Paddy Penalty Pointer at Forest
By Robert Nichols
Wednesday 11 Dec 2019 11:42:00
Browse all Match Reviews articles

Injury ravaged Boro bounced back with a penalty to win a precious point away at Nottingham Forest last night. When an unmarked Ryan Yates headed past Pears mid way through the second half it looked as if all the hard work had been for nothing. Yet an inspired substitution of Marvin Johnson got behind the home defence and was chopped from behind. Paddy McNair calmly dispatched the penalty and it was honours even. A late equaliser and a great result that could look better and better for Boro over the coming weeks.

Boro continued the recovery from Leeds by battling to a point. It was a draw that was fought for on a ground where we are traditionally even less successful than Elland Road. And this from a team still to win away from the Riverside this season. In fact we hardly ever bring anything back from the Trent other than a battered and bruised reputation. But that was not the case last night.

The match started in horrible wintry conditions, rain or sleet lashing down. Miserable. The Boro fans all deserved medals for carving a way through the weather to the four floodlights. There was yet more miserable news awaiting us, Britt Assombalonga would not be starting at the home of his previous club, obviously the scan was not good news. Just how damaging will that awful foul by Pratley be to our survival hopes?

Woodgate brought back McNair and bolstered his midfield. Tav could buzz around and support the one man upfront Fletcher and wing backs Coulson and Spence speed forward. When they weren't forced back in defence, which for Spence at any rate was his default position for much of the first hour as the home team tried to double up or treble up to hammer their way down their left flank.

Boro had to soak up plenty of Forest pressure but for all the attacking play they created precious few chances. The best opening of the half saw the ball slide right across the goal but there was no one close enough to add a final touch.

Boro were a threat on the break with the pace of Spence and Coulson down the flanks along with the tireless work ethic of Fletcher and Tav. Our best moment came when Coulson attacked and beat his defenders before whipping over a great centre, Fletcher headed goalwards but it proved a simple catch for the Forest keeper.

Spence was booked for an aggressive challenge, which looked fair but it was strong. The Forest centre back should have joined him the book after rugby tackling and hauling down Fletcher on the half way line.

All in all Boro fans were happy with the half time situation. We seemed to be coping well with the home threat and would have all settled for 0-0 at the end of the 90+.

Forest stepped up after the break. Pears made a really good save down to his right to thwart Ameobi. Then Yates struck a shot into the ground that struck the top of the cross bar. Boro redoubled the effort and clung on.

Mid way through the second period a weak header didn't really clear the ball out of our defence. It was returned with interest, whipped in from the right, and Yates stole in to get in front of his marker and headed home an unstoppable effort past Pears. Sickening. For all the organisation and stout defending we had been undone. On an evening where neither side had really looked like scoring we suddenly needed to find a response.

The replacement of Spence for Marvin Johnson was highly significant. Soon joined by Walker for Clayton, Boro started to press on towards the away fans. Yet we still weren't forcing their keeper into any real saves. All too often shots were blocked or struck over the top.

Then came that turning point as Paddy McNair picked out Marvin Johnson running beyond the Forest defence who whipped away his legs, in the box. Clear penalty.

No Britt. Step up Paddy McNair. Drawing on his Northern Ireland experience. And you had to think this could be such an important spot kick in the context of the whole season. Absolutely emphatic. Get in. 1-1. E-I-O E-I-O in the away end.

Now the job was to hold on to that point for dear life. Actually McNair had an opportunity to make it 2-1 but he shot over. Boro were continuing to give as good as they got with Walker working hard alongside Fletcher.

Injury time, 4 minutes added on and Daniel Ayala handled to the right of the box. A last big chance for Nottingham Forest. We held our breath but were so relieved to see the ball sail harmlessly into Aynsley Pears's hands.

Final score 1-1 and a great point taken. The entire Boro team, subs and coaching staff came down to celebrate with the Boro fans. Lots of cheers for Jonathan Woodgate applauding every one of us for making the trip. Then our Leo moment, hand pump, together sign, bang the heart and badge. Love it. Job done.

Thoroughly enjoyable evening and nature relented as the rain tap had dried up to give us a clear drive home. Always good to take a point at the Tricky Trees, now roll on Swansea on Saturday. Lets keep the four point buffer to the bottom three and continue this fight back.

Jonathan Woodgate's red and white arm-eeee!!

Nottingham Forest 1-1 Middlesbrough – Paddy McNair penalty.

Woodgate Boro

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