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sql/match-reports/2010-11/2010-8-7-0.htm

Middlesbrough (1) 1 - 3 (0) Ipswich Town

NPower Championship 2010-11

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Referee: Anthony Bates

Manager: Gordon Strachan

Riverside Stadium 15:00

Attendance: 21,882

Manager: Roy Keane

Match Number: 3359

Goals

Home
 Scott McDonald (22)
Away
 Tommy Smith (50)
 Tamas Priskin (51)
 Jon Stead (77)

Substitutions

Home
Willo FloodJulio Arca (10)
Justin HoyteTarmo Kink (60)

Cards

Home
 
Away
 Tamas Priskin (36)
 David Norris (45)

Teams

Home

Danny Coyne

Justin Hoyte

Matthew Bates

David Wheater

Stephen McManus

Kevin Thomson

Nick Bailey

Willo Flood

Barry Robson

Scott McDonald

Kris Boyd

Substitutes

Home

Jason Steele

Jonathan Grounds

Julio Arca

Tarmo Kink

Leroy Lita

Lee Miller

Rhys Williams

Match Report

Middlesbrough 1 Ipswich Town 3

You get the feeling that Roy Keane is the kind of character who doesn't do omens, but the Ipswich manager might like to consider this. West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool were the only visiting sides to score three or more at the Riverside last season and they were both promoted in May. Food for though, Roy.

Last season is a nine-month purgatory Keane would care not to revisit, having taken until the end of October to register a first league victory at the 15th attempt. It was late November before they finally matched that feat on the road, so with somewhat indecent haste they have three points on the board this time, thanks to a comprehensive and fully merited victory against pre-season promotion favourites who will take time to gel after a summer of upheaval.

"What we didn't do last season was take our chances, but we did that today," Keane enthused after inflicting on Middlesbrough a first home defeat since December. He added: "Strikers are judged on putting the ball into the back of the net and we finished well. We deserved to win."

Not that it was a seasoned striker who launched the comeback after Scott McDonald's close-range opener midway through the first-half, Tommy Smith, a 20-year-old centre-back claiming his first career goal from the edge of the area as the hosts failed to deal with a 51st-minute corner.

"We were quite relaxed at half-time," Keane insisted, after revealing victory came at a cost with injuries to three of his players. "We're struggling for numbers already and we're only 24 hours into the season," he added.

Smith's account-opener found the net off Matthew Bates, the defender making his first appearance for 15 months and one of the few bright spots for the hosts, who lost Willo Flood early to a dislocated knee. "We won't be seeing Willo for a while," Gordon Strachan conceded. The Middlesbrough manager added: "He's had an horrendous day." The same could be said of Strachan's side, though an opening-day defeat should not be reason to write-off their promotion hopes at this early juncture. His influx of players from North of the Border are likely to come good, but a little patience is required.

Tamas Priskin, one of Town's walking wounded, put the visitors ahead 81 seconds after Smith's intervention. The forward struck the bar with a first-half header, but atoned with an adept glancing finish from six yards as he met a Carlos Edwards centre unmarked as Middlesbrough were caught short by a swift counter-attack. Jon Stead, the substitute, rounded-off victory with a confident volley from just inside the area 13 minutes from time to spark a mass exodus of home supporters. Those who remained until the final whistle did so only to jeer their side off the pitch, a far cry from the scenes of celebration as McDonald shepherded the ball into an un-guarded net from a Julio Arca knock-back.

"After they scored, we needed to be more positive but we were negative and that can backfire on you," Strachan added after being out-foxed by Keane, the man he lured to Celtic in 2005. He added: "We didn't play to the level you'd expect and we'll have to look into that and see why."

Jason Meller (telegraph.co.uk)

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