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Barclays Premier League

Riverside Stadium (ATT 24,303) 31st January 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: C Foy

M'boro Middlesbrough vs Blackburn Rovers Blackburn

M'boro 0


Live Commentary

Last Updated at 4:59 pm, January 31st 2009

  1. Thank you for joining me here today and I look forward to your company next week.

  2. And that's it. Roberts' chance was virtually the last kick of the game and we finish here deadlocked at 0-0.

  3. 90+5

    Jason Roberts should have scored. What a great chance. His header from 6yards out is saved by a diving Jones who pushes it away to his right.

  4. 90+4

    A big penalty shout from Blackburn as Roberts goes down, but it does not look convincing. It's a rash challenge from Riggott though and he walked a thin line.

  5. 90+3

    Wheater heads Downing's free kick back across the face of goal, but Robinson takes it comfortably. Was that the last chance?

  6. 90+3

    Blackburn are finishing stronger and the Boro fans voice their disapproval at Jones holding onto the ball too long. Dunn fouls Alves on the left wing but it is very soft.

  7. 90+1

    Johnso tries to force his way around Warnock, but the left back does very well. A sloppy pass gives posession away and Boro spread the play.

  8. 88

    There will be 5 minutes of added time.

  9. 88

    Alves can not quite bring the ball down inside the Rovers box and Blackburn will bring the ball away. Samba is still having words with the ref about being fouled at the last throw-in. Roberts creates a great chance on the right side of the area, but Jones positions himself well and narrows the angle enough to tip it around the post.

  10. 86

    4 minutes left and fans are flocking out of the Riverside. They obviously think it will remain 0-0 and who can blame them?

  11. 86

    David Dunn hits the target again after Samba takes the ball on his chest and lays it off to Dunn who hit it left footed.

  12. 85

    Alves strikes it but it goes all of 10 yards, directly into the bottom of the wall. They should definitely have lifted the ball into the crowded box. Wasteful and selfish.

  13. 84

    Huth lines up the free-kick, but Alves is also over it, but it's a good 40 yards out.

  14. 83

    Tugay looks for Roberts, but it is well read by Huth. Bates drives into the heart of the Rovers' defence and Pedersen chops him down. That's a booking.

  15. 82

    Samba takes a ride on the back of at least two defenders but it is not deemed a foul. The ball comes back in, but the flag goes up for Pedersen straying into an offside position.

  16. 81

    Will there be a late winner now that we are inside the last 10 minutes? David Dunn does brilliantly to skip around three men, and Jones does well to turjn it around his right-hand post.

  17. 80

    Walker does well to win a throw off of Ooijer, but it comes to nothing midway inside the visitor's half.

  18. 78

    Pedersen's corner is cleared at the front post by Alves and Johnson breaks forward. Alves gets the ball stuck under his feet though and he can't get a clean shot off. An easy save for Robinson.

  19. 76

    It's all Blackburn right now and there is around 15 minutes left. Downing concedes a corner and Samba will make his way forward.

  20. 75

    Dunn tries an overhead kick from 7 yards out after Samba heads on pedersen's throw-in at the near post. It's well over Jones' crossbar.

  21. 73

    Grella hits a half-volley but Walker does very well in throwing his body in the way. Boro survive the scare but this is a good period from Rovers.

  22. 73

    There has not been a 0-0 draw in this fixture for 10 years, but it has that scoreline written all over it at the minute.

  23. 72

    Jason Roberts comes on for Benni McCarthy.

  24. 72

    Warnock tries a right-footed cross from the left wing, but the combination of Wheater and Johnson block it.

  25. 71

    Dunn runs into trouble trying to beat Pogatetz. At the other end, Samba does well to shepherd Alves away from goal.

  26. 69

    McCarthy is booked for putting a shoulder into Walker. Sam Allardyce is furious and he walks 15 yards to tell the linesman so.

  27. 69

    The game is much better now and Boro have been sparked into life by Alves' power and Emnes' pace.

  28. 68

    Bates finds Emnes on the right wing. Downing puts the ball on Alves' head at the back post and ooijer takes it away from him. Corner to Boro.

  29. 66

    Alves blasts the free-kick but Santa Cruz gets a head on it.

  30. 66

    Johnson drives a clearance which Alves latches on to. His fresh legs are too much for Nelsen who pulls him down on the edge of the box as he is bearing down on goal. Only Samba tracking back saved him from a red card.

