On the way to the ground I have to pass the Prince of Wales. That’s no big deal, I’m sure loads of us do likewise.
However, I literally bumped into a couple of Boro fans and one of their sons who were bemoaning the demise of the Compleat Angler as a haven for away supporters and asked me the background to the change of tack by the management thereof.
That sorted, they proceeded to regale me with tales of why they weren’t happy with the inconsistency of their side. I couldn’t get the proverbial word in edgeways, which is most unusual for me. It proved a very interesting and indeed pleasant journey for the 15 minutes or so it lasted.
They (Boro) seem to be exactly where we were 12 months ago, and my impression is their supporters don’t like it. Especially spending big money on players, changing manager and promptly getting rid of nearly £20m of talent on the arrival of the master tactician that is Tony Pulis.
Anyway, enough of the problems at Boro.
Punctuated by the red mist that descended upon Rudy Gestede and that firecracker from Tom Trybull, it was otherwise an afternoon of serenity, including that spine-tingling appreciation of Michelle Dack on the 52nd minute and the inspiring site of young Ethan Thomas on the pitch. So much respect to Madders for his involvement and contribution.
The Gestede incident was frankly ridiculous. Was it a straight red or a second yellow? Studs up, straight red. He would have marched anyway for a second yellow, so any argument is basically redundant in this case.
As for TT’s masterblaster, I think his own words are more appropriate than mine:
“I just tried to shoot and because I was a little bit annoyed that we were always playing around the defence of Boro, that’s why I decided to shoot.”
A fine speech as I hope you will agree!
From that moment on we knocked it around with confidence – I don’t buy this “it’s only ten men” thing, there were still two banks of four to break down and we were fizzing the ball around with purpose and intent.
Infringing our Gary’s trademark, Tetbull absolutely ran the show. Alex Tettey was my personal Man of the Match – he really bossed any limited threat Boro could muster. Interestingly he became slightly less effectively after Trybull’s unfortunate departure on the hour, but what a bonus we got when Moritz Leitner came on. He looks like one to hang on to if at all possible. Yes, the gaps opened up, but mainly as a result of his incisive passing in the first place.
Honourable mention to Angus Gunn for his superb handling when traditional Pulisball was occasionally employed by a rapidly tiring Boro. That lad is very, very good and will become even better. We have been lucky to have him, even if only for a single season.
Of course, a killer second would have been very welcome but we truly never looked in any real danger and I enjoyed the second half display immensely.
It only remained for a warm round of applause to be given to Yorkshire’s favourite pigeon fancier, one Jonathan Howson, ex of this parish, and the walk home.
This time I spoke to a couple of Lemontop boys from Redcar and they seemed to think we have had the best of Jonny and he’s on the point of descending that hill.
Things aren’t looking too bad just now and next season could yet prove to be something we will all savour.