Nuneaton bow out
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Nuneaton were far from disgraced as they finally went down 5-2 at Middlesbrough.Nuneaton Borough were far from disgraced as they finally went down 5-2 against Middlesbrough at The Riverside Stadium.
The result was rarely in doubt once Chris Riggott opened the scoring, and although the Premiership side went on to dominate - the Conference North outfit never gave up.
A penalty from Yakubu Aiyegbeni made it 2-0 at the interval, before Boro took control at the start of the second half when Stuart Parnaby, Yakubu again and Mark Viduka fired home.
Then Gez Murphy, whose penalty in the first game forced the replay, added two late goals to give the scoreline a more fairer reflection of Nuneaton's efforts.
Nuneaton started the game brightly, but it was Boro who created the first chance - but Parnaby, playing in an unusual midfield role, fired wide.
However, the visitors almost immediately broke down the other end and carved open the home defence to present Murphy with a great chance - but he could not find the net with only Brad Jones to beat, as the Australian saved low-down to his left.
The non-leaguers continued to press and Brian Quailey almost tested Jones, but his turn and shot just flew wide.
Then Riggott, who was wearing the captain's armband for the first time at The Riverside, produced a sublime finish to open the scoring.
Up for a corner, Riggott waited and his decision to stay forward was rewarded, as he was found on the edge of the area and he looped a lovely finish over Darren Acton.
Stuart Whittaker showed some ambition as he let fly from 25 yards, but the diminutive winger turned villain just moments later, as he conceded a penalty.
A swift Middlesbrough counter-attack saw the ball worked right to Gaizka Mendieta and his run into the box was brought to an abrupt halt by Whittaker and referee Mike Riley pointed to the spot before Yakubu stepped up to convert his 14th goal of the season.
Mendieta fired the opening shot of the second period into the side netting, as Steve McClaren's men began strongly and it was soon 3-0.
Adam Johnson raided down the left and Acton managed to get down and clear, but the ball was met by Parnaby, whose drive from 25 yards flew in the bottom corner - although Mark Viduka may yet claim it after he got a deflection.
Parnaby was beginning to relish his midfield role and moments later, he unleashed another long-range effort - but this time it went just wide.
Nuneaton were now pushing desperately looking for a consolation, but they were now leaving more and more gaps at the back and it was not long before Boro added to their lead.
Yakubu got chance to add his second, as he broke clear and just trickled the ball past Acton, before Viduka slammed home a shot from six yards after Nuneaton failed to clear once again.
Nuneaton were well beaten, but an error from Jones in the Boro goal presented Murphy with an a great chance and he made no mistake, as he headed into an unguarded net - much to the delight of the visiting 5,000 fans - and no more than the Conference North side deserved after another sterling effort.
Boro did have chances to add a sixth late on with Yakubu and Mendieta going close, but that would have been unduly harsh on Nuneaton and indeed, it was the visitors who grabbed another.
Again it was Murphy who was brought down in the box by substitute Ray Parlour, and the striker dusted himself down to get up and fire home and grab his third goal over the two games.
Although Nuneaton bowed out, their performance over the two games rightfully earned them a standing-ovation from the near-25,000 crowd.
Middlesbrough now face Championship side Coventry City at The Ricoh Arena in the next round.
|Middlesbrough||Team Statistics||Nuneaton Borough|
|9||Shots on Target||5|
|6||Shots off Target||4|