Tranny Time Late Extra Shocker
By Robert Nichols
Monday 28 Jan 2019 11:59:00
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Boro fans could not believe their eyes on Saturday when Newport County equalised in the final moments of injury time. We now await news of when the replay will be played down in South Wales. It will need a big, big effort not to be added to the list of Leicester and Leeds, teams falling in the shadow of the Gwent Transporter.

Thanks to an injury time finish from former Boro youth Matty Dolan, there will be a 270 mile trek midweek next week to the giant killing ground of Rodney Parade. That means an emotional return to his home-town for manager Tony Pulis as the Transporter Derby will need a second instalment to be played out. We are still in the FA Cup draw tonight but it will need a far better performance to ensure we actually get to play that 5th round tie in mid February.

There was a decent turn out of 15 000 for the Battle of the Transporter towns. Loads of amber and black scarves and hats were in evidence on a day that got colder and grimmer the closer it came to kick off. Boro fielded a strong side. It was a chance for Ryan Shotton and Aden Flint to step up their first team comeback trail and the scene as all set for the debut of new signing John Obi Mikel. Mikel looked fit and operating just ahead of the defence he had the experience and ability to motor around circulating the ball without the need to get out of low gears. The test will come when he must adjust to the hurly burly of the Championship, which is surely a world away in every aspect from China.

It was a much better first half than against Peterborough. A far more interesting contest with plenty of good flowing football from Boro and a tremendous amount of effort and indeed endeavour from the visitors.

Britt Assombalonga went close as he opted to shoot on sight. Lewis Wing showed bags of vision and aptitude. Stewart Downing underlined why we need to secure his contact so he can start in the League as well as Cup as he sprayed the ball around and scouted for openings.

Talking of openings the first goal did not come until a second half corner with Daniel Ayala heading home. World BDO Darts Champion, Glen Duzza Durrant had hoisted his trophy aloft at half time and called for Boro goals in the second half, Ayala duly obliged. Yet there was to be no repeat of Posh punishment and no goals landslide to follow. All credit to plucky Newport.

Despite lots of good play we could not find the cutting edge to add that killer second goal. That would prove crucial as we had to remove players, Shotton and Mikel with their longterm fitness in mind.

It was disappointing not to see Van La Parra get some time on the pitch but perhaps even more disappointimg to hear some people boo Adam Clayton, a player that has embodied the Boro fighting spirit for many years now. He never hides opponents or the Boro fans win, lose or draw.

We were gradually winding back and maybe all had our eyes on the draw, especially when Newport tricky sub blazed over from 5 yards. Surely that was their last big chance. But then Randolph was called to gather as Newport players opted to repeat the same move coming inside and lofting the ball to the back stick, now without Shotton's presence.

There was a nice moment for Matty Dolan, former Boro youth and Hartlepool player to get minutes on the Riverside turf but all such thoughts were banished when 4 minutes into 4 minutes added on he pounced to prod home past Randolph and Friend. A real sickener.

Now Boro must let that injury time blow sink in but come out fighting in Wales. We are still in the cup. The League might be the priority but winning a very tricky away replay will definitely give us the spirit and confidence to take on into the final months of the Championship. We just need to know when our date with destiny will be and we will be there to battle it out beneath the other Transporter and kick on from there. We have lost too many times in cup games to Welsh soil over the years. But we did win our one big trophy there.

Time to rise to the ocassion. Time for real action from Boro now and strat to put teams to the sword. Yes this battle was drawn but now we must win the war.

Middlesbrough 1-1 Newport County – Boro scorer Ayala, Dolan equaliser 94 mins.

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