Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ricketts' Return Not Enough for Boro

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ricketts' Return Not Enough for Boro

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jack Pickering

Michael Ricketts' return to the Reebok Stadium gave his former club an attack of the jitters.

The striker came off the bench at half-time to defy the boo-boys, grab his first Boro goal and almost ruin the survival party.

But any hopes of Boro completing a comeback after their slow start ended when they went down to 10 men 12 minutes from time when Franck Queudrue was dismissed.

It left Boro to pay the price for a cold start in which Bolton scored two in the opening 20 minutes through Per Frandsen and Jay Jay Okocha.

Boro were dreadful in the first half, just as they had been away from home for much of the season, and it was no surprise to see manager Steve McClaren make three changes at the interval and alter his formation.

The kick up the backside worked wonders and with four men running the midfield Boro got back into the game.

When Juninho played in Stuart Parnaby with a delightful ball and the full-back's low cross was rammed home by Ricketts there was every chance Boro could get back into it. For a spell the Reebok was deathly quiet as Doriva and George Boateng suddenly took control and the Bolton defenders began making errors.

But Boro still lacked bite up-front despite better build-up flair and after Bolton had reasserted themselves, it looked all over for Boro when Quedrue committed his second foul on Ivan Campo within three minutes and was red-carded.

In the end, Boro were left to kick themselves for yet another poor start on their travels.

Bolton, needing to win to be certain of staying in the Premiership, started like a house on fire.

Bernard Mendy and Henrik Pedersen both went close in the opening minutes.

But Boro fell behind in 10 minutes when Frandsen robbed Jon Greening inside the Boro half and raced goalwards before slamming home a strong right-foot drive from just outside the box.

Boro struggled to stop Bolton and it was no surprise when the home side grabbed a second on 20 minutes.

Once again, Greening was the culprit after making an unnecessary foul on Okocha just outside the box. …

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