Pol­ish and poise eas­ily turns nasty

Sunday Sun - - Football - Anthony Vick­ers

BORO shot them­selves through the foot – twice – in a chaotic car-crash sec­ond­half sur­ren­der to Derby.

They trailed to an early opener but played some neat foot­ball and carved out some ex­cel­lent chances in a first 45 that sug­gested they had the style and spirit to claw back.

But a sui­ci­dal start gifted a penalty then a keeper clanger handed Derby a third goal be­fore Boro com­pounded the mis­ery with a stupid send­ing off.

But de­spite that, there were some in­di­vid­u­als who could hold their heads up amid the de­bris.

Re­ju­ve­nated on the right, ever­green flanker Ste­wart Down­ing rolled back the years with a first half of style and swag­ger.

He looked lively, in­ven­tive and hun­gry for ac­tion, drop­ping deep to de­mand the ball and look­ing up for a quick, cre­ative for­ward pass.

He showed poise and pol­ish as he picked and probed down the right and cut­ting side to knit at­tacks to­gether and was at the heart of Boro’s most threat­en­ing moves.

Another good show came from Brazil­ian full-back Fabio, who is in fine form. He was alert at the back, cut­ting out dan­ger down the flanks with in­ter­cep­tions and timely tack­les.

And he was an as­sertive out­let break­ing for­ward on the left too, over-lapping to cut in­side and link up with at­tack or find an an­gle to de­liver some de­cent crosses. He also put a first-half header just over.

Among Boro’s best in that first half was Cyrus Christie.

He linked up well with Down­ing and Braith­waite on the right to pro­vide a con­stant threat.

As Boro im­ploded af­ter the break, he kept go­ing and, de­spite be­ing bar­racked by his for­mer fans at Derby, he was one of the few still run­ning and chas­ing at the whis­tle. Cyrus Christie was one of the few still chas­ing at the fi­nal whis­tle

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