Middlesbrough 1- Ipswich 3.

The first competitive game is always difficult, players are still trying to reach full fitness and getting to know new team mates.

Today turned out to be tougher than anyone anticipated.

Ipswich totally dominated an dictated the pace of the game from start to finish. The passing was slick and accurate and they adopted a shoot on sight policy.

But for goalkeeper Danny Coyne’s heroics, we could have lost the game by a greater margin.

I said before the game that I was not convinced about Bates and Hoyte as full backs.

Hoyte on the right was poor and was eventually replaced.

Bates worked hard, but came inside on every opportunity, neglecting the left side.

On the subject of the left, I find it astonishing that Strachan opted to start with two right footed players on the left, with Flood in front of Bates, when you have got three naturally left footed players on the bench in Grounds, Arca and Kink.

I was looking forward to seeing Thomson, Boyd and Bailey in a Boro shirt, all three on the day disappointed.

I have always said that the game of football is a simple game, played with simple people, complicated by fools.

With the score 2-1 Gordon Strachan decided to take off the ineffective Justin Hoyte in the 59 min, on came Tarmo Kink who went to left wing, Arca moved to left back and Bates ended up at right back.

If the tactical changes were meant to give us a spark, they failed miserably.

The most worrying thing I witnessed, was a distinct lack of pace between midfield and attack.

We seemed to amble forward, Ipswich Town looked explosive.

Only one effort on target, which produced the goal scored by McDonald is simply not good enough.

We got what we deserved.

15 Responses to “Middlesbrough 1- Ipswich 3.”

  1. Al Glasgow says:


    and to make matters worse it cost me a 204 quid accumulator too!! a double whammy

  2. redcarp says:

    best wishes to willo flood, he looked commited and sharp before his injury, he will be missed

    coyne kept us in it, few of the shots he know nothing abt and in right place at right time and other couple of top saves

    i thought bates did well, for all his injuries he still shows bottle and likes a tackle and played left and right side, he is obvioduly doing a job for his team as his manager not happy with his left sided options

    for me strachan bottled a big decision, and that was to drag arca when kink came on. arca was poor since he came on,and subbing the sub is not nice but i thought he should have been dragged
    and keeping arca on and finding him a new position resulted in other players moving around

    the two centre halves had patchy starts as did hoyte…one of the best players on the pitch was their kennedy at full back, experienced man knows the game and did his stuff well

    i hadnt seen thomson and bailey before but thought they did ok, as mentioned above they did better in the first half. robson is always going to come inside on his left so maybe that is something to think abt, maybe strachan trying to accomodate all his new men today so maybe the positions will change as we get into the season……a nasty michael brown would be a nice addition in my eyes, another experienced man with good engine although pace is a factor in our middle at the moment

    and upfront boyd go no service whatsoever. it didnt matter who was up there today the sevice was p*** poor at best. he did the odd run in the channel but thats not where we want him. keep him central and get him some quality service…….and he will get us a bag full
    macdonald tried hard but made a few wrong choices, trying bit too hard sometimes……….still think james beattie would get us up, saying that he wouldnt have scored today

    all in all a bad start but still feel we got more to come, also thought there would be more there today but its an expensive trip to see the boro and most other teams….I only went on a free ticket at the last minute

    we spend our hard earned cash mainly on away days and select home games

    a hickup today, and maybe a kick up the backside for strachan and co but long way to go

    Positive thinking, the glass is half full

    Up the boro

  3. bernieslaven says:

    Hi Redcarp-

    I agree with a lot you have said, a straight swap taking off Arca and putting on Kink would have been more beneficial instead of moving Arca and Bates to accommodate the substitute.

    Up front we could have played Drogba and Rooney and neither would have got a kick due to the lack of service.

    Regarding the crowd, i thought there would have been at least 25/26,000, after our summer spending spree.

    All in all it was a poor game from our point of view.

    I played many opening games of a season and its not always gone to plan, but i can never recall the team being booed off.

  4. bernieslaven says:

    Hi AL-

    Sorry to hear about the £204 loss, you should know better than to put your money on Boro.

  5. PeterSwallow says:

    All my fears came true. I said the strikers would good enough but we would not get the ball to them enough 1 shot 1 goal proves that right, the midfield lacks pace and creativity, plus it has too many left footers, all 4 were left footed at the end of the game. We will not score many.

    I thought we would be strong down the middle with Thomson sat in front of Wheater and McManus, but weak down the wings, I didnt realise this would be exposed in the first game though. We will concede a fair few.

