Boro v Hull
Boro put together a well-balanced performance in midweek against Premier League-bound Fulham. The runaway Championship leaders may have come away with all three points but it was more a case of outscoring than outplaying.
After a cagey first half performance as we sized the opposition up using defensive “wingbacks” Neil Taylor and Lee Peltier to subdue the Fulham threat, Wilder went for it in the second period with Bola and Tavernier supplying more attack-minded width to good effect as Boro finished the game with 15 shots to the visitor’s 6.
In the end though, whilst free-scoring Fulham only managed a couple of genuine chances, they took one of them as the prolific Aleksandar Mitrovic made a beautifully timed run to evade the Boro backline and guided a header past a helpless Joe Lumley. Boro created more chances - and at least equally good ones too - but when Tim Ream wasn’t in the way, Sporar, Coburn and Watmore couldn’t capitalise and the points went south.
It could, perhaps should, have been at least a draw for Boro but Fulham are worthy Championship Champions-in-waiting and we live to fight another day in the battle for a play-off spot.
As ever, that day isn’t far away with Hull City set to visit the Riverside on Saturday for a 3pm kick-off.
The Tigers have had a full week and a bit to recover from their previous fixture – a 0-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town on Friday 1st April. Promotion hopefuls Huddersfield would perhaps have expected to win that game more comfortably, especially when Hull striker Tom Eaves was sent off late in the first half, but Shota Arveladze’s men made life difficult for them and there were 79 minutes on the clock before defender Harry Toffolo made the breakthrough.
The defeat left Hull in 20th place in the Championship but 12 points clear of relegation trouble as their season peters out. Form-wise, Hull are in 16th for the last six games with two wins, but 21st over the past ten games. Away from home however, they are 6th over the past 6 games with only one defeat so Boro cannot take this one as a given.
For Boro, we’re pretty much in “must-win” territory now. Not in terms of mathematics of course but with games against Bournemouth and Huddersfield to come, failing to take all three points at home to Hull could turn out to be a fatal blow.
The only selection concern appears to be for the influential Isiah Jones, who was missing from the squad against Fulham due to illness. As Boro’s chief creator, Chris Wilder will be hoping Jones is fully recovered and able to resume havoc-wreaking down Boro’s right flank. If not, the Boro boss may opt to start how he finished in midweek with Tavernier shifted to the right and the eye-catching Riley McGree coming into central midfield. Marc Bola may also be restored from the off and there’s a full complement of five strikers to choose from, with Balogun and Connolly perhaps most likely after taking the week off.
For xG fans, Boro are at 1.62 for home games (7th) and Hull are at 1.12 away (18th) so perhaps this one could be a 2-1 win for the Boro, though I think I’d fancy our rampant lions to keep The Tigers caged.
Whoscored.com’s match forecast:
- Middlesbrough will control the game in the opposition's half - Very Likely
- Middlesbrough will score as a result of individual skill - Likely
- Middlesbrough will score from a wingplay situation – Likely
That will do for me. Any win will.
This match on Saturday throws up a situation where my Super League club Castleford Tigers and Boro play clubs from Humberside on successive nights (never mind the same day) certainly for the first time in this century, but hardly surprising as Super League is now a Summer sport, well in theory anyway. Cas visit Hull KR in a Rugby League Challenge Cup match tomorrow night, whilst Boro of course entertain Hull City in arguably a more important match the day after.
Although Hull City’s home form is woeful, their recent away form has been quite exceptional, especially for a team in the lower reaches of the Championship, with five successive matches unbeaten and the concession of a single goal on their travels. Nevertheless Boro’s home form has also been outstanding since Chris Wilder took control despite taking only one point from his first two matches against Millwall and Preston. Boro certainly on paper have a better chance of beating their Humberside opponents than Cas have, though they need to show more accuracy in their shooting than they did last night.
However Hull City’s record on Teesside is not good with only 3 wins in 27 encounters, the last one being in March 1986 and the previous one in 1955 when Wilf Mannion made his only appearance in a yellow shirt. I’ll rule out a 4th win for City on Saturday, but unless Boro improve their shooting it could well end in a goalless draw.
So the well oiled machine that is the Diasboro blog moves on swiftly to the next Boro game. An impressive preview by AndyR who has encapsulated what Boro need to do to get 3 points against the Tigers.
I agree with you Andy that Balogun and Connolly will step into the strikers shoes and start this game from the off.
