May 1, 2016 by Made In Brum
By Harrison Taylor
Middlesbrough are arguably the best team in the division and they came to St Andrew’ss during Blues’ worst form of the season. One win in 10 for the home side made this game, against promotion hopefuls Boro, a very tough one indeed.
The last home game of the season took a while to get started. Although Boro piled men forward in the early stages, Blues’ cagey play counteracted that.
From the 20 minute mark onwards, Rowetts men gave the away team no time on the ball. This mixed with some tough play from the midfield lead to a goal for the Blues on 31 minutes. Grounds’ cross from the left hand side was headed out. The ball fell to Gleeson, who hit it from 25 yards, hit shot far too powerful for Boro ‘keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos.
It took less than 10 minutes for the visitors to find an equaliser. A Gaston Ramirez free kick was spilled by Legzdins. The loose ball scrambled in by notorious goal poacher Jordan Rhodes. Unfortunate for the keeper in front of the Sky cameras.
Despite the blunder, Blues went into half time happy. However, this was not to last long after Middlesbrough took the lead in the 57th minute. Gaston Ramirez, who had been a constant threat throughout the first half, headed in from no more than a yard. After Albert Adomah’s superb deep delivery was headed across the box from Rhodes. A very simple goal for the away team.
Blues were in no way disheartened after the goal. They looked the most likely to score for the next 10 minutes and eventually found an equaliser. Paul Caddis whipped a decent ball into the box with his left foot. His cross headed away by Ayala. The loose ball was hit superbly on the half volley by David Davis, who grabbed his first ever goal at St Andrew’s.
What would a crucial game be without controversy. Daniel Ayala, who had been very impressive all game thought he found a crucial goal seconds after the home team equalised. The 5000 away fans’ celebration cut short after he linesman wrongly ruled Ayala offside.
Blues created multiple chances after that. Cotterill whipped in a superb ball into the box. The cross was perfect for Davis at the back post before Diego Fabbrini intercepted and headed over from 5 yards. Golden chance wasted.
Keiftenbeld, who had been a workhorse in the middle of the park also came close. Cotterill lead a counter attack and shot from outside of the box. His shot parried into the path of of the Dutchman who couldn’t get there ahead of Ayala.
Overall, the last home game of the season was eventful to say the least. A full bodied performance from the Blues team prevented Middlesbrough making significant progress in the title race. 4,900 Boro fans were sent on a 4 hour journey home with only a point. Blues were fantastic at the back and there is no doubt it was deserved point against a very, very strong Middlesbrough team.
At the final whistle, Rowett described the performance as “excellent” and believed his men would “go onto win it” after the equaliser. Paul Robinson described the result as “A great point.” he also went on to admit that the players are “very disappointed” that the season has fizzled out. After having such a strong position earlier in the campaign.
Legzdins 6, Caddis 7, Morrison 7, Shotton 7, Ground 7, Gleeson 6, Keiftenbeld 7, Cotterill 7, Fabbrini 7, Davis 8, Donaldson 6.
MOTM – Davis, solid in everything he did, his performance capped off with a fantastic goal.
Referee – Simon Hooper 6.