    The problems are that this is not easily changed, we do not had a plan B. Its plain to see this team/tactics wont work but we cant change anything. Kilgallon will slightly strengthen us at left back, thats it.
    We need 2 wingers and a right back to even consider promotion

  6. PeterSwallow says:

    Oh and despite all the PR in the summer going to La Manga, the team looked very unfit, they were off the pace, and 2nd to everything

  7. Smoggie Phil says:

    I went back on Saturday Bernie full of optimism after the transfers through the summer and I have to say I left deflated and dissapointed at the way the team tamely folded after Ipswich drew level.
    I thought the first 30 minutes or so were very even despite the fact we scored and then the 15 minutes leading upto halftime Ipswich struck the crossbar and looked to controling the game so I was glad for the half time whistle.Then the second we were second to every ball and they looked sharper allover the pitch and after Ipswich drew level our heads seemed to drop and we folded.
    I thought overall we lacked any width at all and pace down the flanks to provide service to the strikers which needs sorting quickly because I dont see alot of creativity in the middle of the park.
    It is only the first game Bernie but from what I seen on Saturday theres alot of work to be done to mould our squad into a team and a unit like Ipswich.

  8. redcarp says:

    Hi Bernie

    What you think about the team selection for Tuesdays Cup match?

    For me, I would play the same team except any enforced changes through injury etc.
    Its on tele and people will watch to see any better than Saturday.
    I would send them out again and tell them to put Saturday right and its another chance to get the players working together and understanding what the boss wants.
    We are not a premier league team and we dont need to rest people or give our fringe men a game.
    They re fringe men for a reason, usually because they not doing enough in training for the boss to play them!
    We need our team settled and playing week in week out wer possible.
    Sure we will get injuries and suspensions but then change things, but dont do it for the sake of it.
    The big picture is promotion at all costs, if we have a good cup run and the team get more games together good news, if we are out soon concentrate on the league.
    I would have Kink starting for Flood and maybe try a new left back with Bates right back but keep the changes to a minimum.
    Tuesday will be a good work out and another game in the tank for the team because we all know match sharpness is better then running up hills, as I am sure the boss has one eye on Leicester next week.
    Up the Boro

  9. bernieslaven says:

    Hi Smogie Phil

    There is no doubt there is a lot of work to be done, but Strachan is not helping matters playing players out of position.

    Our midfield were like carthourses compared to ipswich who looked like thoroughbreds ,

    Regarding width or lack of it, i would pick Halliday or Kink on the left and on the right i would be looking to bring in a natural right winger with pace , trickery, who delivers quality balls.

    At the minute neither Flood, O’neil, or Robson are lacking all those qualities.

  10. Smoggie Phil says:

    Hi Bernie

    I know the player who would do that job on the right wing Chris Burke at Cardiff he keeps his shape on the right delivers quality balls and chipped in with nine goals last season for Cardiff.Hes 26 and Scottish which helps how much he would cost us I dont know but I would prefer him to Conway even if he cost a little more because he is proven in the division.

  11. gary says:

    I like many others thought this season would get off to a flier,i thought we had brought in some decent quality.no one on saturday stood out for me,the keeper did well but was forced to .The defence scares me .left and right obvious problems, but ive also lost faith in wheater,he had a decent season a few yrs back,but he has gone backwards for me,2 easy turned.
    ilike Barry Robson,but feel he is wasted on the wing ,would like 2 see Bailey partner him in central midfield..Flood i like ,and its a real shame about his injury and i wish him a speedy recovery .Kink showed some decent touches,but he aint gonna solve the right hand problems so stick him where he should be on the left.The right should have been addrresd years ago,when we had someone who looked like they could do a job(morrison)we sold him..and i cant work out the left footer on right wing and vice versa..it just goes against common sense..macdonald and boyd will be wasted if we dont start using some width.
    as for the keeper Jones,id of snapped Liverpools hands off, you could easily get a keeper of jones quality for a quater of the price

  12. PeterSwallow says:

    It looks like Kilgallon is coming in, rather than play him at LB which is expected I would drop the shocking Wheater for him.

    On the legends Bernie you have came up with every excuse for Wheater, first it was different partners, then it was getting move to right back(he only played there 4 times and 2 were an injury crisis), then it was St Ledgers fault.

    The only common denominator is Wheater, looks like he simply isnt good enough. He was at fault for the 2nd goal with his shocking header, and Stead was his man. He had times to pass it out of defence but hoofed it up front to ipswichs defenders.

    Get him out of the team asap

  13. gary says:

    i totaly agre with you Peter.the last decent season wheater had Huth made him look good and covered for him.shame as i do think he is a decent local lad and does have passion for the club, but dont think he is going to cut it, I do hope still to be proved wrong like

  14. bernieslaven says:

    Hi Peter and Gary,

    Both of you are talking about Wheater and to be fair i have defended the Redcar lad over the last year or two.

    There is no doubt his form has slumped, there could be another reason as to why he is off the pace, i heard from a good source on Saturday, that Wheaters contract is up at the end of this season and obviously he is concerned about his future.

    I know the simple answer is for Wheater to get back in the groove and put in five star performances every week, then he will be rewarded, but it doesn’t work like that.

    Leaving contract talks to the last minute, can have a effect on the players performances.

    Middlesbrough have got a nasty habit of running down the clock on contracts.

    Kilgallons arrival will put pressure on Wheater, this could be the thing to spark him into action.

  15. gary says:

    Hi Bernie,i can see how that would be unsettling,but cant really use that as an excuse for last season.i do hope he comes good.i just cant see it really

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