than that served up by Guy Mowbray and Keown.

I think AV and others have said all there is to say about the match, so just add how much I've always despised Leeds, going back to the Revie, Bremner et al era. Good players at their best I know, but ugly nasty characters. Only Chelsea on the same level. Yuk. Woops, better have one of my sedatives to calm down.

Still every chance to make the playoffs and looking forward to the match at the Amex at the end of March, although will undoubtedly have mixed emotions being a southern boy who lived on Teesside for many years and still loves the Boro. (and Brighton too)

Pedro de Espana said:

AV, I wish I had your confidence in reaching the playoffs.

I do not get to see many matches and so I was really looking forward to this match on the television. What a disaster, and not specifically the match itself.

Mr. Gibson must wonder at times if this is all worth it. However he needs to speak to Mr Mowbray about his responsibility to provide entertainment at home. I have only seen a few games, but for the regulars!!!

But in saying this, he also has to improve the ticket pricing structure, just freezing prices will not help at all with the size of the crowds. The walk up price has to be attractive, 24 pounds or so, is no good at all. If we have low crowds now,just wait till next season.

Mr Mowbray has reshaped the team and has had time to make some changes. Its his team more than less now, but some of the choices I do not understand. His new winger - why wasn´t he on the wing getting in crosses to the Juke? he looked no more than a dicky dancer, trying to show off with his step overs.This level of choice will be not good enough, or is this the only choice we will have??

Ian Gill said:

I refuse to accept we have overachieved in the last twelve months.

We have underachieved at home is closer to the truth. Tim from SA said we are better than threequarters of the league but can't beat anyone above or around us. The truth is we can't beat anyone at home.

If you start off slowly and get worse you will lose, simple as that. At home we appear to be coming out, keeping it tight and waiting for the other side to make a mistake.

On Sunday we made the mistakes and as Vic said about the Reading match we were out Boro'd. Shutting the crowd up and getting on the home teams back is what you do away from home not on your own patch.

Robson on the right is wasted. Whatever his disciplinary faults, when he is driving the team through the middle he is more effective. With Bails, Williams central and Robbo on the right we lack the drive playing at home. Hamill didnt look like the player who gave us the run around.

But that is only one small part of a recurring problem. The defensive errors were shockers but it was only a rail crash waiting to happen with the way we play at home. Emnes and Jukebox only conspicuous when losing the ball.

I will be at Brum come Saturday hoping we actually arrive on time. The problem is that even if we bounce back and do well at Brum and West Ammm that doesnt solve the problem in that we should not need to look for a response.

If you cannot provide a decent product at home you can talk until you are blue in the face. Why should you expect people to pay for a sub standard product? How can you turn round and and say come and join the bandwagon after such a poverty stricken display in front of the cameras?

Where are these much lauded kids? Maybe they will play as if they want to be part of the team, maybe they will play with a bit of verve rather than it being a chore to have to run about.

But I do believe the players care, that is why Williams came close to getting booked. That is why Robbo got in to his dust up.

That just leaves the question, who the hell is sending them out in such a poor formation, state of mind and paralysed decision making. At home, it is happening too often to be a 'nineteen' off or coincidence.

And you can keep the guff about resources to yourselves. The players can do it away from home.

redcartim said:

Listen to this.....

Tony power said: "Your a div. Leeds are not a mediocre side. They have lacked direction under Grayson but now have purpose under Warnock. Boro on the other hand are mediocre punching above their wait. Leeds out played Boro today because they are a better side . Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it"

Haha, even when they win they still sound stupid. Leeds are an average side at best, we didn't turn up as is the default position for home games for us. We should just assume a bad performance and/or result at home and then be suprised if we get a good one like the Sunderland match.

richard evans said:

The best news to come out of this debacle would be for Barry Robson and Kevin Thomson never to play for the club again.

Wonder why Mogga isn’t breaking the bank to keep Robson? Then yesterday’s final minutes said it all. A plainly avoidable sending off, like so many of his others.

How can any manager plan a team, and future, with someone as little level headed as the raging Scot? He has no team responsibility, awareness and has been documented, is fuelled by anger and rage. He can’t be trusted and is an appalling example, in playing terms to all youngsters on and off the pitch. And why is he always cross? Grow up.

