Boro New Year New Resolve
By Robert Nichols
Monday 31 Dec 2018 10:14:00
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Middlesbrough ended 2018 with a much needed home victory but we will need one of the performances of the season against Frank Lampard's Derby County on New Year's Day. The 2-0 win against Ipswich gives us some confidence and hope, a platform to build on. Can we possibly provide a shock win in the east Midlands? Kick off 3pm on New Year's Day.

Boro finally got a home win before the old year was out. The 2-0 win over Ipswich was welcomed with a wave of relief. Jordan Hugill's first half penalty took the weight off the shoulders of players and fans alike. It allowed us to play with more freedom and substitute Marcus Tavernier came on to complete a sweeping move with a near post finish past the Ipswich keeper.

Both keepers produced wonderful saves in this match. Darren Randolph showed amazing agility to pounce across his goal and keep out a Trevor Chalobah header zooming in towards the corner. He later stuck out a strong foot to deflect away Sears goalbound finish. Without Randolph's interventions Boro could have been behind once more at home and left chasing the game as we had v Burton and Sheff Wed. In fact it was about a month since we haven't gone behind at home. Thank you Darren.

Ipswich's Dean Gerken pulled out equally brilliant saves to deny Hugill heading home and Lewis Wing firing in to the net. The Ipswich keeper was frustrated not to do better against Tavernier's near post strike for the second and match winning goal.

The penalty awarded for a foul on Jordan Hugill was a precious break through for Boro. Once converted we never looked back, with a little help from Randolph. The combinations between Howson and Wing down the Boro right were a real feature of this game. They became more and more marked as the match progressed. Mo Besic settled, after a ropey first half and his cross field ball to Howson set the second goal move in motion.

Now can Boro step up another level to compete with Derby County away? It is a big ask. Boro fans whooped with delight in the 12th man bar after the last game as Derby came from behind to win away at Norwich. A result that keeps the Canaries pegged back but now we need to face the rampant Rams and on their own turf. As first footings for the New Year they do not come any harder.

Derby demolished us at home but somehow we clung on in there to get a late equaliser and win a point from the jaws of defeat. We are going to need that fighting spirit again and New Year resolution that once more we can live with the very best in the division.

It is 5th place plays 6th. Both Boro and Derby are locked on the same points. We need to make sure they do not bounce past us. This would be a great day to show the old guard of Tony Pulis still can hold its own against the next generation. It will be the final game before we are joined by Huddersfield winger Van La Parra. Then hopefully more in comings to follow. But we need a statement now and if ever there was a team, a time and a place to do then it must be against Derby County on New Year's Day.

The win against Ipswich will have given players and fans alike a little more confidence. Just as the festive season seemed anything but full of festive joy. Can we now dig deep and show some real Teesside steel and resolve and sign post the way we now intend to fight back in 2019?

Come on Boro and Up The Boro

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