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Season 2008-09
Middlesbrough (a) Premier League
  Date: Saturday 29th November 2008, 3pm

 Riverside Stadium

hazy sunshine giving way to mist

Admission: £32 (last season £31) 


Sticking to the old adage that two heads 
are better than one, Boro produced two different covers for this programme.


Newcastle United

0 - 0



Half time: smoggies 0 Newcastle 0

Full time: smoggies 0 Newcastle 0

We Said

Chris Hughton commented:

"On the back of last week, what we wanted to do was keep a clean sheet. We felt we had enough to score a goal here, and as the game opened up in the second half, I genuinely feel, although it could have gone either way, we got into the better areas.

"If our final ball had been a little bit better, we could have gone on and taken the three points. That would be the only disappointing factor, but to come here and get a draw is a good result."

Asked about Oba's sharp exit down the tunnel:

"You want nobody to be happy to be taken off, but any issues that way are always dealt with in-house, and that's always the correct way to approach it, always.

The Nigerian later said:

"Like any other player, I am always most disappointed when I am substituted.
But I am sorry if what I did was a problem and, in hindsight, perhaps it was wrong for me to go into the dressing rooms and not go on the bench.Ē

Mark Viduka said after his comeback:

Iíd like to think I was 80% fit. I know that I have got to get some games Ė there has been almost half of the season gone now and most of the boys have been playing week in, week out so thereís a while to go before I can get to that level.

ďIíd love to rediscover last seasonís form Ė as a team we need to get our confidence back. The most difficult part of being out has been not being able to help out the team when they needed it.Ē

They said

Gareth Southgate said: 

On another day we would have won it.

"ďIt was a hard game and we were good value for at least a point. We had the majority of the game, certainly in the second half.

"In fact it was pretty much one- way traffic in the second half, until Newcastle had a late chance that really we should have prevented. 

"I thought the overall performance was very healthy - we passed the ball well and we had clear cut chances. 

"I was also pleased with how we defended as a team. We didnít defend at all well against Bolton but I thought our two centre-halves were very good this time.

"Alves wants to score. I thought he looked a real threat. His movement was excellent and he went on a couple of terrific runs for us in the second half before going close.

"He has a hunger to do well but we canít look at him every time we fail to score. Itís the responsibility of all of the players to get goals.

"We have two players in Digard and Arca who can pass the ball well. Both of them can take the ball under pressure.

"I thought the atmosphere was brilliant. I didnít know what was going to happen at half-time when the smog started to come down because you couldnít always see what was happening on the far side of the pitch.

"But the fans helped to maintain a great atmosphere. It helps that the ground was almost full but you could see that the players responded to the atmosphere."

Speaking about the chants from the away section:

"They (Newcastle) can't do anything about their travelling fans. It's individual decisions to sing what they want. How can a club the size of Newcastle control individuals?"


Mags on Smogside - Premiership:

2008/09: Drew 0-0
Drew 2-2 N'Zogbia, Viduka
2006/07: Lost 0-1
Won 2-1 og(Boateng), Ameobi
Drew 2-2 Bellamy, Shearer
Won 1-0 Ameobi
Lost 0-1 
Won 4-1 Shearer 2, Dabizas, Robert
Won 3-1 Shearer, Goma, Dyer
1999/00: Drew 2-2 Speed, Pistone
1998/99: Drew 2-2 Charvet, Dabizas
1996/97: Won 1-0 Ferdinand
1995/96: Won 2-1 Watson, Ferdinand

Full record against Boro:
  P W D L F A
SJP 56 29 16 11 94 56
AP/R 57 14 19 24 67 82
League 113 43 35 35 161 138
SJP(FA)* 2 1 0 1 6 4
AP* 2 1 0 1 3 3
SJP(LC) 2 1 1 0 1 0
AP/R 3 1 0 2 4 6
Cup 9 4 1 4 14 13
Tot 122 47 36 39 175 151

* includes qualifying games in 1896 & 1898

The Magpies managed to keep back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season and recorded successive scoreless draws for the first time since April 2005 (at home to Boro & Palace).


Fifteen games in then and fifteen points on the board - eleven of them since JFK was installed - and an unbeaten run that now stretches to three games, or no win in four if you look at it the other way.

And although an away success continues to evade us this season, at least it wasn't a case of lost in the mist, as the both sides found themselves fogbound at the Riverside, unable to gain any altitude.

Kinnear chose not to make his thoughts known to the media after his side recorded a third draw in five away games under his guidance, preferring to leave press conference duties to Chris Hughton.

Whether that was a ploy to avoid questions about the reaction of Martins to being substituted in favour of Viduka instead of the anonymous Owen isn't clear, but the air of satisfaction JFK's assistant gave over having taken a point from this fixture hardly gave cause for optimism.

A week after having been undone on their own pitch by Bolton and with memories of defeat by West Brom and a draw with West Ham (not mention a leathering by Chelsea), this was hardly Fortress Boro.

And while last week's Stamford Bridge stalemate was cherished and deservedly celebrated as a job well done, the same plaudits just couldn't be applied here for achieving a similar result.

That may seem slightly unfair, given the fact that another decent defensive job saw Given excused too many heroics in defence of his clean sheet. 

The fact remains though that this draw and last week's combined with the stalemate against Wigan have yielded a total of three points - what we needed to be taking from that SJP Latics encounter.

While in one way it's gratifying that we've dug in away from home to earn the points that eluded us at the mackems and Fulham, failing to pull out any away victories places more pressure on us to do the business at home, week after week.

That task however looks a bigger ask after looking at the fixture list, with the current top four sides all still to visit Tyneside, along with our wearyside and smoggie rivals. Already we've gifted too many points to mediocre sides on our own patch - such as Blackburn, winless in nine since their SJP victory.

Up next at home is Stoke, who were pulled apart here in January, but have added solidity and confidence to their side since their top-flight return; not to mention some set piece danger that will test our new found defensive solidity.

Hopefully our continental back four will be alert to this danger, with the temptation perhaps to bring fit-again Steven Taylor back in alongside Coloccini to shackle the likes of Fuller. 

While JFK took some flak from the travelling fans for removing our sole source of pace from the attack in this game, he does deserve credit for not recalling Taylor to the back four this time round.

The faith shown in Sebastien Bassong was repaid with another steady display from the 22 year-old Frenchman, who looked at home alongside Coloccini & Beye - the less said about Enrique, the better.

As it was, the fourth successive meeting of these two sides to end in a stalemate was never a classic, with and could have gone either way, had either team boasted an in-form striker.

Fully 35 minutes had elapsed before we created a chance, when Danny Guthrie's fell to Obafemi Martins, who turned and smacked his rising shot off the crossbar.

Boro then threatened after the break, with Charles N'Zogbia clearing one corner off the line at his far post station, while Alves blazed over after a good run then got in the way of his colleagues as a dangerous cross from the left caught our defence napping, but thankfully wasn't converted.

Shay Given got down well to save from Justin Hoyte, while the returning Viduka came as close as anyone in the closing stages, but saw his weak effort blocked.

And that really was that, with the small comfort of Bolton's thrashing of the mackems taking us out of the bottom three, on goal difference. Victory against Stoke now really is vital though. That's ahead of our Pompey trek - where we've managed four draws from five Premiership visits. 

Given the position we find ourselves in, a fifth point there would be more than acceptable - but only if we've topped the Potters. Yes, it's better to be unbeaten than beaten, but there's a time when safety-first gives way to fearful - 38 points from 38 games would leave us firmly in the proverbial.   




Page last updated 08 February, 2017