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Battling Boro Go Back To Basics

By Anthony Vickers on Feb 20, 13 09:00 AM


BACK-to-basics Boro put in a rock solid shift to stop the rot at Burnley.

They ground away at the back, sweated and laboured and threw themselves into blocks and tackles and headers and while at times it was chaotic they claimed a precious point and a welcome clean sheet.

It was only Boro's second goalless game this season - and only the third draw in total - and it was the first clean sheet on the road since the previous double blank at Nottingham Forest in early November.

A goalless draw at a wobbling Burnley may be no great shakes in the wider football firmament - no one is suggesting we saw the top off a double-decker - but after the recent catastrophic collapse it has to be counted as a good point gained.

The hard earned draw ended a traumatic travel sick slump of six successive away defeats that has rolled marbles under the studs of Boro's faltering promotion charge.

Boro had lost at Swansea, Leeds, Derby, Leicester, Ipswich and Palace on the spin - with performance levels declining along the way. Before that they had only just scraped a 3-2 win at then bottom Peterborough. And that followed defeats at Birmingham and Cardiff.

Boro had conceded 20 goals in those nine games and morale and momentum was seeping through the leaks that had sprung in the defence. And what had started as a trickle had turned into a deluge with four flying in at lowly Ipswich then another four - and it could easily have been more - at rampant Palace.

Heads were dropping on the pitch and anger was bubbling over off it at the frustrating malaise that had seen Boro slip from second before New Year to clinging on to the last play-off spot and looking over their shoulders anxiously.

So plugging the gaps was of utmost importance. And Boro succeeded in doing that.

It wasn't a classic but it was gritty and resilient and may just have helped pull Boro out of a fatal away day nosedive.

Boro went for a clean sheet and got it. They set out to be solid with Stephen McManus restored to the team alongside Andre Bikey and George Friend nudged back out to the left in his most convincing position as a full back while Nicky Bailey was drafted in to answer the injury crisis at right.

It wouldn't be most fans' first choice line up but given the casualty list there was little choice. There wasn't even a spare defender on the bench.

That Big Mick was begrudgingly brought back from his lonely stool by the exit door shows the depth of the crisis - but the Scot was in his element.

Incidentally, McManus, out of contract in the summer, has not been on a losing side for Boro this term. His only previous league game was the win at Watford and he also made two early round League Cup appearances.

He may not be the fastest or cultured ball playing stopper but when it comes to a sleeves rolled up ruck and aerial combat he ticks a lot of boxes.

And the makeshift defensive unit did well. They were clunky at times and Burnley found plenty of space down both flanks but hard work and real spirit saw Boro through.

And after being torn open by Championship hot shot Glenn Murray at Palace they did well to shackle the second most prolific striker Charlie Austin.

Burnley bombarded Boro with crosses and won an economy sized sack of corners but the central pair nodded them away relentlessly and when the ball came back in the team as a whole threw their bodies in the way to block.

It was frantic stuff at times. Jason Steele had to make a good full length save from hod-carrying hitman Austin and then clawed away a powerful Dean Marney header from the near top corner and a couple of other efforts sizzled wide, were charged down in a crowded box or flew over.

The first half was one way traffic best watched through your fingers. Boro offered nothing. They didn't have a shot. Not even a hopeful 30 yarder that drifted wide. In fact, they didn't have a corner. And they only made very rare forays past the half-way line.

Boro's midfield was a cautious affair. Rarely can Boro have fielded a midfield with so few goals between them. Rhys Williams was in a holding role behind the central pair of Grant Leadbitter and Josh McEachran with Richard Smallwood and Andy Halliday on the flanks but sitting deep to protect the full-backs.

There's parking the bus then there is working in the Cleveland Transit depot.

We were watching Burnley keeper Lee Grant closely. His greatest danger was nodding off. He must have been so bored. He may as well have sat down and got his phone out to play Angry Birds. His first touch of the ball came on 41 minutes - seriously - and even that was to casually return a back-pass.

But having blunted the Clarets attack with sheer labour, Boro started to show more ambition after the break - and they may have snatched it in the end.

The fightback started slowly as Boro first slowly pushed the still scrappy scrum into the middle third then tentatively started to probe forward.

Having weathered the storm at the back Tony Mowbray made some creative changes as in quick succession frontmen Mustapha Carayol, Ishmael Miller and Curtis Main came on and Boro started to attack.

