Storm Damage
By Robert Nichols
Sunday 16 Dec 2018 12:10:00
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Boro crashed to a damaging defeat at QPR on stormy Saturday. As the icy rain lashed down Boro were increasingly reduced to lumping the ball forward in the hope of getting a lucky break equaliser. We paid the penalty for a really slow start at the back but were given a ticket back into the game from George Saville's crashing volley. Just as it seemed we might step up and take all 3 points Rangers took us apart one more time. Too slick for us in the wintry conditions, Boro have now gone four games without a win and are falling like a very heavy thing.

It was a reunion between Boro and our most successful ever boss and Steve McClaren it was that came out on top. Boro lacked creativity throughout and looked second best pace wise at both ends of the pitch. In saying that time again we opted to play the long ball without feeding it to either, an often frustrated, Downing or his replacement Tavernier (or Wing). They were probably the only players with the ability to open up a powerful, robust home defence. There were periods in the game where it was attack and defence but Boro just pounded the ball into the wind. Sometimes aimlessly.

It has to be said the referee was alarmingly one-sided with decision making when it came to Britt Assombalonga especially. Along with fellow forward Jordan Hugill, Britt was battered and bruised but barely got a favourable decision all day.

Yet there was no argument about Rangers opener. They had already fired a warning shot across the box from one wing but when they did it from their left there was a home player on hand to tap home.

That was right down in front of the big, noisy Boro end and crossing the goal line that is difficult to see for many in the stand. Our vision was soon further reduced by driving, icy rain on a trult freezing day in west London.

Boro then pounded the QPR lines but only really made any progress in their box when Downing or Howson took charge of the ball. Hugill was a threat and Britt tried and tried again but we struggled to make clear cut openings. Rangers defence stood tall and very firm and were uncompromising throughout.

Saville's volley blast from a corner showed superb technique and should have signalled a real revival for both him and the team. Boro had Rangers on the back foot for several minutes. The home team scampering to foul and block set pieces.

Then they broke at speed twice. The second time we left a free man in the box and he pulled the trigger and that was that.

Ashley Fletcher was brought on after Tav and Lewis Wing but there was a real lack of subtlety in our increasing desperation. Boro worked themselves into the ground but could not find the class or cutting edge to open up QPR again.

Christmas could well be cancelled on Teesside as Boro are failing and falling fast. What can Tony Pulis do to reverse the slide? We need to drop the anchors down now, we cannot just rely on Transfer Window miracles. It could be too late and there might be too much to do by then.

QPR 2-1 Middlesbrough – Boro scorer George Saville



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