Third Win in a Row - Boro Moving On Up
By Robert Nichols
Sunday 11 Mar 2018 10:41:00
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An impressive 3-1 victory for Boro over Barnsley strengthens our hold over 6th place and a play off position. We were ahead from the first seconds thanks to Ayala's prod home. Can we now complete our taming of the B's by following Birmingham and Barnsley with a win over Brentford next week?

First things first, we had to see off the challenge of a team scrapping for their lives, fourth bottom, Barnsley. Yet from the moment Ayala popped up in the box the Yorkshire side were chasing shadows. Well, at least until the final quarter of the game but surely even after the Tykes had pulled a goal back Boro could have found another gear.

The first good news came in threes. Friend, Besic and Bamford were passed fit to start the fixture. Tony Pulis had revealed them to be all struggling for full fitness at his Friday morning press conference. The three would play leading roles in the victory, Besic continues to impress and even mustered a shot on target before having to leave the field. Bamford grabbed a goal to keep his scoring run going, that's eight in the last five games now.

Some fans would have still been taking their seats when Ryan Shotton's deep cross was toe-poked home by Daniel Ayala. The big centre back was exploiting a moment of hesitation between the keeper and his defenders. The goal came only seconds after kick off following a surging run from Traore  pushing the away team back with a surging run.

Things would get worse for Barnsley in the 17th minute. The Boro fans were giving an ovation that rippled right around the ground for the tragic car accident near Thirsk that claimed the lives of the young 17 year old Boro fans Mason and George and left Dan very seriously injured in hospital. What timing then for Adama Traore to rip through the Barnsley defence and finish with a 20 yard shot drilled into the corner. Great goal and a fitting tribute.

Boro were now in command and having scored early and doubled the lead we were in no mood to sit back and defend too deep. Besic and Howson were converting possession into attack and Stewart Downing was cutting in from the flanks or taking pot shots. Boro fans could relax and enjoy the ride.

Things got even worse for Barnsley after the break. The Tyles keeper Townsend suddenly turned into a turnip. He totally missed the flight of a corner that sailed through his hands and collided with Bamford, the Boro forward was rushing in towards the back post. 3-0.

At that point it looked as if we might easily take apart our hapless opponents. Townsend became very edgy, scuffing a clearance and the defence looked absolutely all holes.

There were ironic cheers from the decent-sized Barnsley supporter contingent as they finally mustered an effort on goal. Then Randolph made a real meal of a shot, spilling it. Barnsley forward Moore reacted quickly to head home the rebound. Somehow the visitors were back in the game. Well, almost.

Things did become a bit edgy as Barnsley started to press. Randolph will have better days in goal, his handling wasn't too hot and with Besic now off the field and tiredness setting in Boro did look more vulnerable.

Yet the clock was against the visitors and we still had our 2 goal buffer. We could have made that 3 when Bamford broke away and played the perfect pass for Traore to sprint on to. We must credit Townsend for spreading himself and making a fine block with his head. Sub Lewis Baker was left frustrated in the middle, a pass across from Traore would have left him a simple tap in.I'm not sure you can blame Traore though he was moving like an express train towards the goal.

Boro hung on in there and following draws for Sheff United and Bristol City we strengthened our hold over 6th place. The pressure is now on Derby County to get a result as we are now breathing down their necks in the place above us.

Up The Boro

Middlesbrough 3-1 Barnsley – Ayala, Traore, Bamford

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