He is Gordon Strachan personified and a legacy we need to be rid of now. Yes, he tries, is committed, but then so was his ginger former boss. He’s probably a very nice man at home but that’s not enough. It’s the lack of thought and awareness, and by his actions, putting himself first not the team.

He had a nothing career in Scotland at Inverness and Dundee Utd and a few games at Celtic before Strachan took an interest. And when you play off the missing games against the positives, he’s done nothing here either.

He’s a Strachan signing and the sooner he goes the better. Smallwood, Park, Reach, come on Mogga, they are the future and the present too if you’ll let them be,.

Ditto Kevin Thomson. Unlucky as AV says? No, just useless, when he’s playing and whenever he’s not. Which is nearly all the time. How he is injured is irrelevant, he’s high on the payroll and contributing nothing. You don’t tend to come good at any club after such a torrid start.

A bad day, yes, but let’s take some positive action from it and now.

Redcar Red said:

That ranked as the worst performance from a Boro XI (can't even use the word 'Team') since McClaren's era. No Midfield tactics other than face fitting shoehorning.

Strachan must have been laughing at Bennett and Emnes doing their best at justifying his treatment of them. Hoyte was his ineffective best, the Juke done a favourable impression of a plank (how we miss the work ethic of Scotty) and clearly keepers don't do caps or crosses these days. Only Bart looked like he wanted it.

Disgraceful, inept, disgusting, lacklustre, spineless, clueless and diabolical display. If I was manager four of those players would never wear the shirt again.

Nigel Reeve said:

Rome wasn't built in a day, we all know the teams shortcomings, so does Mogga. He has dumped the high earning, under achieving players as fast as he could. Whichever division we're in next season he'll dump a load more this summer.

If we are in the Championship next season we will have a much stronger squad, Mogga will have had chance to address the structural deficiencies which prevent us from being dominant at home. We'll be a better team next season, which augers well considering we're likely to finish in the top six this season.

Geordie la Forge said:

The table doesn't lie. After a day where I couldn't identify a Boro player having a good game we are still 4th. There's still plenty of life left in this season.

Plenty of entertaining views from our Leeds friends. They deserve more pity than contempt what with the Ken Bates in charge.

Steve said:

Did we really expect anything different?

Its safe to say that anyone who actually attends home games would have expected nothing less. I can actually count on one hand the actual good performances at home. We hammered Blackpool at played some really good stuff yet somehow drew..... ok forget one hand more like one finger!!!

I agree that you can pretty much write a match report before the game even starts... then just 'cut and paste' win/lose or draw.... but the performance will always be the same: OK until the final third then tip/tap square balls up until 40yrds from goal then 'implode' and freeze as to what to do next.

Matty Bates summed it up a few weeks ago by saying its almost like we have to keep a clean sheet to win a game.

I am sick of starting games at a low God, our only real chance came in the 93rd minute! I think in the games between Leeds and Reading we mustered 2-3 shots on target. Combined that is!!!

I am so glad we are away for the next two games. They are hard matches but more than winnable as both have 'iffy' home form like us and easy to turn fans.

I am stunned as to how Hoyte gets in ahead of Tony McMahon. This is not based on yesterdays 'error' but the fact we need to get the FBs forward to pull out the opposition back line, and Tony is a far better attacking option and he is always ready to have a shot.... yes a shot(take note everyone)!!!

Why did we take the Juke of yesterday and not Emnes? I have seen more in 10-15 mins two match cameos from Bart to suggest he is worth a start and he has to be fresh.

So to some up, yet another awful home game that will no doubt make the stay away fans say 'that's why i do not go'. I have my Brum and West Ham tickets so i am looked forward to seeing what Boro do best and play on the road.


ArchieStevensBirthdayParty said:

Very disappointing. After the Cardiff debacle and the pathetic displays at Newcastle and WBA in the early days of Strachan's regime, it was another BBC horror show.

With results going our way on Saturday, and WHU to come next Tuesday, it briefly appeared an automatic promotion spot might even be obtainable; instead the big question is can we cling onto a playoff place.

Two ridiculous goals and Boro folded. Most disappointing of all was there was absolutely nothing to suggest that we might get back in the game. When is the last time we came back from 2 goals down to get anything? We cannot just give up at 2-0, as we did yesterday. Had we got a goal back, Leeds, despite our best efforts to make them look as such, are not world beaters and looked likely to panic.

