Middlesbrough 2-2 Portsmouth: Daily Mirror match report
Published 19:26 03/10/10 By MirrorFootball
You don’t have to be mad to play in the Championship – but Liam Lawrence reckons it might help.
After two years away in the relative calm of the Premier League with Stoke, the Republic of Ireland midfielder is loving his return to the helter-skelter of the second tier.
Having looked dead-certs for the drop, Portsmouth are now eyeing the play-offs after harvesting seven points from their last three games.
Lawrence’s arrival on loan from Stoke – he is set to make his move permanent in January – has played a major role in Pompey’s recovery.
After grabbing a late point from the penalty spot with his fourth goal in as many games, he said: “This is a mad league, isn’t it?
“We had a slow start but if we carry on like this I don’t see why we can’t make the play-offs. This league’s just mad.”
Lawrence kept his cool to earn Pompey’s first point on the road this season after Barry Robson saw red for elbowing Pompey skipper Aaron Mokoena – an incident missed by referee Neil Swarbrick but spotted by his eagle-eyed assistant.
Swarbrick mistakenly brandished red at Boro defender Stephen McManus, but soon realised his error to usher Robson off.
It capped a gutsy fightback after Lawrence crossed for David Nugent to pull one back with a header.
Boro boss Gordon Strachan was livid after the damaging second-half collapse.
In front of another sub-15,000 Riverside crowd, Matthew Bates pounced from close range to put Boro ahead before Robson smashed home the second from the spot after Joel Ward fouled Scott McDonald.