Britt Worldy For Boro Great Escape
By Robert Nichols
Sunday 09 Dec 2018 13:41:00
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Boro fought back from a nightmare start to draw with Blackburn. A man down and a goal down with three quarters of the game left and being comprehensively out-played, the omens did not look good. But in the end we were left to rue a couple of glaring misses to win after super sub Assombalonga hit us back into the game with a world class finish.

A strange game at the Riverside then. Tony Mowbray returned with his promoted Blackburn game and really ought to have had all 3 points wrapped up well before half time. Yet in the end both teams will feel they should have won this drawn game. Only time will tell if Boro will take this point as one gained on the road to recovery or another big step backwards.

One thing is for sure after a dire first period, Boro fans enjoyed a superb contest after the break as Mowbray's Blackburn turned on the class as pass masters and Pulis 10 man Boro withdrew behind the barricades and hit it long over the top. It made for thrilling end to end stiff. Had Rovers impressive playmaker, Bradley Dack hit the target instead of the post or Britt Assombalonga not made a complete pig's ear of his first touch when in on goal, then one team or the other would have been celebrating into the night. As it was Boro almost made a near miraculous recovery from Mo Besic rush of blood and being out fought and moreover out thought in the early stages of this game.

Boro looked to banish the Aston Villa embarasment from our systems by bouncing back against Blackburn Rovers. Boro promoted Ashley Fletcher from nowhere to the starting line up, how unlucky he was to be sacrificed for a post red card re shuffle? Ryan Shotton returned from serious injury at full back and along with another returnee in Daniel Ayala, was absolutely outstanding at the back. Shotton was also the major weapon going forward spearing in his long throws from either flank.

Boro had made a pretty bright start before disaster struck, although the visitors were very much in the game. Returning Danny Graham looked bright and threatening through. Dack creative and finding pockets of space behind Graham that made him hard to pick up. Ashley Fletcher caused some bother in the air winning the ball in the box. His partnership with Hugill the batter ram looked promising.

Disaster struck when Mo Besic faffed and failed to deal with Dack through the centre. Initially I thought the officials were pondering over a back pass. But the slightest of tugs and pull backs by Besic was nonetheless a tug. The female assistant may have received loads of flack afterwards but she was right to flag, even if belatedly. Whether it was a red card or not is not her decision but is pretty likely to be right.

Harsh then but foolish by Besic and so costly when the free kick was guided expertly just beyond Randolph's despairing hand.

Rovers might so easily have extended their lead as they passed the ball around leaving Boro chasing shadows and running up blind alleys. Pulis had to replace Fletcher with Wing to redress the balance in midfield. The ex Shildon man would show plenty of quality touches in the remainder of the match. Fletcher was so unlucky, but the switch was totally understandable.

Boro failed to get to grips with the new realities of the game until Britt came on to partner Hugill up front and Saville replaced Clayton at half time. Afterwards Saville formed a screen across the back and Hugill and Britt ran onto every ball Boro could play over the top.

Britt cut in from the right and scored an absolute screamer. He later failed to control a pass over the top that should have been a winner. But the gold was golden and deserves to be praised as one of our best of this or any years. Hugill and Britt had further chances to win the game. For Rovers Dack and Graham both squandered gaping openings.

At the end of the game there was applause for a fight back and a battling second half performance. Boro rescued something from the game and now must fight back points wise against Steve McClaren's QPR next week in London. We need to win back to back on the road.

Boro 1-1 Blackburn Rovers - Britt

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