Luton vs Middlesbrough Ups and Downs
By Mathew Fish
Tuesday 06 Aug 2019 14:33:00
Browse all Boro Views articles


It was an incredible start to the new season with that 3-3 draw away at Luton. But with so many goals, and thrills and spills at both ends there were a lot of mixed messages. Should we take more positives from the game or be down about the goals shipped and that penalty miss. Mathew Fish delves into his match notes as he weighs up the pluses and minuses to see which side the scales are tipping for him.

Do you agree with his assessment?


Backing of Woodgate
The sheer support of Woodgate prior to kick off was extremely vocal and very refreshing. For several minutes his name was chanted, to the extent where I thought it wasn’t going to end. Looking deeper into this, the appointment of Woodgate wasn’t fully appreciated from every quarter, but with his interviews and clear passion for the club I think he now has 100% backing from the fans.

Coulson’s attacking threat
Coulson had a good showing throughout pre-season and it was very pleasing to see this was rewarded with a start, no doubt doing his confidence the world of good. Attacking wise he was very strong with multiple balls played into dangerous areas of the box. I liked the variation in the ball in and he also showed great desire to reach the slightly longer pass to win the penalty.

Marvin Johnson
The attacking threat he provided prominently down the right wing was refreshing to see. He carried the ball forward many times and looked a different player. Crosses into the box were generally good and into threatening positions.

Ashley Fletcher
His re-emergence at the end of last season, along with a full pre-season and backing from a new manager gives the feeling of a born-again player in the Championship for Middlesbrough. Linked up the play well delighted to see him get on the score-sheet.

Pressing in opposition half
The prime example of pressing in the opposition half resulted in a goal (albeit fortunate). McNair was strong with his pressing along with Wing and Clayton. Coulson chipped in with some pressing at times along with other players. Overall it resulted in an attacking outlook and helped us to be on the front foot for large portions of the game.

Other mentions
Randolph’s save at the end of the game.
Wing’s shoot on sight policy.
Marcus Browne’s trickery.
Howson’s transition into right back.


Shotton’s distribution
This was particularly highlighted in the first half. There were 2-3 occasions when he distributed passes too long and out for a throw or just not with enough quality and left a team mate in a difficult position. There’s an argument that he was ‘filling in’ at left centre half but distribution is an area that can and should be improved on regardless of position on the pitch.

Pressing in our own half
There were a lot of instances where the pressing was over exuberant and left us in some tricky defensive positions. This was highlighted more in our own half, with Luton players seeming to be aware of the oncoming press, taking the ball to the side and drawing in a clear foul, giving them a set-piece to put into our box.

Penalty Miss
Firstly, this is not a down directed at Assombalonga, but more so the act of a missed penalty, regardless of taker. Converting the penalty more than likely results in a great away win. I felt as though it wasn’t immediately clear who out penalty taker is. In the past we were fortunate to have a very competent taker in Leadbitter. Now I feel like we need a clear designated taker, which could still be Assombalonga.

Other mentions
Coulson's defensive positioning. (Although McManaman had a directive to stay forward and not get back)
Defending for the 3rd Luton goal.


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