Boro Held by Manchester
By Damon Shaw
Monday 06 Feb 2012 13:20:00
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Middlesbrough Futsal Club dropped two points at home to league leaders Manchester on Sunday despite storming into a 4-0 lead. The visitors clawed their way back into the game and got the equaliser with just 8.2 seconds remaining all in front of a record crowd, which included Boro’s Rhys Williams.

Boro were heading for a repeat of their away demolition of Manchester but fell apart in the second half to gift Manchester a vital point in the race for the title.

A win for either side would have given them the advantage and it looked like Boro would take top spot when Mikey Roberts, Marc Caballeria and Pete Bulmer put the hosts 3-0 up within seven minutes.

A fourth by Mikey Roberts early in the second half seemed to be just what was needed to stop Manchester getting back into it, but with Middlesbrough reaching 5 fouls and Manchester playing fly goalkeeper they quickly got two goals back through England internationals, Cook and Richardson.

The next goal was vital, and it was Robbie Bettson who got the fifth with ten minutes remaining and Boro were counting down the clock to full time. It was two penalties from Cook, for the 6th and 7th fouls that got Manchester back to within one goal and then Haralambous popped up at the far post to slot home with 8 seconds remaining.

It was a devastating end for Boro who had top spot in their sights and will now have to win their last four matches to guarantee a playoff place.

Manager Damon Shaw said, “We saw two very different Boro sides today. We got into a great position but gave Manchester a way back in with very sloppy play. We should have seen the game out but we made some bad decisions and it cost us. It feels like a defeat. To concede with so little time left is devastating and Manchester will consider themselves fortunate that we switched off. We were naive but can learn a lot from this and we are still on course for a place in the playoffs.”

(photo - Ben Pearey)

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