The first real effort came on the hour as Carayol was chopped down to win a free kick 25 yards out and after a touch back from Bikey, Leadbitter rammed it through the wall and just wide.

That signalled a slow shift in the balance of power as Boro gradually pressed forward and started to ask the questions - although chances were still at a premium and Grant, while he had been forced to put his phone away, still never had to make a serious save.

And Burnley broke out to fashion the best chance of the game as a quick ball sent Austin streaking into the box but eight yards out he cracked his angled drive over the bar.

But Boro finished with a final flourish as they piled forward and applied some genuine pressure as Williams fired over, McEachran rifled wide and then at the death hero elect Curtis Main had a chance to repeat his Leeds sucker punch and settle it dramatically but an acrobatic mid-air hook over his shoulder looped up and into the roof of the net.

So it ended all square on a night when the cushion beneath Boro was whittled down to two points. Some won't be happy with that. Our lofty ambitions jut a few months ago did not include celebrating a goalless draw at Turf Moor.

But it was a gritty display that showed exactly the spirit, graft and solidity missing in the bruising sorry surrenders at Ipswich and Palace.

It has ended a nightmare run, stopped the goals flying in, propped up flagging morale and kept a potential rival at arms length. Away from home, it was a decent point.

It wasn't one for the purists but it ticked a lot of boxes.

Now, to build on that and regain play-off momentum, Boro have to show the same spirit and add goal and beat Millwall on Saturday.

39 Comments

Werdermouth said:

I agree, whilst it didn't sound pretty it was probably necessary in order to stop the rot and prove to the players it was possible to play away and not concede goals.


Boro now just need to find a cutting edge (I'm not talking about the double decker bus now) as Millwall are in free-fall and are there for the taking - so everyone will be expecting three points and failure to do so will probably see us slip out of the top six, which will be a psychological blow.


BTW our next three away games are against teams in the bottom four so it may be possible to play a team that is solid with a bit more cutting edge and then who knows - they will be edgy too.


Also six of our next seven games would be deemed easily winnable for a team with playoff ambitions - so no pressure then lads!

CroydonBoro said:

I'll celebrate a goalless draw away from home every day of the week.


If we keep winning at home and drawing away then we're nailed on for the play offs at end of the season. That may seem ludicrously optimistic but we dont have to batter teams away, we just have to not lose. Let's grind out results and get there. Let's just get there.


Very pleased to see Big Mick back, he may be too agricultural for Mogga (ooo the irony) but no nonsense row Z football is a necessity in this league, especially away from home.


Fair do's to Mogga for bringing him back, restoring some confidence by not conceding in the first half and looking to steal it with attacking the half substitutions. And well done to all who travelled to watch. I wonder how many would have taken a goalless draw before kick off.

mickymac said:

Well the post match kebab was nice last night but Millwall got hammered 5-1,so we know what that means for Saturday....

jiffy said:

So now its back to back home league games against a lower half side stuffed 5-1 at home by the bottom club followed by the league leaders. Typical Boro would suggest a humiliating defeat to Millwall followed by stunning victories over both Chelsea and Cardiff!


But then we have four games against the bottom four sandwiched round a home game against Brum who are not far above those four themselves. That should be 15 points out of 15 for anyone seriously planning promotion or playoffs. Arguably we should be thinking of 21 out of 21 for those next 7 league games.

ron in the delta said:

The Leeds game showed the fight that is now ahead until the end of the season. So why wasn't this format utilised against CPalace? For me, stuff the free flowing "attractive" football away from home what is required is a point a game minimum.


I only enquired about McManus's absence the other day. Good to see him back to shore up the defence.

Ian Gill said:

How deliciously ironic that our stuttering season was given a huge boost by the return of little Mac and may now how have been given a reboot with big Mac. Well done Gordie. Splutter!


Don't care, as I posted yesterday something will change things around. Maybe last night was the catalyst we need. The dose of Redex to clear the choking engine - that will test younger posters!

Nigel Reeve said:

Last nights' result was a good one. I'm with CroydonBoro - if we draw every away game between now and the end of May I'll be very happy.


A 0-0 draw for a team having a bad run of form can have a big positive impact, having weathered the Burnley storm the players will have come off with a sense of satisfaction I would imagine. Not conceding after having conceded so many in recent games will be a huge boost.


I hope Mogga goes for the 'hard to beat' tactics away from home for the remainder of the season.


