Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Boro Are Starting to Show Serious Class

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Boro Are Starting to Show Serious Class

Article excerpt


INTO the top six Boro go.

We might only be in the second week of the season but it's never too early to take up residence in that area of the table.

The aim now, obviously, is to stay there. And while Boro will face far tougher tests than the side currently sitting rock bottom, Garry Monk will be satisfied with the way his new-look side is taking shape.

He'll also be more than satisfied with the fact his strikers are scoring goals. Gestede on Saturday, Assombalonga here.

Patrick Bamford had one chalked off and Ashley Fletcher had a glorious chance even though he was only on the pitch for seven minutes.

Have we thankfully seen the last of the Boronil at one end? We haven't at the other.

This was the second successive clean sheet. New boss, same drill at the back. Though there was one heart-in-the-mouth moment when Darren Randolph showed two things: A) That he's quick off the mark; B) He's not afraid to shirk a 50-50, steaming through the physically imposing Lucas Akins to ensure an underhit George Friend backpass wasn't punished.

Cyrus Christie, impressive again, also played his part at the back, making a crucial block with the score at 1-0, just moments after Britt Assombalonga had blazed wide when through on goal.

That missed chance may well have been the only time Assombalonga put a foot wrong. Seeing a striker get off the mark at a new club always comes with an air of relief. Just ask Diego Forlan.

But just two games into his Boro career, you knew we wouldn't be waiting long for the former Forest man to get up and running.

A familiar haunt on Saturday wouldn't be a bad place to add to his account.

Win there and Boro could climb into the top two.

Start as you mean to go on, and all that. Here's what we learnt on our first Riverside midweeker of the season.

BAMFORD'S BRILLIANCE The reception was rapturous and rightly so.

Garry Monk knew exactly what he was doing.

With 13 minutes to play and the points in the bag, up went the No.11 on the fourth official's board.

And off went Patrick Bamford to a standing ovation.

He didn't score - well, he did but it was disallowed - but this was a performance packed with sheer class.

Some of the touches and movements and delightfully weighted passes were a joy to watch. And what was most promising was the fact Bamford played with a confident strut.

The 23-year-old has been one of, if not the best performer in the first 10 days of the season.

And when you consider he started the first game on the bench, that's a rather impressive feat.

He knew how important this season was to a career that had stalled. That's why he returned early in the summer, to try to give himself a head start. …

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