Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Goals Galore from Superb First-Half Team Performance

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Goals Galore from Superb First-Half Team Performance

Article excerpt

Byline: ANTHONY VICKERS

SO much for boring Tony Pulis and his goalophobic anti-football.

When Stewart Downing bundled home Boro's third it took the team to the top of the table and took their goal tally to five in just 35 minutes.

Martin Braithwaite's grabbed a lifeline from the wreckage at Millwall on 87 minutes then George Friend salvaged a far-fetched point seven minutes into stoppage time at the Den.

Then in an encouraging and entertaining opening blitz Boro plundered three goals in the first 25 minutes of a rampant Riverside display as the much-maligned team showed they had predatory potential.

The pre-match transfer window angst and was blown away by a swashbuckling Boro display that sliced open the Blades with deft rapier attacks and sharp, incisive movement that was a joy to watch.

Boro banished the dark mutterings about Millwall with a fluid, composed and coherent display and engineered three wellworked and thoroughly deserved goals.

They could have scored after 46 seconds as they carved through the visiting defence. Ryan Shotton launched the first of several marauding runs down the right and crossed in past a static defence and Jonny Howson's shot was blocked on the line by the keeper. That was a sign of things to come.

Boro picked and passed forward with patient possession, pushed confidently deep into the Sheffield half, calmly probing and constantly looking for a killer ball to prise open the defence.

And equally importantly they worked hard to get the ball back when they lost it, hunting in packs to swamp and stifle Sheffield men and then resume the quick and slick attacking.

Shotton was a constant threat down the right, Adam Clayton and Jonny Howson combined well with Lewis Wing in a well-balanced engine room and played raking passes forward and there were some fluid passing patterns - yet for all that finesse the goals came straight out of the Tony Pulis template. …

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