Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defensive Lapses Costly as Boro Hopes Are Over

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Defensive Lapses Costly as Boro Hopes Are Over

Article excerpt

READING 2 MIDDLESBROUGH 0 BORO slumped to a second successive defeat after a defensive horror show at Reading. The 2-0 defeat brutally quashed any outside hopes Boro had of squeezing into the play-offs, while nudging Reading up to sixth as their own promotion push regained momentum after a slip.

On this shambolic showing Boro are well short of the top six.

A chaotic backline gifted the Royals an early opener as a mix-up let in Adam Le Fondre to bundle home after just nine minutes.

Then, soon after, George Friend headed a second into his own net.

In a disorganised display, lacking cohesion or spirit, Aitor Karanka's side unravelled and they were lucky to escape severe punishment after a string of blunders at the back Reading took advantage of a mixup in the Boro box to take the lead after only nine minutes.

Left-back Obita over-lapped to the corner flag and whipped what looked a routine cross to the near post.

As Konstantopoulos came to collect, Kenneth Omeruo popped up to head the ball high and, when it dropped to the back stick, McCleary knocked it down for Le Fondre to bundle home past the keeper.

Boro had a chance to pull one back quickly on 11 minutes as Williams skipped over a challenge and slotted to the edge of the box where Danny Graham sent a shot flashing wide.

But Reading grabbed a crucial second to an own goal on 14 minutes. Obita curled a free-kick in from wide on the right into a crowded box and Friend climbed highest, but he didn't get a clean contact and his header squirted in past Konstantopoulos.

Boro tried to regroup and had a chance on 18 minutes as a goalbound snapshot from Albert Adomah was deflected over. Then they won a series of corners that were easily cleared.

Boro's shaky defence was almost breached again on 31 minutes as a harmless diagonal ball was played forward and both Omeruo and Friend left it. As they dithered McCleary nipped in to collect and weave to the edge of the box then lay it back for Le Fondre to crack in a shot that sent Konstantopoulos diving to block.

Then from a Obita corner on 34 minutes the defence stood rooted as Pearce nodded it back across for Morrison to head just over unchallenged from close range. …

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