One Paddy Kenny - Boro Scrape Through
By Rob Nichols
Thursday 28 Feb 2008 01:55:07
Browse all Match Reviews articles

Sheffield United certainly made it difficult but Boro just about did enough to reach the next round of the FA Cup. With time running out in the second period of extra time Mido blasted for goal, Sheff U keeper slimline Paddy Kenny treated the ball like a bar of soap as he pushed it onto the frame of the goal before it bounced back off him into the net. Desperate luck but the break we needed and deserved. Now a home tie awaits v Cardiff City in the Quarter Finals, Sun 9th March 2pm.


A 28 000 crowd suffered the trials and tribulations of an FA Cup marathon as Kevin Blackwell’s battling Blades took us all the way into extra time. Full marks to the Championship side they made it so difficult for us. Particularly after the half time break they closed us down so quickly we couldn’t get into our stride or get up any head of steam.


Alves started his first game for Boro and showed plenty of skilful moves and had his first shots on target before being removed midway through the second half. An unpopular decision but the right one as we will need him again on Saturday v Reading. Another to enjoy a superb game was young defender Seb Hines who barely put a foot wrong or a header out of place all evening. It was Seb’s first senior start in his favoured central defensive position and he demonstrated enough poise to point to a big future in the game.


There were plenty of chances for Boro in the first period. United by contrast had a game plan to stop us and block us and frustrate us and as the game wore on the tactics became more and more successful. Downing had gone close to breaking the deadlock when cutting in from the left. Alves hammered a free kick straight at Kenny. Arca should really have done better than passing straight at Kenny when Alves sprinted in from the right.


But as the clock wound down on the second half tension grew. Subs came and went. Boro pushing on Tuncay for Alves, O’Neil for Arca and later on Johnson for Rochemback. The extra pace in our fresh legs and the fitness of the Premier players did start to tell in extra time but the Blades refused to buckle. It was getting nail biting as penalties loomed. We never do these things easily and last season’s cup run was studded with extra time drama and spot kick sudden deaths.


Thankfully it didn’t get that far. As Paddy Kenny lay motionless staring up into the heavens three sides of the Riverside breathed one enormous sigh of relief. Then it was all hands to the pumps as Pogatetz led the stout defending. He made a blinding block in the very last minute of the game. In between time Johnson and Tuncay had cut the Blades to ribbons with speedy breakaways but were unable to find the finish to kill the game off.


The final whistle brought real joy to the thousands. No earthquakes tonight but a seismic jump towards a Boro visit to new Wembley.


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