Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SIGN OFF IN STYLE; We Want to End This Frustrating Season with a Flourish - Smallwood SIGN OFF in Style - Richie

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SIGN OFF IN STYLE; We Want to End This Frustrating Season with a Flourish - Smallwood SIGN OFF in Style - Richie

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS

RICHARD Smallwood is feeling frustrated that a season of great promise has ended in heartbreak. But the dogged Dormanstown midfielder wants Boro to sign off their home campaign in style on Saturday.

Smallwood believes Boro have been agonisingly close to competing with the top six. And he insists it would not take much to close the gap to launch a beefed-up push for promotion next term.

"It has been very frustrating, especially over recent weeks," said Smallwood, 22, a graduate from Boro's Academy.

"We should've got something at Bolton.

I think it came down to a few moments of luck. I certainly don't think they were any better than us.

"But that has been the case in the last few games. I don't see that some of the teams we've played, Hull and Bolton for example who are both up there, have been way better than us over the 90 minutes or that they can say they've really deserved all three points.

"Even with Cardiff, who are already promoted, it's hard to see them going up because they aren't much better than us.

We showed that in the two games against them. We were on top at their place and only just got squeezed out and we beat them at our place.

"So when you see them win the league you do think that maybe it could have been us.

"But, that said, they have been solid all season and had that consistency you need in this division. Maybe that's what we need to do better next year if we want it to be us."

Boro were beating those sides earlier in the season. Tony Mowbray's high-flying outfit won away at play-off prospects Watford and Brighton and beat Hull, Crystal Palace and Bolton at home, as well as champions elect Cardiff. But during a second-half slump since the turn of the year that trend has been reversed with home defeats to Watford and Brighton and awayday defeats at Palace, Hull and Bolton that punctured Boro's play-off pretentions. …

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