Boro fail to cut down Blades
Middlesbrough and Sheff Utd played out a 0-0 draw at the Riverside Stadium on Friday night.
Last Updated: 07/08/09 10:27pm
Middlesbrough and Sheffield United played out a 0-0 draw at the Riverside Stadium on Friday night in the first match of the new Championship season.
Boro enjoyed the better of the first half with new signing Mark Yeates and Adam Johnson managing to make some headway down the wings, but they created few chances and the Blades looked the more dangerous on their rare counter-attacks.
The pattern continued into the second half, but they still struggled to create chances and a penalty appeal for a Kyle Walker challenge on Johnson was the closest they came to breaking parity.
As the game drew to a close, both sides appeared happy to settle for a point and a number of the home fans jeered at the final whistle.
With Turkey striker Tuncay Sanli left out through illness, Southgate handed debuts to three players in his starting line-up, with opposite number Kevin Blackwell naming four in his.
The new-boys were the first to take centre stage, too, with home keeper Danny Coyne, a summer signing from Tranmere, displaying excellent reactions to block a second-minute volley from Blackburn loanee Keith Treacy.
Stephen Quinn then saw a scuffed effort creep narrowly wide as United's direct style of play caused Boro some early problems.
Winger Yeates then registered their first attempt on goal with a dipping strike that Mark Bunn did well to touch around the post.
Coyne was soon called into action again to fend away a rising drive from Quinn from the corner of the box following a knock down from Darius Henderson, while captain Robert Huth did well to clear from under his own bar as the Blades continued to probe for an opening.
Didier Digard's poor run with injuries since he joined Boro continued as he limped off moments before the break with a groin strain to be replaced by Gary O'Neil, while Boro had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Lee Mason after the restart when Johnson went down under Walker's challenge.
With neither side able to create a genuine chance following the interval, both managers opted to introduce their new strikers, with Boro bringing on Leroy Lita and United replacing Brian Howard with Ched Evans.
But neither was able to make an impact as defences remained on top, with Boro's David Wheater and United's Matt Kilgallon particularly impressive.
Despite the industry of Yeates, Boro were unable to make anything out of their late possession as the game wound down towards a tame finish.
|Middlesbrough||Team Statistics||Sheffield United|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||4|
|5||Shots off Target||3|