Given the fact I don’t live remotely near Middlesbrough opportunities to go to home games are few and far between. But I journeyed up from Leicester to The Riverside Stadium to see Karanka’s plucky men take on a rejuvenated West Ham – one without star man Dimitri Payet. I also got given a free programme (I didn’t steal it) which turned out to be a highlight.
The first 20 minutes were not too kind to Boro who quite frankly looked League One standard at times. Passes were going astray, nothing was coming off up front and West Ham scoring was unsurprising. The Hammers went 1-0 up through an Andy Carroll header, from a corner, after 8 minutes. This was uncharacteristically poor defending from Boro whose one strength is defending.
Middlesbrough finally sprung into life following a Stuani goal in the 27th minute. Finally we actually played some decent football until disaster! Just before half time Andy Carroll scores again! Carroll was fantastic this game, lethal in front of goal and pretty much headed away every corner Boro had.
The second half was better from Middlesbrough but not good enough. We certainly attacked a lot more and had some excellent opportunities but couldn’t quite find that winning goal. Karanka again left the substitutions far too late. West Ham’s 3rd goal flattered them a tad and resulted from Boro getting everyone forward in the closing minutes of the game.Perhaps what interested me most was Karanka’s comments after the game. He said: ‘The atmosphere was awful. They demanded too much. Thousands asking for long balls.’
Personally I’m not having that. It’s true fans we’re asking for more attacking intent but if we can’t have a go at home then should we just not expect any attacks? Aitor’s comments seem more born out of frustration than genuine contempt for the fans.
Regardless this was a poor loss for Boro but hopefully the FA Cup 4th Round Tie against Accrington Stanley will offer some respite. In the mean time perhaps a follow on Twitter @cameroneyles and a visit to the One Game at a Time homepage HERE would be great.