Forever Dormo said:

I read on Twitter that Mogga says Thommo is a talent. I suspect that no bookie will be giving odds against all three of our friends from the north NOT being here next season: McDonald, Robson & Thommo.

I thought Richard Evans at 1.52pm was a little harsh on Robson - I know I was critical at 12.21am but I don't think I go as far as Richard does.

Yes, Robbo is not very quick these days (perhaps he never was?), but he has a determination and tenacity, and can drive a team forward (if in the middle of midfield). When he has been absent, we have missed him. And that is the problem - if he could use the brain cells a bit more, he wouldn't (predictably) get carded or sent off as much as he does.

I don't subscribe to the view that "if he loses the aggression, he'll lose his ability as a player". Aggression is better kept under control. No player contributes more having been sent off than if he'd remained on the pitch. There may be times when players step over the mark, but it shouldn't become a habit.

As for Thommo - well, if we'd seen more of him we might have been able to make a judgement. It may well be true that he has been unlucky to have received injury after injury, but the net result is the same - he is unable to make a contribution. His higher wages will block the way forward for one of our youngsters coming through - and at his stage he will not be improving whereas the youth may very well improve on exposure to playing time.

Napoleon said he wanted his Marshalls (ie generals) to be "lucky". It would be nice if we could sign some "lucky" footballers.

It was a failed experiment - the "Scottish" one. Unlucky through injury: Flood, Thommo and McDonald, and I suppose the most useful contributor, despite my reservations above, has been Robson. But it is instructive that he is going to Canada to play out the remainder of his career, not even to another Championship team in England. That, perhaps, shows the level he will be at in six months or a year's time.

If you had to put the money paid out, into some sort of balance with the contributions made to the team.... would anyone say that the Scottish contingent have been "value for money"? These subversive thoughts come to mind whilst mulling over the sheer awfulness of Sunday's performance.

On a brighter note, I am sure most supporters acknowledge the club has moved forwards from the nosedive in which we found ourselves as the Strachan era drew to its close. We have cut the wage bill and are a better team for it than before - so you don't always "get what you pay for". It's just that, being greedy by nature, football supporters always want more. Show them a ham sandwich and they'll want a banquet!

borojim said:

Something has to change at home.

May I suggest a radical approach. Lets attack from the back. Put Williams in defence in a back five with Hines and Bates as partners, McMahon and Bennet as overlapping fullbacks. The three centre backs could take it in turns to occasionally get forward. Haroun, Bailey and Arca or Reach in midfield , Juke and Bart up front with Main and Emnes champing at the bit to get on. This formation would give Bailey more opportunities to drive forward.

Cobblers you say? well something has to change.

Ian Gill said:

ArchieStevensBirthdayParty -

I will lay several things at Strachan's door but the dispiriting performances against West Brom were purely Gate's responsibilty.

The 3-0 away defeat before relegation and the 5-0 home capitutaltion were under Gareth's stewardship, the latter severely undermining Gates tenure helped of course by two 1-0 defeats to Leicester and Watford in the next home games.

All three saw the same limp performances we saw on Sunday.

Benny Brown said:

What is the worst thing that can happen to Boro this season? That they win promotion and become the whipping boys of the Premier League for one season before being relegated once more.

The team that played or should I say was on the field against Leeds was a total disgrace to the club.The manner of their play was back to the 1940=1950 era. Slamming balls up to the attackers at every opportunity is not how modern day football is played.

The game cried out for a skilled mid fielder who had the confidence and skills to hold on to the ball before making a decisive pass to a team mate. The only one on the bench who was capable of this sort of play was ARCA so why was he not given the opportunity to bring some skillful play into the Boro team.

I am a Mogga Fan but some of his team selections and tactics make me shudder.

spartakboro said:

Is the bottle half full or half empty?

Looking back at the last 10 Championship home games and the Boro have W4 D2 L4. We have a total of 14 points from a possible 30. Just about half way I’d say and perhaps that’s indicative of why Boro, in part, are where we are given the performances of those around us.

Do we have a team with a manager who can storm the league and advance into the Premiership where all but the top 5-6 will await in trepidation? No! What we have is a team that can hold their own against most of their peers when we have a level playing field.

I have said (sometimeago) that we were at best headed for Wembley and the play-offs. The times when we could have gone into the automatic playoff positions were squandered.