  31. 65

    Boro make a double switch. Alfonso Alves comes on to replace Tuncay and Marvin Emnes replaces Marlon King.

  32. 64

    The game is opening up a little bit more now and Rovers are asserting pressure.

  33. 64

    Tugay drills a shot from 25 yards and Jones tips it over. It was probably going high, but Jones was making no mistakes on his return to the first team.

  34. 63

    Wheater heads on Pogatetz's free-kick but Robinson comes and punches clear. He almost wiped everyone out with his clearance. Good keeping.

  35. 62

    Dunn clumsily clatters through Johnson who had twisted away from him. Alves is back on his feet on the touchline.

  36. 61

    We have just passed the hour mark and Tuncay gives the ball away with a careless backheel. Warnock carries it forward 30 yards but his left-footed shot fizzes wide.

  37. 60

    King lays the ball perfectly into Johnson's stride. Johnson tries to put Rovers under pressure by lofting a crossfield ball back in King's direction, but Nelsen plays a captain's role again to clear.

  38. 59

    Downing is fouled again and Rovers are sending two men at both of Boro's wide players, Downing and Johnson. So far it's been pretty successful. Appeals for a penalty are waved away after a half-hearted shout. Nelsen definitely played it off his chest.

  39. 57

    Warnock puts too much power behind a cross from his laft wing. A little bit more quality is needed if Santa Cruz and McCarthy are to get a solid goal-scoring chance.

  40. 56

    Johnson is fed by the 'keeper Jones and skips by Tugay. Ooijer comes across and fouls the lively Johnson. Samba clears the free-kick but only as far as Downing.

  41. 55

    Tuncay wants to come back on and Alves will have to go and put his tracksuit on. Alves is not budging though, standing next to Southgate.

  42. 54

    Both players are off the field now and Boro have a free kick. Downing's corner is met by Riggott who peeled away from his defender and flicked it wide of Robinson's left hand post.

  43. 53

    Lots of treatment to both players here and Alves is warming up in front of the Boro bench.

  44. 52

    Both players are sitting up and reciving treatment but I will be surprised if Tuncay can continue.

  45. 52

    Samba and Tuncay go in for a challenge in the air and Tuncay drops like a boxer getting knocked out.

  46. 51

    Huth gets put under pressure from McCarthy as he nudges him into Jones on the edge of the box as the ball trickled through agonisingly slow.

  47. 50

    McCarthy tries to turn past pogatetz, but the experienced defender puts his body in the way and earns a free-kick on the near touchline.

  48. 49

    David Dunn will come on for Emerton - the midfielder will play no further part in this match as he limps to the sideline.

  49. 48

    Emerton waves to the bench and drops to the floor clutching his right leg.

  50. 47

    Ooijer takes no chances with a ball in the corner of the pitch, launching it deep into the stands. Tuncay feeds Walker whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box is charged down. The Boro fans are a little more vocal now.

  51. 46

    No changes for either side as Boro get the second half underway.

  52. The teams are coming back out onto the pitch and we are almost set to get going. Boro will kick-off and will be playing right to left.

  53. Tor from Norway has been back in touch, so thank you, Tor. He says it is the perfect game to bring Villanueva in to. Do you agree? Send me your thoughts at

  54. Blackburn are 28/1 to win 3-0 with Sky Bet, Ben. Worth a speculative punt before the game perhaps, but I do not really see them scoring that many now. Santa Cruz is 17/2 as the next scorer, so that could be a good shout.

  55. Boro are 9/4 to win this game now according to Sky Bet, while Rovers are 19/10. Sky Bet are offering 5/4 on a draw.

  56. Just while we have a few spare minutes before the restart I can catch up on some emails that I didn't get around to before kick-off. Paddy Shannon and Ben from Boro both think Rovers will win the game. They predict 2-0 and 3-0 respectively. Still staying with this prediction, gentlemen?

  57. 45+2

    That's it for the first half. It took a while to get going but brightened up in the second part of the half.

  58. 45+1

    Tugay lifts a perfectly-weighted ball from left to right towards Santa Cruz. The referee flags for handball as he brings it down and slots it past the advancing Jones. Riggott did well to clear it a yard from goal anyway, but it is a debatable decision.

  59. 45

    There will be 2 minutes of added time.