Millwall up next, by which time we may be 7th which will increase the pressure a little.

Andy R said:

Happy with last night's result.


Ok, we lacked a bit of ambition for the first hour but, frankly, with our away form a point and being difficult to beat was ambitious enough!


The team and tactics may have been somewhat dictated by injuries but you have to applaud the approach nonetheless. There's been lots of talk of the need to go "back-to-basics" and that's what we did, even if Bailey was at right back (incidentally I think Mrs Bailey gave that away via twitter hours earlier. Make of that what you will).


I'd take obstinacy as a tactic for the rest of the away games.


If we can take the fight we showed against Leeds and Burnley into our remainig games there are plenty of points available. We're all looking for the playoffs, but the target should be to beat last year's total of 70 and see where that takes us.

Len in Belgium said:

Is it too soon to engage the BBC Championship Predictor? Well I've done it and I have Boro finishing 7th with 77pts, level on points with Brighton who finish 6th. I fear the damage done now may be irreparable! Anyway I have our final 13 games' record reading like this:


P13 W7 D5 L1


Wins are Millwall(H), Bristol City(A), Birmingham(H), Peterborough(H), Forest(H), Charlton(H),Sheff W(A)- 5 wins at home + 2 wins away (a fair reflection upon results so far?)


Loss is Hull(A) - 1 loss away


Draws are Cardiff(H), Huddersfield(A), Wolves(A), Brighton(H), Bolton(A) - 2 draws at home + 3 draws away


So potential permutations based only upon our own fixtures are that we lose to Cardiff at home BUT beat Huddersfield and Wolves Away, putting us on 80pts and finishing 6th


I really must stop this daytime drinking lark!!


**AV writes: Anyone else fancy trying their hand at bias projection and imposing their current mood and confidence levels on future events?

Denis said:

It has taken me most of the week to summon up the courage to see the shocker that was the Palace game. After watching it is my dearest wish not to see Parnaby and Haroun in the team again unless all the others struck by the plague.


As for last night, there is nothing wrong with being resolute, tight at the back, no nonsense defence as personified by Mc Manus.


Why Mogga thought we could match Palace shows incredible naivety. Still for the future I would be happy if playing away we could stifle games and play on the break, that will work if Smallwood, Bailey are in the team ,not if Ledesma and Haroun are there to cause havoc to ourselves. Has anybody see Reach on their travels?

Ian Gill said:

In the midst of our navel gazing spare a thought for the poor fans of Arsenal.

They may not get in to the Champions League next season and this is causing great distress.

82% voted to it was time for Arsene to go.

Bless!

peterboroangel said:

Back to basics is exactly what was required.

Delighted with a point, now let's build on it.

Andy R said:

I've heard and read a surprising amount on criticism for last night's performance.


I would think that the three things that fans want from their team on the field, the three factors that make footballing entertainment are:


1. Results
2. Endeavour
3. Style


It seems to me that we got two out of three last night. I would take the same again on Saturday.

Clive Hurren said:

Sorry to poop the party everybody, but the general mood around me last night was that if Mogga had gone for it a bit earlier then we might have well won the game.


Boro showed enough creativity and made enough chances in the last 15 mins; it was therefore a real shame when the final whistle went, as in those last few mins the momentum was with us. But no, we went for the ultra-safe option and blew the chance of a win.


Unlike a number of fans on other forums I wasn't disappointed by Emnes's contribution last night - I thought he worked very hard and showed good control - but I did think it was a waste playing him up front entirely on his tod. What was the poor lad expected to achieve? At least Boro fans gave him a good reception when he was withdrawn.


I do think the defence played very well, especially MotM McManus, Bikey and Steele, and it was a relief to keep a clean sheet. And, yes, if you'd offered me a point before the game I would definitely have taken that. The regret, however, is that with a little less caution and a little more adventure, we could well have got all three points.

Redcar Red said:

Boring Boro but it will do for me. Its a war of attrition now to try and cling to any remaining hope of Premier League football and the financial relief it would give the club even if only for a season.


Well done to Mogga for going back to basics, I'm sure it didn't come easy but it is what was required in the short term for the long term greater benefit.


Well done to Big Mick, a true professional performance and one that should see him stick there while he performs like that. A bit of backbone is what Boro need right now in defence and what Jason Steele needs in front of him, a good old fashioned no nonsense defender who takes responsibility and attacks the ball in his box.