I must admit that Wilders use of substitutions continues to impress me as now, he is not only rotating the strikers, he is rotating the wing backs as well to ensure fitness levels are maintained and players do not become over tired.
It was good to see Watmore play a full game and perhaps if his chance to score had come earlier in the match then perhaps he wouldn’t have blazed over the bar for what would have become a well deserved equaliser.
Im going for a 3 0 win for this one as our goals for column needs to be maintained as it could very well count at the end of the season when final placings in the league are calculated.
Thanks again Andy appreciated as always.
Well done Andy another impressive opener.
I agree that this is a must win. Last night could be counted as a blip which can be overcome but anything other than three points will probably be the start of our season’s hopes beginning to fade.
I second a win, any sort of win! CoB 😎
Another great opener from Andy and after the disappointment of the undeserved defeat last night, I can’t wait for Saturday.
Come on BORO.
Thanks for another great starter, Andy.
I’d like to see Riley McGree start on Saturday. He looks to have a killer pass in him and seems comfortable on the ball, so I think I’d drop Crooks to the bench to give him a rest. Hopefully, Jones will be back and we can get back to winning ways. 🤞🏻
Yes. Thanks AndyR for the quick turnaround of another quality opener.
I agree with Martin about resting Crooks and starting with McGree. His vision for the ball to cut through the defensive press is what we have missed for most of this season. Jones on the right, Bola on the left and McGree and Tavernier from the middle and there will be no stopping the number of gilt edged goal scoring opportunities they could create.
A win is a given for us at this pint in the season, though failure to do so would not mean we are totally out of the equation. I have feeling Hull will catch us on the rebound determined to make up for Wednesday.
5 goals for Boro then ( 🙄 ) as everything clicks and we enhance that all important goal difference column.
Thanks for the opener, Andy.
I was away for the Fulham game and only got a chance to watch the highlights recently. As most have said, it was a game of fine margins with them taking their chance and us not. It encourages me that the commentator said at the end "that was a smash and grab for Fulham" because it does indicate that we more than matched them.
I feel that we ought to have too much for Hull. It won't be easy but let's face it, if we play to our usual standard we should put Hull to bed. They are currently in the bottom three for form although they have had a hard run of matches.
I know our forwards have been indifferent but I think I read that since Wilder took over, we're the 4th highest scorers in the league. We have been spreading the goals around. We seem to create a lot of chances but struggle to finish them. Hull are pretty reasonable defensively but also struggle to score goals so if we don't win I could see 0-0 being a not unlikely result.
I was surprised to see Watmore and Sporar start against Fulham. It's hard to know what prompted that. Equally surprising to see Watmore play the whole game. I guess we may see Connolly and Balogun back for Hull. Good to see McGree back on the pitch; if Jones is still ill I suspect we'll see Tav at RWB. To be honest, if Jones is not available I would like to see Gibson get a run; he did well against Mansfield and I think he needs a chance to see if he can step up. Alternatively, I would put McNair at RWB and bring Bamba into the defence on the left side. I think of all the positions that Tav plays, RWB is the one that gets the least out of him.
Barring injuries and illness, I predict the usual Wilder-9 with Connolly and Balogun starting.
Another great opener from Andy, thank you for that.
We now have two awarded right sided wing backs at Boro. Our loanee Djed Spence has won the player of the month for March after some more inmpessive performances at Forest.
I wish one of them could play on the left even though we have Marc Bola back on the left, too. Now we are more balanced as a team now.
I hope Bola will start on Saturday. And that Jones is back from his ilness. At least Wilder was hoping that to be possible.
Up the Boro!
Thanks for the starter Andy. What a difference it makes to have a regular goalscorer in a team (even a 20 goal a season player). We did well to limit Mitrovic's chances but he still managed the killer goal while we had our usual missed/blocked chances. A game in hand looked good on paper but when it was against Fulham it wasn't so good. Forest are really flying now and may be the team to have taken "our place" in the playoffs. We must beat Hull and take at least 4 points from Bournemouth/Huddersfield or I expect there will be a gap between us and the top six that we may not be able to close.
I am finding all this travelling and hotel stays rather tiring so I am trying to enjoy my day off before travelling back to Boro.
Excellent opener, Andy. Thank you.
As has been said, any win against Hull will do. An early Boro goal would settle any nerves. And another clean sheet would obviously be most welcome. Let’s start quickly and play with the intensity we showed against Peterborough and Fulham. And let’s win this vital game 2-0, or better!
