Boro made five changes to the side that played Ipswich in midweek. Out went Seb Hines, Matthew Bates, Tarmo Kink, Julio Arca and Zemmama. In came Andrew Davies, Rhys Williams, Andrew Halliday, Barry Robson and Kevin Thomson. Some of the changes were forced with Seb Hines picking up a nasty double broken jaw injury. Credit to him for trying to carry on. (Brave defender) I wish him well with his recovery and it is now all about getting him ready for next season. The same applies to Zemmama who picked up a hamstring injury.
Barnsley started brightly and had plenty of procession. Boro were off the pace, not quick at closing the ball down. We were soon a goal down. We had plenty of warning signs with Barnsley having numerous attacks without having many direct chances and in particular Harewood was causing problems out wide using his strength. The opening goal came from a Marlon Harewood shot which was well saved by Paul Smith but he got a 2nd chance to find the net which he did deflecting it off Andrew Davies and into the back of the net.
After so many changes due to injuries and Emnes 3 match ban we were limited up front. Young Andrew Halliday, the man of the moment had done so well in midweek against Ipswich, when he came off the bench and had a real impact scoring his first Middlesbrough goal and playing a big part in the other 2 Boro goals. Halliday started the game with our only fit forward Scott McDonald up front. It was difficult for them, they never stopped running working tirelessly chasing play down.
There were few chances in the first half, although Halliday went close when he lobbed the Barnsley keeper Luke Steele only for his effort to be cleared by Barnsley skipper Jason Shackell. At the other end, Barnsley were looking dangerous and looked like increasing their lead. Paul Smith saving from Harewood just before halftime meant we went in to the break 1-0 down. We needed to up the tempo 2nd half and try get back in the game.
It was Thomson’s first start since Leeds United on New Years day. He played some nice passes at times but not surprisingly following his broken leg injury he pulled out of some 50/50 challenges. It’s all about him getting some minutes on the pitch and building his fitness and confidence up for next season.
Nice to see Willo Flood back in a Boro shirt after his injury in the opening game of the season, he was given a warm reception by the fans. He wasn’t on the pitch long when a moment of madness near the touch line saw McShane get his marching orders. Joe Bennett tried to restrain McShane but the madhead lost control letting fly with a flurry of punches and pushing Joe in to the advertising boards. Thomson got a yellow for his part in the flare up. Just before the chaos Tony was preparing a double substitution with Tarmo Kink and Richard Smallwood coming on.
Barnsley were now down to 10 men following the 18 man brawl which seemed to get the players and fans going. A couple minutes later and Tarmo Kink and Richard Smallwood finally got on the pitch replacing Barry Robson and Kevin Thomson who both need more games. Kink hadn’t been on the pitch long when he came close with a header just going over.
The equalising goal came from a cross on the right whipped in by Tarmo Kink who picked out Scott McDonald perfectly to head home past Luke Steele in the Barnsley goal. Nice to see Scott get a goal his work rate deserved, he regularly dropped back deep throughout the game, working tirelessly.
Also, I should mention Paul Smith, what a great loan signing he has been. I have always been wary with our loan signings of late not being a success. He made some great saves especially in the 2nd half and we really should get the guy signed up! Another great performance and man of match display from Smith.
Good to see Richard Smallwood on the pitch for 20 minutes he really does look at home in the centre of midfield. I hope he starts against Burnley on Tuesday night.
We certainty were not at our best the pleasing thing is we have come back again, got a point and kept the run going. Looking forward to the trip to Turf Moor on Tuesday now. Up The Boro!
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