A strong impenetrable defence is exactly the foundation the rest of the side needs to restore confidence and belief and to build from.

postie9174 said:

Totally agree with the previous comments, not pretty but effective and not before time. Whilst injuries have been a problem there has been too much tinkering with the team selection and too much worrying about the opposition, let them worry about us for a change.


Despite the horrendous start to 2013 we are still in a play-off position and as Jimmy Greaves used to say "its a funny old game". I suspect there will be many twists and turns before the end of the season.

Tosh said:

Back to basics infers a team that has been lacking in that department for a very long time.


If you can not get the basics right for a whole promotion campaign, how can we expect it to be put right over night?


Quick! Send for El Tel


timfromsa said:

Did I understand TM's comments the other day about big Mick playing more games for Boro was a problem brought on by the old regime? Mmmm any thoughts AV?


Well we ground out a draw which i would have taken before kick off. Hoping for better against Millwall and as we move into March.


**AV writes: It is certainly possible that McManus may have a big appearance fee built into his contract but I wouldn't know for sure.

Nigel Reeve said:

Clive Hurren -


you're kidding aren't you? Before the match we were all screaming for a tight, robust performance and we got exactly that. We didn't concede away for the first time in months and got a point away for the first time in how many games?


If Mogga had opened up the game and we'd been caught on the break, losing 1-0 what would you have posted?


A point away from home is always a good result.

boro1953 said:

Someone mentions Reach going off the radar again and this exposes Moggas' hypocrisy, He says that we have to bring our young players along sparingly. If that is the case why is McEachren (19) playing almost every game?


This can't do anything to promote morale among our younger players when preferential treatment is dished out to another clubs player. McEachran (no goals) should have been sent back in December and our own youngsters given more of a chance. Reach for example is good enough to be a regular as is Smallwood and Main (whats happened to Cameron Park?)


These players are far better than the likes of Ledesma, Emnes, etc,etc,and if you are good enough you are old enough. For example has the likes of Rooney, Wilshire, Zaha, Walcott etc,etc,been brought along sparingly? The answer is a big no.


Also you have to question Moggas' judgment as regards the more senior players ie giving contracts to Emnes and Woodgate (both big mistakes) the treatment of McManus, Mcdonald,and Bailey all of whom should be playing regularly. Mogga says he wants a good team spirit at the club but it seems his actions don't foster it.

Werdermouth said:

I wonder if timfromsa is on to something as McManus is currently on 48 appearances for Boro - it's not beyond the realm of credibility that either McManus, Celtic or both are due a windfall should he reach 50 appearances (must be quite a significant amount to freeze him out and play Friend in central defence instead).


In which case Mogga should choose his 49th appearance very carefully.


**AV writes: Woody could be back on Saturday. That could be a bigger factor.

Andy R said:

I'm not one for conspiracy theories and whilst stranger things have happened in football I doubt that there is a clause in McManus' contract for a payment to him or Celtic should he reach 50 appearances.


I'm pretty sure that Mogga wanted him out at Celtic to fund his own spending there, just as here, and would not have pushed for such a clause. Likewise Strachan wanted him at Boro and already had a good relationship with Celtic and the player, as well as having money to spend up front. I don't think the deal needed a sweetener, though McManus' agent would no doubt have pushed for one if there was scope.


More likely is that Mowbray simply doesn't fancy him. Unlike McManus, I'm a regular Mowbray defender but his refusal to play the Scot may have been a mistake, particularly in recent weeks.


**AV writes: Mogga doesn't believe he is a "ball playing centre back." Which is what he really wants. There was a strong financial imperative to get him out on loan but that was mainly driven by his wage levels rather than an looming landmark.


But the situation isn't unknown. Remember that Gary O'Neil was was frozen out for a while on 99 games as the next one triggered a £500k payment to Portsmouth. That clause was eventually bought out with cash-strapped Pompey's administrators accepting a lot lower payment.


Further back Ian Ironside was dropped after 49 games and shipped out in the summer because one more meant another £50k to Scarborough.

BoroPhil said:

I guess Tuesday is only a good result if we win on Saturday.


Len -


if 77 points isn't enough for 6th place, I'll eat my foam hands. I'd bet it's been enough for a play-off place in each of the last 10 seasons, and this year in particular 6th could be a record low. Blackpool got there with 70 I think a few seasons ago, and might be as low as that again.


