Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Southampton 0 Boro 1 Boro Steps on the Gas

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Southampton 0 Boro 1 Boro Steps on the Gas

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Three wins, three clean sheets and a giant step up the Premiership table have suddenly sparked the Boro's season to life.

Malcolm Christie was again the goal hero at St Mary's, scoring his second goal in four days with a stunning strike.

The former Derby striker fully deserved to grab what proved the winner. He never stopped running and working for the team, even though he did not see the ball for long spells.

His goal was all that Boro needed to dig deep, work hard for each other, and defend as a team to record their first away win of the season.

None did better than the irrepressible Colin Cooper, given added responsibility following the absence of Gareth Southgate.

The 36-year-old defender, unperturbed by the dual threat of James Beattie and Kevin Phillips, was a tower at the back.

And the fact that Southampton's players were totally frustrated by their lack of progress was summed up in the last minute when Phillips was red carded for needlessly kicking Franck Queudrue.

And there would be few Boro fans leaving the South Coast on Saturday night still wishing that Boro had signed Phillips during the summer, because he was completely played out of the game.

With Chris Riggott proving the perfect lieutenant for General Cooper, Boro made the Saints look like a team of journeymen.

Their only real problems came down the right flank, from where the lively winger Fabrice Fernandes hoisted lots of high balls into the Boro goalmouth.

But, if the match was continuing now, Cooper and Riggott would still be heading the crosses away.

The massive injection of confidence which the whole team has gained in a week is remarkable, and it is based on the new found solidity which shone through initially against Everton.

Early goals count for a great deal, but then the 4-4-2 formation has proved its worth. …

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