Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

True Grit Saves Day

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

True Grit Saves Day

Article excerpt

Byline: Eric Paylor

Battling Boro rise to the challenge

BORO started strongly, scored the goal their early enterprise warranted, and then made sure there was no way back for the Sky Blues. As Steve McClaren said, it was gritty but not pretty

JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink's ninth goal of the season gave Boro a timely injection of adrenaline at the Riverside Stadium last night.

The Dutch striker showed coolness of head in the current crisis to send Boro on their way to a vital FA Cup victory.

Hasselbaink's 20th-minute strike laid the foundations, and then Boro rolled up their sleeves to grind their way to victory.

It was not one for the purist, but Boro dug deep to hang on to their advantage, and the fans appreciated the grit and determination which came from the team.

Clearly the criticism from all quarters over the past few days has made an impression in the dressing room, and fortunately it produced a positive response.

Boro wasted no time in building the platform, and it was their enterprising start which pleased, and maybe even surprised, the fans.

Yakubu wasted an early chance, but Boro kept pushing forward, with Gaizka Mendieta and Fabio Rochemback involved in most attacks, and were rewarded with the breakthrough goal.

Yakubu prodded a delightful ball into the right-hand channel and Hasselbaink galloped forward, took the ball to the left of Coventry goalkeeper Marton Fulop, and slotted it into an open goal.

Hasselbaink might have had another five minutes later but was denied by a fine parrying save from Fulop.

Boro were so dominant in the opening half hour that Coventry had to wait until the 37th minute for their first shot at goal.

Even then they might have scored, Mark Schwarzer bringing off a crucial reflex save to deny Stern John.

Any hopes that Boro might kick on in the second half quickly disappeared, and in fact they were happier sitting back to defy the Sky Blues. …

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