It is a crazy division, I don't think there are any easy away games, 7th place away is likely to be as hard as the bottom team away. There is a whole load of teams who know they are one great run away from the playoffs and one awful run away from League One.


**AV writes: The average lowest points tally needed to get into the play-offs over the past 10 years is 72.3. It has been as low as 69 and as high as 75.

Redcar Red said:

**AV writes: Woody could be back on Saturday. That could be a bigger factor.


OK I'll my moneys on 37 minutes and a complete waste of a Sub plus more disruption at the back with the likely ensuing consequences.


Surely Mogga knows by now that if Woody hobbles off yet again and the game goes against us especially after Mac's MOM performance on Tuesday its a gamble that's simply not worth taking.

lenmasterman said:

Len in Belgium -


75 points has been enough to guarantee the play-offs over the last 10 seasons, so your calculations may be a bit out.


Predicting is pretty difficult. Our remaining fixtures do not look too demanding, but we have recently lost two games where we might have previously hoped for maximum points, against Ipswich and Barnsley.


We have some big games at home against possible rivals such as Cardiff, Brighton and Forest, and much will hang on those results. But even given our current blip, we are still in with a great chance of the play-offs, and my prediction factors in possible defeats against Brighton(h), Wolves(a) and Hull(a), as well as draws against Huddersfield(a), Forest(h), and Bolton(a).


We need to beat Milwall, Cardiff, Bristol City, Birmingham,Peterborough, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday, a not insuperable task. That would give us 75pts, enough for the play-offs.


For which I don't fancy our chances.

Ian Gill said:

Len highlights the matches at home against Brighton and Forest. At the moment they are matches where we could draw and keep the status quo. But so much can change over a few matches.


Odd as it sounds creeping in to the play offs may be such a relief, the pressure comes off then you are in to cup football.

Nigel Reeve said:

Last season 71 points would have been good enough for sixth place, or 70 plus a good goal difference. Cardiff finished 6th on 75, five ahead of us.


If Boro average 1.5 points a game between now and May or just over we'll be there or there abouts for sixth place. Personally I'd like us to miraculously develop some scintilating form, win every game between now and the end of the season and finish second.

Andy R said:

I agree with your response AV: Mogga wants ball playing centre halves and McManus does not fit the bill as well as being expensive.


My point about Mowbray possibly making a mistake in not selecting him was more about choosing Friend ahead of him. I would rather he temporarily compromised his principles there. Although Friend is better on the ball, McManus ticks many more boxes as a centre half.


I see both as reasonable Championship-level players, but, whilst I groan at the monotonous "square-peg" argument, a reasonable Championship-level centre-half at centre-half makes more sense than a reasonable Championship-level left-back at centre-half. I think.


I don't say this as an assualt on the manager - I am firmly in his camp - but we all make mistakes and I think that may have been one of his. Unless, of course, there is an appearance clause in McManus' contract. Even though it's not unheard of I still think it unlikely. If the clause exists then Mogga would do well to be honest and open about it as he is with most things. It would take some heat off him, whilst reinforcing the message that he is working under real financial constraints.


Right, I couldn't be bothered to do the full BBC predictor but I did do Boro's matches and was shocked to find us finishing with 67 points. And I thought I was a ra-ra?


Pedro de Espana said:

After reading a number of reports it was nice to see that McManus was possibly MotM. For me he is just the type of CB you need out of the two that normally play.


The other ball playing CB could have been Woodgate, however that has now turned into a bad joke, and bear in mind he has another two years contract to go. If ever there was a waste of money.


I will be really disappointed if he is dropped for Woodgate.


On another note AV, in the last thread there were postings and answers from you on the FFP next season.


Does a team that gets promotion, then gets relegated after one season, qualify for four years parachute payments, or is there some type of sliding scale?


Otherwise in a very short time, with one or sometimes two of the promoted teams going straight back down, there will form a middle section between the Premier and Championship of teams with lots of cash, and the majority in the Championship unable to compete due to the restrictions under FFP.


That will of course include the Boro unless Bulkhaul or the other big privately owned Teesside company sponsor the shirts for say "millions" a season. I guess that would be allowed in theory, would it??


**AV writes: Parachute payments are counted as legitimate income so are 'free' but any external investment on top would still be limited. And relegated teams still have some radical book balancing to address. You may come down with a financial windfall and £16m bonus - but you still have the problem of a massive millstone wage-bill and players who are paid too much to sell on.


