Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Wigan 1 Boro 2 Macca-Nificent

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Wigan 1 Boro 2 Macca-Nificent

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Italian ace Massimo Maccarone wasted no time in hitting the goals trail as bubbling Boro returned full of smiles along the road to Wigan Pier last night.

Maccarone's deft touch and a first Boro goal for Gaizka Mendieta fully justified Steve McClaren's belief that the goals would come again.

The double strike ensured that the threat from Premiership hopefuls Wigan Athletic was always held in check, and gave a Carling Cup of delight to the Boro.

Egged on by a terrific vocal following of 1,700 fans, Boro's revamped line-up, which started with a diamond formation, worked tirelessly for this important win.

The foundation was a superb defensive effort in which none did better than Chris Riggott.

The young central defender recovered from a uncertain start to gain in confidence, controlling the airways and making crucial tackles.

He was given excellent support from Gareth Southgate, while Mark Schwarzer displayed another safe pair of hands and the team, as a unit, battled and scrapped their way through the 90 minutes.

It wasn't always plain sailing. Cupties rarely are. But Boro survived a couple of goalmouth scares and deserved to make progress in the competition.

They were never stronger than in the final 15 minutes when, after giving away a needless goal which halved their lead, they tightened up and denied Wigan the opportunity to create further openings.

McClaren made six changes and had asked for the players who came in to give him selection problems against Wolves on Saturday, and the new men could not have answered his call any better.

Maccarone got through plenty of positive work up front and looks a certainty to start against Wolves.

His striking partner Michael Ricketts, who was replaced before the hour mark, might not find it so easy. …

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