Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Counting Cost of Late Lapses; More Woe for Boro Boss as Victory Slips from Grasp

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Counting Cost of Late Lapses; More Woe for Boro Boss as Victory Slips from Grasp

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Leslie

Middlesbrough 1 Preston 1 DEFENSIVE frailties late on left Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray cursing his luck again after Preston snatched a point at the Riverside.

Skipper Matthew Bates looked to have given them a much-needed win which would have accelerated their climb away from the relegation zone, only for the Teessiders' back four to fall asleep in the dying moments once more as Billy Jones headed in two minutes from time.

It was a bitter pill for Mowbray to swallow. Preston's leveller was the latest in a long line of late goals conceded by Boro this season, but the visitors should never have had the chance to come back given Leroy Lita's glaring miss from closerange with 10 minutes left.

Mowbray said: "The frailties of what we've talked about these last seven or eight weeks are still there to see and you saw those with Preston getting their equaliser very late on.

"When teams do start throwing their centre-halves up front, your midfielders - being honest guys - will track back into the box to mark them which might give the appearance of us defending deep late on.

"But when you have a situation with 10 minutes to go with Taylor putting the ball into the box and all Lita has to do is stick it in the net, then no matter how many men the opposition throw into the box it is irrelevant as that's the game dead and buried at 2-0. "But he didn't and they took a chance and got themselves a point at the end. You have to get that second goal.

"The irony is that I thought our performance today was more dominant than at Bristol City, yet there we scored four but only get one here."

Despite the late drama, the match as a whole was a turgid affair which left those who attended wondering if they should make a complaint to Trading Standards such was the pub-team level it had descended to.

There were only two incidents in the first half worthy of note. The first was referee Mike Russell denying Leroy Lita a clear-cut penalty on 32 minutes after Leon Cort had sent him crashing to the ground.

Secondly, Lita himself should have scored not long after when, after Andy Lonergan had saved Gary O'Neil's longrange effort, the Boro striker could only hit the rebound straight back at the Preston keeper. …

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