Middlesbrough 0-0 Doncaster: Boro blow it against bottom side
Published 21:45 17/04/12 By Simon Bird
Tony Mowbray’s side blew a chance to crank up the play-off pressure on their rivals and saw their chances start to slip away as they failed to beat already-relegated opposition.
When Boro do the post mortem of this season they will reflect that their poor home form severely hampered their promotion bid, and it was the same old story here.
Bottom of the table Doncaster claimed only their third point in the last 10 games to leave Boro narrowly adrift of the play-offs in seventh.
They have dropped a staggering 35 points at home, no side in the top 18 have won fewer games on home turf. Only Nottingham Forest have scored fewer goals than Boro’s home total of 20.
And, with Boro in a poor run of form – just seven points from the last 30 – the momentum is not going their way.
No wonder the 14,967 crowd - third lowest of the season and for for such a crunch game, too - were frustrated.
Boro were revved up by the Riverside DJ playing Alive And Kicking as their night started and the simple job on their minds was to thrash Doncaster and hope Blackpool and Cardiff slipped up.
Keeping their side of the bargain proved difficult against a determined, yet vulnerable visiting defence.
Boro probed patiently with full-back Tony McMahon providing two chances early on. First his deep cross was volleyed on to the post by Julio Arca and then Stephen McManus nodded a corner just over.
MLS-bound Barry Robson’s good work combining with Scott McDonald resulted in a goal-bound curler that defender James O’Connor stuck his head in the way.
From the corner Lukas Jutkiewicz’s header was tipped over, and the striker also mustered a shot as Boro pressed.
But for all their hopes of a play-off place – two points adrift before this game – Boro did not have the swagger of Premir League contenders, lacking pace and width.
The side managed by Mowbray were handed a lucky break on 32 minutes when Chris Brown appeared to win a certain penalty after being felled by Seb Hines as he turned in the box, but referee Darren Drysdale waved the appeal away.
The best chance of the game fell to Doncaster’s Simon Gillett, who unleashed a powerful volley that was well saved by Jason Steele.
After the break McDonald squandered a brilliant opportunity, heading a cross from Justin Hoyte wide.
Hines then repeated the feat as Boro scrambled unsuccessfully for the win.