So what’s left to debate? Well same old same old really; the structure of the team, the management strategy and tactics. I have already voiced the opinion that we desperately needed a creative force in the centre of mid-field. I believe I made this point sometime before Xmas.

The January transfer window came and went and now the loan window is reaching its conclusion and still this crucial deficit has not been addressed. Zemmama’s in the wings but for whatever reason he’s not had a decent run. Which is of course no excuse because without someone with ability to drive down the centre or slip diagonal passes to quick moving strikers in space you’re left with pressure football and hoping someone can put the ball in the net at some point in the scrum.

(Note to Leeds supporters: that’s what you’ve now got and when the opposition comes along with the same pressure football you accumulate a lot of home draws and losses. I’m happy for Michael who to describe such a strategy as ‘Brilliant’ must in part be feeling relief after watching a lot of poor football in the none to recent past. Remember one swallow a summer doth not make.)

I have a certain sympathy with Robson who puts in a hard working shift, gives it his all and finds the wall isn’t going to crack. “Mr. Robson, some walls will and some won’t. It’s in the nature of the variety and quality of the opposition’s ability to keep their shape and how hard they work to close the opposition down.”

My own personal hometown hero Mogga has in his mind how he thinks he can achieve most with the resources he has at his disposal. He (I believe) sees the division as a war of attrition between the vast majority of teams who are much the same in quality. Who am I to disagree?

When you haven’t the financial resources to buy big style super quality players then you make the best of what you have. Lambert has received the accolade of Championship player of the year and Southampton have remained in an auto spot most if not all of the season. They struck lucky in combination with momentum and hard work.

My only criticism would be that we have played to one vision without the ability in the long term to change style and tactics where and when necessary. We have at times plenty of energy but little or no finesse (that showed against Leeds along with two gifted goals). That has been our problem for some time and will continue to be.

When playing away it can work because the opposition need to win the points and they can/do leave space for the fleet of foot to exploit, but it doesn’t work at home. I only hope it doesn’t spoil our chances of remaining in the play-off positions.

My big fear is that (and I’ve said this sometimeago) the Boro team at home don’t have confidence in themselves and don’t believe they have what it takes to win against well organised opposition. Nicky Barnby said it all when he went away without a win with Hull, but felt as though his team were better and were robbed of the points.

Change needs to come by necessity or we are going to continue to see the same poor performance as we did against a ‘Brilliant’ Leeds. You can’t keep expecting to rush the opposition out of the points time and again. It works sometimes but not enough.

In conclusion, I think it’s going to be a white knuckle ride right to the end- so hang on to yer hats!


tim from sa said:

Can't help but think TM is trying to make a place for Thomson in the team.

That is all well and good if he could play ten games on the trot and put the ball about as we all know he can. But he is not finishing matches.He is always injured and looks like he going to continue in this vane while he remains a Boro player.

Call it bad luck or whatever you like but it is no good tinkering with the midfield ie putting Robson out on the right etc if Thomson is not cutting it. I think a fit and in-form Thomson would be TMs captain and one of the first names on the team sheet. But he isnt. So put him out on loan, get the midfield with regulars in every week and the team will settle down.

Sorry Thommo, probably not your fault but you need come right somewhere else we cant afford it.

John Dobson said:

The most outstanding feature of our team is the lack of fitness. We all know that we were outplayed but we were also outrun. In every department over many of the recent games we have not been able to keep up. How many times have we threatened in the first half but run out of steam in the second?

We assume that the players must have enough skill or they wouldn't be able to command a place in a championship team. So fitness must be the key. I don't believe that sitting back is a strategy, it is an inevitability. What else do you do when you've run out of puff? I despair at watching every team in the league outrunning us and for longer as the games go on.

jiffy said:

In case anyone disputes the poor state of our home record: we have won 7 of 19 home games and scored 1 goal per game.

In the Premiership you get 19 home games and twice (under Rioch and Lawrence) we have been relegated with 8 home wins.

Ian Gill said:

SpartakBoro -

Part of the problem with Robbo is in his own head, cant do much about that but the fire in him needs harnessing.

All his best games have been in central midfield or a free role where he can drive
the team forward and maraud, rattle cages and score goals. Oddly that is when we have been most effective.

I would be intrigued to see what %age of his bookings have been when stuck on the right wing compared to central midfield.

