Boro Escape With Point At Brentford
By Rob Nichols
Sunday 18 Mar 2018 00:36:00
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Boro escaped with a point away at Brentford. Despite taking the lead through Adama Traore's powerful run and shot Boro were pressed back for most of the game. Brentford's first half equaliser was the very least the home side deserved. Even though The Bees ended with 10 men there was a strong feeling around the away end that Boro got out of gaol with a share of the points at1-1.
It was freezing cold with snow swirling around as Boro fans arrived at quaint old Griffin Park. It felt far colder to me on that terrace than in the Beast of the East game v Leeds. Conditions out on the pitch did not look much better than atrocious, with a wind so strong that it even nullified Shotton's long throw in.

Yet the home team seemed to cope much better. In the first period with the wind at their backs Brentford kept us penned back in our box. Every time we cleared the ball came straight back in, Boro struggled to get any respite from The Bees constant harassing. Bamford was largely chasing lost causes until half time.
The Boro goal came from an explosive break away. Stewart Downing blasted away down the left wing. Traore took over, running infield at pace and then pulling the trigger to smack the ball home into the corner of the net.

Traore had a couple more chances to add a second and third but couldn't find the same composure again in the final third. Bamford had one effort blocked in the box to stop him scoring in six consecutive games. Bernie can breathe again.
Even though Boro were defending too deep, you would expect us to hang on, we usually do. Daniel Ayala was passed fit to play and played a leading part in our defence. But we were under a bit of a siege when Brentford scored. One shot was blocked but we couldn't get the ball out of harm's way. Randolph was probably unsighted as it was zapped home past him just inside the post.
Half time brought some respite and Boro had more joy after the break playing with the wind. Yet Brentford still forced us back and Clayton and the defence were living on their nerves with plenty of desperate blocks and last ditch tackles.
Ayala eventually gave in to his injury and had to be subbed by Dael Fry. Howson had gone down in their box but it would have been a harsh pen. He was replaced by Leadbitter to give us more steel. Besic, booked and maybe struggling to complete the game after his recent injury was later taken off for Britt Assombalonga.

Somehow the referee found 5 minutes to add on to a match that had hardly seen a trainer on the pitch or any time wasting. He made up for it as he failed to add any extra on for the injury time dismissal for a second bookable offence on Traore. But then again that was probably all right by us as even down to 10 men Brentford continued to offer the same threat level as Boro.

All in all we did well to smuggle a point out of that and it was in no small measure due to a strong and commanding display from Randolph behind a disciplined back line.
It is going to be nip and tuck with each round of fixtures between now and the end of the season. Although we went into the Brentford game brimming with confidence we are realistically not going to win every home game.
Brentford 1-1 Middlesbrough – scorer Traore.

Postscript: If you were at the match in London, I don't know whether you were like me in gazing up at the heavens and wondering just what was in store in the journey north. It wasn't very clever as it turned out. Driving at 30mph around Ferrybridge was probably the lowlight and to be welcomed to Teesside skating across freshly settled snow, so freshly settled it hadn't been treated at all was the sting in the tail. The toughest away journey of the season or for many a season I think. Roll on the spring and may it offer better things weather wise and Boro-wise for all our fans.



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