  60. 44

    King gives chase after Johnson's ball down the left wing. Nelsen uses all his experience to deal with easily. Rovers down the other end waste a useful break and Allardyce is furious as more miscommunication spoils a break.

  61. 43

    Tugay comes on for Keith Andrews who does not make it to the break.

  62. 42

    Blackburn may have to make a change before the break. Andrews is still struggling and i am not sure he will be able to run it off or even make it to the interval.

  63. 41

    The corner does not beat the first man and Boro try to break through Tuncay on the right wing. Boro earn a throw-in just inside the Rovers' half. Four minutes to half time.

  64. 40

    Santa Cruz hits a swerving shot from 20 yards. Jones is almost caught off guard and he sticks out a left foot to send it behind for a corner.

  65. 39

    Replays suggest Nelsen might have even stood on Andrews' knee.

  66. 38

    There is a stoppage here after captain Nelsen and teammate Andrews collide trying to block Tuncay's shot.

  67. 37

    Rovers get a second corner but Jones punches clear. Boro break again after Pedersen and Emmerton get their wires crossed and Tuncay lashes a fierce shot goalbound.

  68. 36

    Riggott catches an arm in the face from McCarthy as he jumped for a header. Rovers win a throw-in and Boro can't clear their lines. Grella hits a volley fro the edge of the box and it takes a minor deflection from Huth and goes for a corner. The game is warming up.

  69. 35

    Emerton's free kick just inside the Boro half is plucked out by Jones. This time he does release it instantly and it leads to the best chance of the half. Downing releases johnson and his shot from the angle 20 yards from goal has Robinson beaten and goes inches wide.

  70. 33

    King goes down under a challenge from Samba, but play is waved on.

  71. 32

    Downing's cross is aimed at Riggott, but it is headed clear at the back post. Rovers break through Andrews and Pedersen but the momentum dies down in the centre of the park.

  72. 32

    Johnson wins Boro a free-kick in a very dangerous pposition. He saw a gap between Grella and Ooijer and got knocked to the ground on the corner of the box.

  73. 31

    Warnock is back on the field and the game has lost a step or two. Plenty of endeavour, but lacking that bit of quality inside the final third.

  74. 29

    Tuncay looks long for King, but Samba is there to clear the danger. Warnock is receiving treatment to his shin, it looks like, maybe still feeling Pedersen's challenge earlier in the half.

  75. 28

    Middlesbrough are disciplined with their two banks of four at the minute. Emerton finds Warnock and he beats Jones to the ball. Jones does very well to read the situation and McCarthy can not hit the target with the curling follow-up.

  76. 26

    Pedersen leads with his arm as he goes in for an ariel challenge with Wheater. There was only going to be one winner there. At the other end Tuncay tries to go it alone, turning back in to Samba on the edge of the box.

  77. 25

    Samba does not have the pace to deal with marlon King, but Robinson is off his line quickly to put the ball into touch. Well read.

  78. 25

    Tuncay is marked well by Nelsen in the corner of the pitch closest to us. Rover's break but Pedersen's cross from the left flank goes behind the goal before coming back into play. It was a superb ball from Grella to find Pedersen, hitting it first time as it came across him.

  79. 23

    Downing is flagged offside down the right wing as he burst through to try and latch onto King's through-ball. He protests, but it looks spot-on.

  80. 22

    Huth bundles over McCarthy but comes away with the ball. Good strength from the centre-back.

  81. 21

    The home fans are getting restless as Brad Jones refuses to kick or throw the ball immediately. There have been several times when they have got on his back, but in all truth there have been very few outlets available.

  82. 19

    Matthew Bates goes down under a crunching challenge from Pedersen who won the ball first. Rovers win a throw and it falls to Andrews who hits it low but straight at Jones.

  83. 18

    A searching ball is well lofted into the path of Santa Cruz but he handles it near the by-line under pressure from Huth.

  84. 17

    Santa Cruz searches for McCarthy who flicks it on to Pedersen. He tees up Andrews, but he can't get a clean shot away.

  85. 16

    King is quickly closed down by Grella on the edge of the centre circle. Rovers appeal for handball, but instead the decision goes the other way because of obstruction as King tried to run around the Aussie.

  86. 14

    McCarthy lays the ball off to Santa Cruz on the right wing, level with the 18-yard box. His cross is met by pedersen but it is difficult to control and sails high and wide.

