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Reds Match Report: Middlesbrough 2Barnsley 3

BARNSLEY continued their cracking run with a 3-2 win at Boro after trailing 2-1.

Manager David Flitcroft stood straight and focused on the edge of his technical area, and looked on joyously as his side took the lead in just the sixth minute.

And it was O’BRIEN who scored again, just seven days after bagging his opening goal of the season at Blackpool.

He raced onto a through-ball from Cranie, before crashing in an angled shot which flicked off the boot of former Doncaster defender Friend and looped over keeper Steele.

Boro’ had a great chance to level it up when Jutkiewicz was upended five yards outside the Barnsley box.

However, after lots of discussion Ledesma eventually took the free-kick, curled it round the wall, but also into the grateful arms of Steele who gathered comfortably.

O’Brien intercepted a misplaced pass from Hines close to the edge of the box, but the ball ran away from the goalscorer and Bikey was able to intercept just in the nick of time.

Front pairing Harewood and Dagnall were combining well and after the former Rochdale and Scunthorpe man had latched onto a cute backheel from his much more experienced side-kick, Bikey again had to make a desperate last-ditch tackle to force the ball out for a corner that came to nothing.

Ledesma fired in a shot which Steele saved easily, while at the other end, the other Steele was being kept busy again. O’Brien saw another deflected effort saved, then Harewood smashed in the shot of the half.

Turning on a sixpence, the big striker fired in a 20-yard half-volley which Steele beat away superbly.

A minute before the break Jutkiewicz planted a disappointing shot wide after Steele could only parry Bikey’s thumping drive, but that had been by far the closest the hosts had come in a hugely satisfactory first half for the Reds.

HALF-TIME

Middlesbrough.......0

Barnsley................... 1

Boro’ boss Mowbray altered his attacking options at half-time with Main coming on to replace the ineffective Jutkiewicz, but the theme pretty much continued early on when the disappointing Bailey swung a promising free-kick from out wide far too long and harmlessly out of play. Catastrophe followed in the 50th minute, however, when the hosts levelled thanks to a Reds error.

With Ledesma’s through-ball looking for the on-rushing CARAYOL, Foster intercepted but his back-pass was too strong for Steele, who could only parry the ball into the tricky front-man’s path and he couldn’t miss from six yards.

Finally the home fans were on their feet, and now it meant the Reds had to begin the hard work all over again.

Within two minutes Harewood had robbed centre-back Bikey before cracking in a great shot from the edge of the box that Steele was just about alert enough to keep out. But just past the hour mark there was more woe for the Reds as Boro scored again.

This time MAIN profited, as a cross from Williams flicked up off Foster’s boot before the substitute dived in at the far post to nod easily past Steele.

The hosts’ second goal forced Flitcroft into an immediate double switch, with Scotland and O’Grady being given the chance to rescue a now unfamiliar losing cause.

The Reds did hit back to level in the 69th minute, before amazingly surging back into the lead six minutes later.

Firstly GOLBOURNE levelled it at 2-2 when he lashed into the roof of the net after a trademark long throw from Delap hadn’t been cleared, then that man Scotland did the business again following a howler from Boro’ keeper Steele.

He was forced to pick the ball up just in front of Dagnall after Hines’ woeful back pass - one which led to an indirect free-kick on the corner of the six-yard box.

Golbourne flicked the ball to SCOTLAND, who smashed a shot past the wall and into the roof of the net to send the travelling fans wild.

 

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