Saturday, 24 October 2009

Boro throw away win again

Boro's old failings showed up again as an equaliser deep into stoppage time earned Preston an undeserved draw at Deepdale this afternoon. Boro twice took the lead but failed to defend a free kick, allowing Billy Jones to glance an equaliser past a static Brad Jones.

Under the temporary management of Colin Cooper, Boro made one change with Marvin Emnes replacing the injured Jeremie Aliadiere. Boro dominated the first half and finally made their superiority count just before half time when Gary O'Neil's free kick somehow evaded the grasp of Andy Lonergan. Boro should have doubled the lead before the break but Adam Johnson shot wide with the Preston defence exposed.

North End equalised on the hour when a cross from the left caused panic in the Boro defence. Brad Jones managed one block but couldn't prevent Paul Parry from equalising. Parity didn't last long however after Adam Johnson took possession from Leroy Lita, darted into the area and drove superbly inside Lonergan's far post.

Boro looked comfortable in the lead and could have gone 3-1 up when Rhys Williams smashed a shot against the post. But having failed to put the game to bed, Boro were punished at the death when the defence failed to deal with a Preston free kick.

Boro remain 4th, three points behind new leaders Newcastle, and maintain their poor record for beating sides in the top half of the table, one of the factors cited by Steve Gibson for his decision to sack Gareth Southgate. Gordon Strachan is expected to be appointed as Southgate's full time replacement on Monday. On today's evidence, there may be cause for cautious optimism but there's still plenty for Strachan to work on.

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