  87. 13

    Wheater finds downing on the right wing with a short ball but the end product is poor. Blackburn get bodies back and are temporarily pinned inside their own half. Marlon King gets the last touch on Johnson's cross and Robinson plucks it out the air.

  88. 12

    Jones charges out of his box to head the ball out for a throw-in after Grella beats the offside trap. Pedersen's corner is handled well by Jones who claimed it calmly.

  89. 11

    Andrews tries to burst through from midfield after exchanging sharp passes with Grella. Riggott watches it well.

  90. 10

    Samba heads the ball into touch after a long ball from Downing. 'Keeper Jones was looking for a fast outlet but had to settle on tossing it out to Pogatetz.

  91. 9

    McCarthy tries a speculative shot from 25 yards after Grealla does well to find some space for himself. But the shot is tame and Jones will be happy that his first task is an easy one. The game has not settled down yet, understandably.

  92. 8

    McCarthy heads the ball towards Santa Cruz who was sniffing around the edge of the 18-yard box, but Huth is there to intercept.

  93. 7

    Emerton has very few options ahead of him as he forrages down the right wing, but he does well to win a throw off of Boro left back Pogatetz.

  94. 6

    The free-kick is overhit badly and sails out for a throw-in on the right hand side of the pitch closest to us.

  95. 5

    Adam Johnson is chooped down by Dutch international Ooijer. It is late and he will go into the ref's book.

  96. 4

    Bates goes in for a whole-hearted challenge on Andrews and Rovers have a throw-in. It's wasted on the left wing though and Boro will move it forward through the centre pair of Walker and Bates.

  97. 3

    Warnock cuts out a cross-field searching ball aimed at Downing. His cushioned header is safely back to 'keeper Robinson.

  98. 2

    Wheater earns a throw-in off of Pedersen deep inside his own half.

  99. 1

    Tuncay is fouled on the right wing by Warnock and Boro have an early free kick but it is headed clear on the edge of the box by Nelsen.

  100. So, almost set to get underway here at a sunny but bitterly cold Riverside. Blackburn, in their traditional blue and white, will get the game underway, playing from right to left.

  101. Tor Andersen from Norway says he is starting to lose faith in Rovers' chances of survival. He questions the signing of El-Hadji Diouf and I agree. With Jason Roberts and Carlos Villanueva fighting Santa Cruz, McCarthy and Tugay for playing time, I am not sure how much of a say he will get.

  102. What do you think? Have your say by emailing Just over five minutes to kick off here, so still time to get your comments into me before we get underway.

  103. The first email of the day is from Chris Richards who predicts a 2-1 home win with Tuncay finding the back of the net for the hosts.

  104. For the more adventurous of you, a 2-0 Blackburn win is 12/1 with Sky Bet. Or how about Alves to come off the bench and get the only goal of the game? That is currently at 25/1. That will be where my fantasy pound is going today.

  105. With Sky Bet, Middlesbrough are 11/8 to win, with the visitors at 15/8. A draw is available at odds of 12/5.

  106. Email me your thoughts and views to and I will include the best of them throughout the afternoon.

  107. What are your predictions for today's match? Will Boro finally return to winning ways? Would you have selected Tungay ahead of Santa Cruz?

  108. Blackburn: Robinson, Ooijer, Nelsen, Samba, Warnock, Emerton, Andrews, Grella, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roque Santa Cruz. Subs: Bunn, Kerimoglu, Dunn, Villanueva, Givet, Simpson, Roberts.

  109. Middlesbrough: Jones, Wheater, Riggott, Huth, Pogatetz, Adam Johnson, Bates, Walker, Downing, King, Sanli. Subs: Turnbull, Hoyte, Emnes, Alves, Shawky, Arca, McMahon.

  110. Blackburn on the other hand make just one change from the side that snatched a point at home to Bolton. David Dunn's achilles problem forces him to the bench and Rovers boss Sam Alladryce chooses Roque Santa Cruz over Tugay.

  111. The team news is in. Boro hand a home debut to Marlon King after he started the midweek defeat at Chelsea and Tuncay has edged out Alfonso Alves for the second striker role as Gareth Southgate reverts to a two-strong attack.

  112. The two sides go into the match with just a point between them at the wrong end of the table. Boro' have not won in 11 and they are without a home victory since October.

  113. Good afternoon and welcome to today's live Barclays Premier League commentary from the Riverside as Middlesbrough play host to fellow strugglers Blackburn.



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