Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Johnson on the spot

A second away win in four days sent Boro into second place in the Championship table last night. Adam Johnson claimed both goals in a pulsating encounter at Glanford Park, with Scunthorpe providing a sterner test than Paulo Sousa's Swansea City side.

The Boro line-up was unchanged from Saturday's game at the Liberty Stadium, with Tuncay Sanli again on the bench. As at the weekend, the opening goal was scored by Adam Johnson, although if the goal at Swansea was a shade fortuitous, no such claims could be made last night. Johnson latched onto Gary O'Neil's flighted through ball to lob a stranded Joe Murphy.

The game exploded into life early in the second half in a flurry of yellow cards. The controversy started when Boro were awarded a dubious penalty when Michael O'Connor was adjudged to have fouled Rhys Williams. Johnson's penalty was parried by Murphy but the keeper immediately brought the winger down as he beat him to the loose ball. After sustained protests from the home side, Johnson converted the second spot kick with comfort.

Tempers flared as Paul Hayes and Robert Huth clashed soon after as Scunthorpe piled on the pressure. David Wheater cleared one from the line while Danny Coyne's emerging cult status was boosted by some strong saves.

The result leaves Boro trailing only Cardiff City in the early season table and the only side in the division yet to concede. Saturday's opponents Doncaster Rovers have earned a reputation for progressive, passing football under Sean O'Driscoll. Early indications suggest such an approach should suit Gareth Southgate's side. After two positive performances to banish an apalling run of away form, Boro must now maintain this momentum in front of a Riverside crowd starved of excitement in recent times.

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