Cyrus!

Daily Star Sunday - - RESULT! -

But­ton; Fred­er­icks, Kalas, Ream, Sesseg­non; Nor­wood (Cisse 90th), McDon­ald, Ojo, Jo­hansen (Kamara 70th), Ayite (Ke­bano 42nd); Fonte

CYRUS CHRISTIE went from zero to hero as he snatched a late equaliser to give Boro a hard-fought draw at Ful­ham yes­ter­day.

With the ball bounc­ing around the Ful­ham box, Christie kept his nerve to vol­ley un­der the body of home keeper David But­ton with two min­utes to go. Mo­ments be­fore, the full-back had al­lowed Ryan Sesseg­non to send a deep cross on to the head of Aboubakar Kamara, and the Ful­ham sub nod­ded the ball in off the post to put the home side ahead.

And they had hoped it would be a late match­win­ner – un­til Christie pounced.

The buzz of ex­cite­ment in the clos­ing stages made up for the open­ing 75 min­utes which had been short on goal-scor­ing chances.

It took just 14 sec­onds for the first at­tempt on goal with Mid­dles­brough mid­fielder Lewis Baker skip­ping through but failed to con­nect prop­erly with a

Ran­dolph; Christie, Fry, Gib­son, Fabio (Friend 76th); How­son, Clay­ton, Bam­ford (Fletcher 76th), Baker, John­son; As­som­ba­longa (Down­ing 89th) 20-yard ef­fort. Seven min­utes later, he tried again and con­nected more sweetly but Cot­tagers keeper But­ton tipped his ris­ing shot over the bar.

The next chance came when Oliver Nor­wood spot­ted Boro keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph had drifted away from his near post at a free-kick.

The North­ern Ire­land mid­fielder tried to catch him out but Ran­dolph scram­bled back to shovel the ball away just in time.

If ever there was a game which summed up the home side’s for­tunes it was this one.

Ex­cit­ing in pos­ses­sion with run­ners pulling Boro de­fend­ers in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, the home side also had Floyd Ayite, Sheyi Ojo and Sesseg­non run­ning at the vis­it­ing full-backs and flash­ing low cross af­ter low cross into Boro’s penalty box.

But that only left lone striker Rui Fonte in the area to try to fin­ish the moves.

It meant that for all their pos­ses­sion, Ful­ham’s only se­ri­ous at­tempts on goal came from just in­side the area – with Ayite foiled by the legs of Ran­dolph – or from out­side with Nor­wood twice shoot­ing just over in the first half.

At the other end, Christie, who was more ef­fec­tive go­ing for­ward than try­ing to stop Sesseg­non gal­lop­ing past him, jinked his way into the Ful­ham area.

But from his pass, Baker’s shot was al­ways ris­ing as it flew over the bar.

The sec­ond half fol­lowed a sim­i­lar pat­tern as an­other Nor­wood free-kick came close, this one land­ing on top of the net.

Ful­ham were guilty of over­play­ing the ball af­ter 65 min­utes, al­low­ing Jonny How­son to set up an at­tack which ended with Pa­trick Bam­ford strik­ing a left-foot shot just wide of the post.

Sim­i­larly, Marvin John­son was just off tar­get soon af­ter with a low drive from just in­side the area.

Nei­ther op­por­tu­nity was as clear-cut as the chance that fell to Kamara 15 min­utes from time, where he fired over from the mid­dle of the penalty area – to set up a breath­less fin­ish to the game.

Ful­ham boss Slav­isa Jokanovic has now seen his side con­cede late equalis­ers three times at home this sea­son.

He said: “We de­served all three points but you don’t al­ways get what you de­serve.

“We will al­ways try to win games in this way but this time it killed us at an im­por­tant point in the game.”

But Mid­dles­brough boss Garry Monk saw this as a point gained as Boro ex­tended their un­beaten record in all com­pe­ti­tions to seven games.

He said: “We haven’t hit our full stride yet but it’s com­ing. When it clicks, there won’t be many teams who can stop us. We are still im­prov­ing.”

FUL­HAM: MID­DLES­BROUGH: STAR MAN: REF:

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