Thanks again Andy for the Headliner and to OFB for the previous one.
Did not see the Fulham game, I think my first game missed all season.
No predictions, just three points. Any lost points now and it may be all over for the play offs.
It’s all gone quiet over there !
Come on you Diasborians!
“Let’s be avin yer”
We have a game to play in an hours time let’s stoke up some excitement.
A game we need to win and the team will be announced soon.
Will Josh get a start?
Is it back to Balogun and Connolly ?
Are our wingbacks Taylor and Jones or Bola back to full fitness?
What does everyone think ?
Boro vs Hull City
Not sure if this is a good omen or not. Just had a message from my brother to say he has arrived at the Riverside. He has not been to a live game since he gave up his season ticket a few seasons ago.
Managed to get a ticket for £21 now he is an old git! His words not mine.
I just hope that two of the Peters family watching again don’t turn out to be a Jonah! CoB 😎
Looks like we called it correctly with the line-up, now for the result!
I’m going to miss the game today unfortunately so I’ll be relying on my fellow Diasborans for a fair assessment of the performance.
Boro 2-0 Hull.
Stream on soccer24hd not sure how long it will last though!
Is this your stream Malcolm?
Link for the game.
Is this your stream Malcolm?
Link for the game.
Well after a bright opening 10/15 mins when we moved the ball quickly it’s all gone a bit flat and we are struggling to break down a well organised and packed Hull defence.
Dale Fry has limped off and been replaced by Sol Bamba to add to our woes and but for a goal line clearance by Tav we would be 1-0 down.
A much more clinical performance is needed in the second half as anything other than a win sees our top six aspirations begin to fade. CoB 😎
As KP said bright start, then they ran out of ideas against a resolute Hull.
Connolly and Balogun not effective upfront and our defence suspect to the Hull counter attack, as they always are.
Wilder needs to get them up, stop the overplay and sloppy passes
Thank you and good night! 0-1.
Another poor attempted save by Lumley - just not good enough.
I think we are now outsiders for the sixth spot and appear to be slipping away like QPR! 😎
We have been saying all season that we just don’t score score enough goals. CW comes in and improves the team greatly apart from goals for. He brings in two extra forwards in the January transfer window and a playmaker in McGree.
McGree has only just started playing, Connolly and Balogun in reality have not even started playing. Two poor signings by Mr Wilder.
Boro got today what they deserved. Nothing. Some very poor performances out there this afternoon. Of course most will blame Lumley and probably rightly so. But the other ten plus subs did not help.
I think the fat lady has started singing.
Oh Dear! Lumley is going to cost us!
That was very poor, but we win as a team and we lose as a team, it's not just the gk fault, we dont score enough goals, has anybody got double figures, it felt like the team thought they only had to turn up and they would win, very disappointed but not much I can do about it, as an aside I have renewed my season tickets, cheaper than turning the central heating on.
Well that’s a Humberside double over Boro and Cas. I wasn’t expecting a defeat for Boro, but did envisage a goalless draw. It often happens though after a succession of home wins that a team finds it difficult to get back to winning ways. Look at Arsenal for instance. Conversely after a run of defeats, it takes a team 2 or 3 matches to get back to winning ways as did Chelsea today. As I mentioned before I’m not going to look at the League table again till after Easter, but assuming Boro lose to Bournemouth on Good Friday, Boro may bounce back on Easter Monday, but if they don’t there’s still 4 more games to avoid having possible local derbies with Sunderland next season.
Good point for Hartlepool though away to the League Two leaders.
Have Boro blown it ?
Can a team which misses consistently too many chances with forwards who can’t manage double figures expect to be in the top 6?
Add, having a goalkeeper who lets in shots a half decent goalkeeper would save and the answer is obvious.
Of course , the optimists will say there’s enough games left to make the top 6. Okay, but the games coming up against Bournemouth and Huddersfield hardly fill me with optimism.
A possible question for Ken - how many, if any, teams , finished in the top 6 in recent seasons without a forward who has not scored a minimum of 10 goals?
From a despondent Philip from Huddersfield
ps at least I can get some succour from Huddersfield Town who are increasingly looking nailed on for a top 6 position.
Don't get me wrong I like Chris Wilder but if he thinks Lumley is a championship goalkeeper and Connelly is a striker then his judgment on some players is lacking.