A tentative start to the game, nervous to a point but we grew into it very quickly after that initial period, we moved the ball and kept possession very well and controlled the game in large parts of the half.
Some of our phases of playing and build up was a joy to watch, crisp passing, good decision making, lots of options and fluent movement. We used our training ground work to expose the opposition full backs really well, with some terrific diagonal passing.
Middlesbrough’s goal was difficult to take as the player was possibly two to three yards offside, saying that, we all stopped waiting for the whistle and never reacted, (a learning point to us all).
Again we kept composed and stuck to the game plan creating many half chances without really testing the goal keeper.
Some great combination play between Paul Mcfarlane, Colin Clarke and Reily Harbour cut through the Middlebrough midfield and defence well at times.
Having been caught with the offside for the goal, the defensive line was exemplary throughout the whole game catching Middlesbrough’s strikers offside on many occasions.
We finished the half really strong coming close to scoring with a 25 yard free-kick from Harbour.
Adam Szymaszek was called into action once making a great save across his goal.
Middlesbrough made a handful of changes during the half time period, bringing on some more influential and experienced players into the game. having said that we started the half the brighter side, causing problems out wide using Victor Davis and Omar Damba early giving us many 1v1 opportunities.
The movement of Middlesbrough’s midfield caused us problems early in the game, but during discussions we nullified that really well. Again we had some good chances and 4 goal mouth scrambles in which Middlesbrough’s defence defended really well.
Their second goal came again against the run of play, we did not get tight enough on the initial build up allowing them to get a phase of movement. Disappointing but we will learn from that one.
Having made many substitutions ourselves early in the half to get some fresh legs onto the pitch, going forward we looked dangerous every time, led by Harbour picking up great positions between the lines.
Clarke worked tirelessly with some joy regaining possession high up.
Bell again marshaled the defensive unit well.
We were dealt a sucker blow with the third goal, which gave them the (3-0) lead but honestly, the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game.
We were better in and out of possession but Middlesbrough were more clinical in front of goal.
Upon reflection and taking into consideration our previous showcase game v Sheffield Wednesday, it showed how much we have improved physically, mentally and tactically.
It was a great performance we can all be proud of.
A neutral would not have picked out the non pro team.
We still need to be more clinical in front of goal, that’s the only thing that is missing from our play. The work-rate and attitude was exemplary again.
Huge improvements game on game WELL DONE ALL.