QPR could come down with a £60m cheque plus the parachute - but they still have a wagebill of almost £50m to be reconciled. If they don't go straight back up then would implode. Chris Samba alone could push them under: £12m to sign and £100k a week (£5.2m a year) for five years -and no relegation wage cut clause - is a £32m commitment. That is a toxic signing. But then, Harry has form on that.


Clive Hurren said:

Nigel Reeve -


If Boro had gone behind we would have lost the game. With that line up we were never going to score! We didn't even get in their penalty area for 60 minutes; we didn't shoot once until then either! In the whole game we had only one shot on goal, and as has been pointed out their keeper could have spent the evening lazing on a deck-chair.


Don't get me wrong - we had to stop the rot and we needed to defend properly to keep a clean sheet. A point was not a disaster by any means in the wider context of the previous bad run. I understand why Mogga went for a very cautious approach. You have to start somewhere.


But we also had the players on the bench who could have hurt Burnley given more time. Once we brought on the cavalry we looked the better side and might have scored. My point is that this might have been done a bit earlier. We'd already negated Burnley's threat to a very large extent.

David of Redcar said:

In effect it is Boro v Brighton for 6th / 7th get your coin out and spin it.

Tosh said:

Ball playing centre backs are not what is required for getting out of this league. We saw Williams schoolboy defending against Watford as a wake up call on that front.


At the back you require brawn with a brain, a la Huth or a Pearson who were great leaders and organisers.


You would need a squad of infinitely better footballers than what we possess to play your way out of this league. This type of approach by Mogga leads me to belive he is too one dimensional in his management philosophies.

Werdermouth said:

If you believe that it's going to take 75 points to secure 6th spot then David of Redcar is probably correct that in reality only Brighton or Boro could reach that target.


Any team below Brighton would need to pick up at least 30 points from the available 39 and given that they've only so far managed at most 45 points from 99, it would be extremely unlikely.


Incidently, Boro need 24 points from a possible 39 and Brighton 26 points from a possible 42. Though unless Boro can regain their form from last year then even 70 points will be an achievement.


So it all depends on whether Boro have turned the corner yet and the next two or three games will decide whether we have a team that's up for the challenge. So if Brighton are on form then we will need to match them, otherwise it will be a battle with the chasing pack to nudge ahead at a finishing line in the low 70's.


BTW, I notice Hull have snapped up George Boyd on loan - something like him and a defender could have perhaps made the difference for Boro's playoff push - instead we have Dyer and an emergency use only McManus.

timfromsa said:

Dave Redcar -


i think you can count the Foxes in there to.


Its crazy with our form but if we had pinched a win at Burnley we would have gone to fifth. The run in is going to be very exiting i am hoping that our run of bad form has come to an end which would see us ending in fifth and in good enough form to carry the play offs.


We are allowed to dream,

Nigel Reeve said:

Personally I like to watch my team play football, if i want to see 'agricultural' football with centre backs 'hoofing it', I can go down the park on a Sunday

Ian Gill said:

Nigel -


I think rugged is a better term than agricultural for a partnership of Bikey and McManus. They dont tend to hoof it for the sake of it.


Even top class centre halves need to boss the middle.

Spartakboro said:

Remind me again how many points the Boro have picked up in the last 9 games and how many we've dropped. Then extrapolate that info into the forthcoming fixtures and reach a conclusion as to what place Boro will finish the season.


Given said same first sentence info then reflect on a bottom half present position and you may find we'd be relegated.


UTB


* All spell checks greatfully accepted.


**AV writes: You have to extrapolate the other teams too. I think we have comfortably taken double the points that Millwall have over the last nine games.

Ian Gill said:

AV writes: You have to extrapolate the other teams too. I think we have comfortably taken double the points that Millwall have over the last nine games.


So does that mean 460 for the televised match?

spartakboro said:

**AV writes: You have to extrapolate the other teams too. I think we have comfortably taken double the points that Millwall have over the last nine games.


Hi AV, point taken (no pun intended)but I don't have the heart to ask you what the score was yesterday (they, Millwall, have three more points now).


What concise adjective can you conjure up to describe that which Cassandra has been harpin on about for weeks. Over to you!


**AV writes: It's gloomy - but this is a poor league. We need a spark.


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