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Match Report


Posted Sat 08 Feb 14 at 17:00 PM

Middlesbrough 0 Rovers 0

Key saves by Paul Robinson ensured Rovers left the Riverside with another point on their travels.

The former England stopper showed signs of being back to his best after a string of fine saves meant Rovers stretched their unbeaten run to four in a goalless draw.

Mustapha Carayol was Boro's danger man, twice forcing the Rovers goalkeeper into making saves in the opening half, whilst in the second half the winger was denied once more before Robinson tipped over a shot from substitute Albert Adomah.

Chances were few for Rovers, Tom Cairney having the best of them with a long-range strike was well saved by Shay Given.

Rovers now have a fortnight to wait for their next match action as they travel to take on Reading on February 22nd.

Gary Bowyer named an unchanged side as Rovers went into the Riverside clash looking to make it four unbeaten in a row.

New arrival Luke Varney was signed in time to take his place on the substitute's bench, one that also included Corry Evans, back after four months out with an ankle injury.

At a chilly Riverside it was the home side who started the better of the two and that set the tone for the opening 45.

Just four minutes in and live-wire Mustapha Carayol raced into the area, with options to his right he perhaps chose the wrong option in shooting near post, but he forced Paul Robinson into making the save.

From the resulting corner Robinson was called upon once more Nathaniel Chalobah heading goalwards but the Rovers man got in the way.

Aside from a ball over the top from Grant Hanley that just eluded Jordan Rhodes, Rovers struggled to get any forward momentum, and with Boro's forays down the left flank.

George Friend twice threatened on the overlap, Rovers having to hack the resulting centres away before having found more space, Carayol again forced Robinson to save at his near post.

Moments later a Grant Leadbitter cross caused a scramble in the box, the Rovers goalkeeper eventually claiming amongst the bodies.

As the half wore on Rovers started to see more joy. Excellent play by Rudy Gestede saw the striker bring the ball inside to look for the run of Rhodes but defender Ben Gibson made a saving challenge.

From the resulting Tom Cairney corner, Rudy Gestede really should have brought former Rover Shay Given into play. But his first-time shot from the penalty spot flashed wide of goal when it should have been on target.

Middlesbrough came again as the half drew to a close, Boro captain Jonathan Woodgate heading a Leadbitter corner just wide of goal.

It was a half in which Rovers struggled to cope with Boro attacks down the left, but they'll have been relieved it was goalless at the break.

Rovers made a change at the break and it wasn't too surprising to see Adam Henley introduced. Todd Kane had been given a torrid time in the first half by Mustapha Carayol, he was the one to make way.

The home side started strongly once again with a series over corners in the opening exchanges. But good defending by Jason Lowe, Matt Kilgallon and Grant Hanley ensured there wasn't to be a Boro goal at the start of the second half.

Rovers responded with a chance of their own when rare space opened up for David Dunn, he let fly from distance but typical of the way things had gone for the visitors in front of goal, it struck Rhodes and deflected wide.

Rovers attacked once more but a sloppy pass from Tom Cairney allowed Boro to race clear, Carayol getting the better of Adam Henley but Paul Robinson saved superbly with his legs.

At the other end Shay Given was called upon to make an important save, Cairney redeeming his earlier mistake by skipping inside to shoot but the Boro 'keeper saved well with his legs.

Both sides made changes, Adomah, Kamara and Main on for Middlesbrough, whilst Craig Conway and Luke Varney were given match time.

Boro substitute Adomah went close to making his mark just four minutes after his introduction, cutting in from the right he let fly with Robinson tipping the ball over the bar.

It was then Jason Lowe's turn to let fly, looking to add to his solitary goal for for Rovers, one that came in the earlier match between the two sides, the midfield fired goalwards from fully 30 yards but the ball went inches over Given's bar.

Jordan Rhodes then went close for Rovers as he got on the end of a centre from Craig Conway, but Ben Gibson, who had stuck to the striker like glue throughout, diverted his effort behind.

Play became stretched in the closing stages but neither side could threaten further as the match ended all square.

BORO: Given, Friend, Leadbitter, Varga, Graham (sub Main 82 mins), Ledesma (sub Adomah 68 mins), Whitehead, Carayol (sub Kamara 75 mins), Gibson, Chalobah, Woodgate (c).

Subs not used: Konstantopoulos (GK), Butterfield, Hines, Omeruo.

Goals: None.

Booked: Chalobah, Carayol.

ROVERS: Robinson, Kane (sub Henley 46 mins), Hanley (c), Kilgallon, Spurr, Lowe, Taylor, Cairney, Dunn (sub Conway 56 mins), Rhodes, Gestede (sub Varney 76 mins).

Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Williamson, Dabo, Evans.

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 14,965 (including 691 Rovers fans)

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