Still In It To Win It
By Robert Nichols
Sunday 13 May 2018 18:26:00
Browse all Match Previews articles


A 1-0 goal defeat at the Riverside on Saturday leaves Boro with a mountain to climb to overcome Aston Villa in the play offs semi final. But you don't win promotion to the Premier League without scaling the heights and Boro have the resilience and the weaponry to shake Villa out of their box seat at Villa Park on Tuesday.

It is half time in this tie and Boro are one behind but we have shown recently that there is no fear from coming back from goals conceded to win games. This tie is far from over. The promotion dream has not faded away yet.

Boro conceded a glancing first half header from Mile Jedinak that landed like a missile in the corner of the net. It was a header that broke Boro fans hearts. In fact Villa might easily have made it 2-0 through Robert Snodgrass screamer but for the finger tips of a brilliant Randolph save and the woodwork.

Boro had chances as well. Britt Assombalonga had three clear cut first half efforts on goal, any one of them converted would have given the tie a very different feel. The day had started very differently with former goalkeeping coach, Leo Percovich thanking the fans and pumping his fist to his heart. It was such an emotional moment. Unforgettable, really.

Boro found it hard to break through the expertly marshalled defences of a very well organised Villa side. Boro's Traore was closely marked by the wily Alan Hutton, who switched sides and positions to keep him under close scrutiny.. Whenever Adama had the ball there were at least three men rushing to smother him.

This did leave room for others but while Stewart Downing was constantly switching play in intelligent fashion, the younger Mo Besic rushed down blind alleys and failed to release the right pass at the right time.

Injury to towering centre back Dani Ayala could hit Boro hard in the second leg. Yet his replacement Fabio proved Boro's best attacking option, he exploited the space from Traore's shadowing and tore into the box. The Brazilian who has just signed a contract extension had several efforts on target but even he could not beat their keeper.

We are down but not out. Our 2000 can make even more noise than Villa's fans and we can make our mark at Villa Park on Tuesday. We will have to do it the hard way but Tony Pulis red and white army is up for the battle. Come on Boro and Up The Boro

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