Sidwell howler lets Boro in
Tuncay Sanli made the most of a Steve Sidwell howler to bring home Boro's second away win of the season from Aston Villa.
By Claire Hughes
Last Updated: 10/11/08 9:22am
Tuncay Sanli made the most of a Steve Sidwell howler to bring home Middlesbrough's second away win of the season from Aston Villa.
The scores were level with just two minutes on the clock when Jeremie Aliadiere cut a hopeful ball back from the byline.
It found Villa midfielder Sidwell but he mis-controlled and it was all the invitation Tuncay needed to steal in and blast the ball beyond Brad Friedel to win the match - with no-one more relieved than starting strike partner Afonso Alves, who had filed his own miss of the season contender moments before.
Tuncay had netted Boro's first first-half league goal in eight games to put the Teessiders into a deserved lead after just 34 minutes, with serious failings in the Villa defence again making life easy.
The ever-attacking Stewart Downing lofted in a ball over the heads of Martin Laursen and Nicky Shorey, who both seemed to stop and stare as Tuncay and Alves fell over each other to dab the ball over the line, Tuncay winning the race.
But within three minutes, parity had been restored through Sidwell - the man who would later become the villain of the piece. Ashley Young's shot was blocked, so was Gabriel Agbonlahor's but James Milner chipped the ball over to the far post for Sidwell to nod home.
Martin O'Neill made five changes from the side which beat Slavia Prague in midweek but striker John Carew failed a late fitness test on a hip problem.
James Milner, given a free role behind Gabriel Agbonlahor, had his best game for the club since his £12million switch from Newcastle in August.
But Boro played their full part in an open and entertaining game and Stewart Downing caused problems for Nigel Reo-Coker and Carlos Cuellar down the left flank.
Villa looked the more threatening in the early stages and it needed a good tackle by Chris Riggott to halt Agbonlahor inside the box after he had seized a pass from Sidwell.
Boro came more into the game and it needed a superb tackle from Cuellar to halt Tuncay 15 yards out as he prepared to shoot.
But after 34 minutes, a mistake by Shorey gifted the opening goal to Tuncay.
Downing whipped in a cross from the left flank which Shorey was first to react to, but he only deflected the ball into the path of Tuncay to crash a low shot past Friedel from eight yards.
The lead lasted just three minutes before Sidwell delivered the Villa equaliser.
Agbonlahor's initial goal-bound shot was cleared by Andrew Taylor but the ball broke to Milner and his measured cross to the far post was headed in by
Villa made a purposeful start to the second half and Agbonlahor gave a demonstration of his electrifying pace when skipping clear of Riggott after running onto a pass from Barry.
He burst into the box but just overran the ball and allowed Turnbull to position himself and block the eventual shot.
Milner continued to impress and turned past Pogatetz before delivering another dangerous cross but Sidwell's header flew over the bar.
Barry then got to the byline and cut the ball back to Milner, whose first time drive forced a fine save out of Turnbull.
Young came to Villa's rescue when clearing a Riggott header off the line but
Alves should have won the game for Boro when he amazingly shot wide with the goal at his mercy after Friedel had parried Didier Digard's drive.
But with two minutes left Tuncay cashed in on an error by Sidwell to earn Boro
|Aston Villa||Team Statistics||Middlesbrough|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|8||Shots on Target||6|
|6||Shots off Target||8|