Putting hime on the right wing is totally counter productive. He is not Arjen Robbem or Jinky Johnson. I disiike putting players where there are not in their best position but even Tony Mac on the right with Robbo central with Bails, Hammill left would be a far better option.

Robson would have give Leeds central midfield something to think about rather than having Bails and Williams largely shielding (or not) the back four. It would also have moved us further up the pitch.

Instead we revert to the new orthodoxy of left footed player on the left. Robbo hasn't got the pace or patience to play that role effectively. He loses his rag too easily so you have two choices.

1. Play him in the best position for him and the team and reap the benefits.

2. Be clever, play him on the right, get him frustrated and booked, have no drive in central midfield, play like a set of table football players in rigid lines, surrender the initiative to the opposition, hack off all the home supporters.


Werdermouth said:

So, as Mogga puts it, Boro are 'far from the finished article' then is the finished article an achievable objective or merely an aspiration to work towards.

It's clear that the standard of the players that have replaced the outgoings in recent years is lower - but can that trend be reversed when income is set to further decrease if promotion is not acheived.

I don't see our future activity in the transfer market being able to bridge that gap so surely it would make more sense to start giving the promising academy players preference ahead of the players who continue to fail to make an impact.

Also, it's also upto Mogga to setup the team to play to the level they're capable of and not necessarily in a way he hopes they can manage to achieve.

Also why were players pumping long balls forward towards an isolated Emnes against Leeds - if we must adopt a long ball strategy then its up to the manager to organise the team to do this sucessfully with forwards playing closer together.

It's the last quarter of the season and the games will come thick and fast - so maybe enthusiastic youth with energy and no baggage would serve us better in this average league.

You can't blame the players if the manager is saying they're are basically not good enough and have exceeded expectations.

Powmill said:

Still suffering an awful sense of bitter disappointment. Not so much that we lost, but it was the manner of losing that is upsetting. It really was a team going nowhere, with apparently no drive let alone invention to be able to hurt an ordinary (sorry "brilliant" lol) Leeds side.

All the same, we are 4th and two away games coming up where typical Boro can once again upset the pundits and dent both WHU's and B'ham's promotion hopes. Several of the teams around us still have to meet as well.

I can't and don't want to dwell on Sunday. I want to forget it and quickly. This season has still got a lot to play for. To be honest, I don't think you can predict yet who is going to be in the top two, let alone the top six come the end of April.

And for the doom-merchants predicting a quick return to the Championship should we actually get promoted this year. Then, that in itself will be fine as we will benefit from an extended parachute system that will help TM put together a team to take back up and to stay up.

So, Spartakboro, for me the glass is still very definitely half-full!


ArchieStevensBirthdayParty said:

Ian Gill -

I was referring to the 2-0 defeat to WBA in April 2010 which was the last time we were live on BBC. Recall we had a very slight chance of getting in the play offs, though on their "performance" the players did not think so.

As you say, could have been referring to a number of displays against WBA. The January 2009 defeat was when I realised our PL days were coming to an end.

Ian Gill said:

Try as we might it seems the rest of the division wants us in the play offs!

AytonAyresomeAngel said:

A disappointing result, another home defeat by a team of second division journeymen. Too often we see games where we fail to impose our will on the opposition and press them in their third of the field, in which our forwards play disconnected from each other and give the opposition time and space to organise.

I agree with TM that the team is a work in progress and I also support letting the academy boys have their time. Who was it said that you don't win anything with kids? And remember how wrong he was shown to be (and still is).

I don't want to sound like a Jonah but I hope that we don't get promoted this year as I fear an immediate return to the Champs after a season of grind amongst the Prem's dead men. Where's the glory or fun in that and what does it do for the morale of the club and town? Build a side around the youngsters, let them mature for a season and then watch us go.

A team built on local talent will have its day soon, when the whole Premiership house of cards folds after the formation of the European Super League and all the smart money and footballing mercenaries move to clubs in Russia where ownership is even less regulated than here.

Sorry to sound full of doom and gloom, and I do actually think that we've a had a pretty good season so far, but I hope for that seismic tactical shift that will take us into another league (literally), when teams fear a visit to the Riverside and the players show the confidence and arrogance that comes with a winning mentality.


tim from sa said:

What about Mullins from Pompey? By all accounts he's available on loan. And the type of player we are looking for. Any thoughts?

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