Boro Comeback Shock's Stoke
By Robert Nichols
Saturday 21 Dec 2019 19:32:00
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Boro came back from a goal down to defeat Stoke City in a bottom of the table six pointer at the Riverside on Friday night. It was one way traffic with the visitors in the driving seat through most of the first hour of the game. Rather than sink us with their goal Boro brought on the subs and made a tactical switch to sink the Potters with two superb goals.

Lewis Wing smashed the ball into the corner of the net following a smart turn and run by a rampant Tav. That sealed the deal after full back Jonny Howson slotted a ball over the top that picked out Fletcher advancing into space who finished from a few yards out. Both were efforts that not even the superb Jack Butland could save. As for all their first half possession and pressure it was Boro and Fletcher that had the stand out chance and only a wonderful full length save diverted his shot just wide of the post. In the second period also Butland made another wonderful reaction stop on the line the ball only just evading Boro players.

Aynsley Pears wasn't quite so lucky when Stoke's throughball of the match carved us open, Stoke ramraided down their left, whipped in a centre, and Pears junior was off his line in seconds to make the kind of block Pears senior might have been proud of. Unluckily for Aynsley Pears and Boro the ball broke kindly to Stoke who for just about the only time all night had an extra man running into the box to shoot past the keeper and score.

The double subs of Wing and Gestede for Clayton and Walker changed the course of the game as we added extra legs and vision to the midfield and a targetman that could put himself about upfield. It was unfortunate that Stephen Walker had limited opportunity to show his potential on his full debut. The midfield badly missed the outlet from the driving runs of the suspended Paddy McNair. Talking of driving runs the young wing backs Djed Spence and Hayden Coulson played themselves into the ground rampaging down the flanks and cutting Stoke open time and again. But it was old hand Howson who spotted the run of the always willing and mobile Ashley Fletcher for the equalising goal.

That goal brought us level again and gave the platform for the substitutions to then take the game by the scruff of the neck. Before that Stoke had dominated the centre of the park with Joe Allen very much to the fore. But Boro defended well with Daniel Ayala in particular batting everything away thrown into the box and Fry and Howson backing him up.

It was an emotional night for Boro's inspirational coach Leo Percovich who signalled to the fans for their first half light show in remembrance of the terrible accident from last year. After the match Leo raced around to each stand to display the message Always Together and Thank You to the fans for the support given. “One of our own,” was the first half chant for adopted T-T-Teessider, Leo.

That is three successive home wins and the kind of form that takes you out of trouble. Now lets get a massive crowd in on Boxing Day and tame the Terriers and keep this home run going. We can continue to put distance between ourselves Stoke, Wigan and Luton and even though Barnsley are reviving we can drag Charlton into the mire and anyone else that should start to fade away.

Come on down on Boxing Day and enjoy Christmas with the Boro.

Middlesbrough 2-1 Stoke City – Fletcher, Wing

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