Boro In Credit After Curtain-Raiser
TONY Mowbray's new look Boro boosted their credit rating with a comfortable curtain-raising 2-1 win at Bury in the Capital One Cup.
The boss started with the bulk of his new signings: Woody making his second bow, George Friend at left-back, parmo-powered flanker Mustapha Carayol on the left, midfield schemer Grant Leadbitter taking centre stage in a new look engine room and Argentinian forward Emmanel Ledesma up front. Justin Hoyte was at right back with only Stuart Parnaby of the new boys not on show. He's injured. Insert your own cynical comment here.
All the new boys showed positives in flashes. Friend had a rocky start but grew into the game in the second half; Woody was classy when needed but was rarely stretched; Carayol was the pick in the first half with bursts of penetrating pace down both flanks and the pass of the game (a slotted defence splitter for Hoyte) before going off as a precaution; Ledesma was frustrating at times as he held onto the ball too long or failed to pick out better placed team-mates... but he scored on his debut and had a couple of other good efforts; and Leadbitter was perhaps the pick of the bunch over the full 90 with plenty of movement on and off the ball, drive and energy in midfield and good ball retention and link up play.
The kids looked good too. Luke Williams and Adam Reach both injected pace and attacking intent when they came on. Plenty of boxes were ticked.
Of course it wasn't a complete performance. It was stuttering at times and having seemingly sealedi it with a second goal they suffered a familiar wobble, leaked a goal from a sloppily defended corner and then had a shapeless spell. But they held on, settled down and finished with a long spell of dominant possession that probably deserved a more emphatic scoreline.
But hey, job done. A potentially tricky cup obstacle has been passed, Boro are in the draw for the next round and in good shape ready when the real business begins at Barnsley next week.