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REPORT: BORO 3, SPURS 3

Posted on 9 January 2006  - 12:00

Mido's late header secured a point from a rollercoaster Sunday luchtime clash against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

Mido's late header secured a point from a rollercoaster Sunday luchtime clash against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

The Egyptian striker rose in fine style to direct Michael Carrick's corner beyond Mark Schwarzer to haul us back into a game that we'd led 1-0, then gone behind 2-1, come back for 2-2 and trailed again 3-2 before finally both sides had to settle for a point.

On a not unexpectedly chilly early afternoon in the North East, Martin was forced into one change due to the absence of Teemu Tainio following the knee injury sustained by the Finn last time out against Portsmouth.

Otherwise it was same again, with Jermain Defoe biding his time from the bench, where he was joined by Radek Cerny, Noe Pamarot, Michael Brown and Grzegorz Rasiak.

Chasing a first victory at the home of Boro since October 1996, with Steffen Iversen the scorer the last time we emerged with a point from the Riverside back in March 2002.

The game got off to a scrappy beginning with neither side putting down much of a marker in the opening minutes. The referee did though, Mr Webb booking Michael Dawson for supposed contact with Mark Viduka on the edge of the area. The reaction of Dawson to just the whistle going told you all you needed to know about decision. Thankfully there was no further cost as Franck Queuedrue's free-kick sailed high over Paul Robinson's crossbar.

Michael Carrick was becoming an increasingly influential figure and was bossing the central area as the first third of the half elapsed. There were several raking long range passes worthy of admiration before he got into his stride and set off on a purposeful run, only to be chopped down by Doriva - for which the Brazilian was booked.

Edgar Davids was next in the book for a mis-timed tackle on James Morrison as the game became further disjointed due to the stop-start nature of the encounter. It was not one for the purists in the first half of the half and the ball was being given away with alarming regularity by both sides - although mostly the home one.

The game got what it really needed on 25 minutes - an away goal! Reid did well to retrieve a deep cross from the right and managed to re-direct the ball to Lee Young-Pyo who crossed first time with Mark Schwarzer advancing for what appeared to be a routine catch.

It was a routine catch spilled at the feet of Robbie Keane who rolled the ball past two covering defenders and into the empty net.

The advantage was not retained for long and four minutes later Boro were level. A Queuedrue cross from the left of the area was flicked on by Gareth Southgate, lifting the ball over our marking players and plonk onto the right foot of Yakubu who smacked past Robinson to make it all square.

The home side were lifted and a Viduka volley was fielded by Robinson at the second attempt. Two minutes before the break - against the run of play - Morrison made determined strides towards our penalty area and unleashed a shot that looked bound for the top corner and ended up there with the aid of a slight deflection off Yakubu.

The boys didn't deserve to be behind and had done enough to suggest the story was far from over

It nearly was ten minutes into the second period when a Morrison cross was met with considerable force by the head of Yakubu. It was one of those moments when Robinson demonstrates why he is England's top keeper.

Defoe was drafted in soon afterwards and was nearly straight in on the action when crosses from Lee and Keane caused a little confusion among the Boro rearguards. Mido could and maybe should have steered the ball into the path of the little hitman, but chose the wrong option and opted to shoot.

On 62 minutes it was 2-2 following one of the longest running free-kick sequences seen. The first one was off to the right of the area and, after much deliberation, the set piece was taken, the ball moved across to Davids and another free-kick was won. The second was from a more central position and Jenas did the business - firing past the despairing dive of Schwarzer for his third goal of the season.

Robbo then enhanced his reputation further with a brilliant stop from Doriva before he was beaten by a Queuedrue header that came down off the post and was adjudged - correctly by the assistant referee - to have crossed the line even though the ball came out.

It was hard to believe Boro has seized the initiative again in what was certainly a topsy-turvy game.

Rasiak was introduced for the final ten minutes in place of Jenas - meaning we had four strikers on the pitch for a final onslaught.

It did the trick almost straight away and, from a Carrick corner, Mido powered a header past a stranded Schwarzer to to make it 3-3.

There appeared to be a big problem shortly afterwards when Morrison was struck and seemed to be out cold. The game was stopped straight away as both sets of players recognised the extent of the youngster's injury and, after lengthy treatment, he was stretchered off.

Defoe could have won it when clean through on goal after shaking off Southgate, but could not plant the ball past the advanced Schwarzer.

Six minutes stoppage time when then announced and a blow as Defoe appeared to turn his ankle after being put through by Davids. He had to limp off replaced by Michael Brown and that was the last notable action.