Pres­sure eases on Teesside

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Josephs

AF­TER start­ing the new sea­son with two de­feats, there was some much­needed re­lief on the face of Tony Mow­bray at The Val­ley, where Mid­dles­brough have given them­selves a plat­form to fi­nally get 2013 up and run­ning.

The last eight months have been dif­fi­cult for Boro. Af­ter slip­ping out of con­tention for a pro­mo­tion spot last sea­son and a record of just three league wins this cal­en­dar year be­fore yes­ter­day, a trip to Charlton did not seem ideal tim­ing.

But, af­ter the £1m mid­week ar­rival of Al­bert Adomah from Bris­tol City, Mid­dles­brough found a way to grind out a much-needed vic­tory in south east Lon­don courtesy of Lukas Jutkiewicz's header 18 min­utes from the end to give the whole of Teesside a lift.

Mow­bray said:“It's just nice to win an away match, two years ago we broke records of win­ning a run of away games, yet last sea­son we couldn’t win many at all. But I have be­lieved in my team. We could have won both our first two games against Le­ices­ter and Ac­cring­ton, so we know we have good play­ers.

“We con­trolled the game for long spells here. We just need to stick the ball in the op­po­si­tion net a bit more.We were the team that was in con­trol for long spells.

“What has been let­ting us down is both boxes.You have to do your job in both boxes. The stuff be­tween the two boxes has been very good. But it's about points and we have to build now from here.”

Mow­bray will spend the next week try­ing to bring in at least one new striker – Leeds’ Ross McCor­mack re­mains on the radar af­ter a £1m of­fer was re­jected. Mid­dles­brough's prob­lems in the early part of the sea­son have been put down to a lack of at­tack­ing threat. But Charlton, who have now lost their first two Cham­pi­onship fix­tures, had plenty to con­tend with.

On loan Hun­gar­ian Jozsef Varga and Grant Lead­bit­ter ran the mid­field, even if Charlton boss Chris Pow­ell felt Dean White­head should have been red carded in­side 20 min­utes when his arm ap­peared to con­nect with Yann Ker­mor­gant.

“I'm sur­prised the ref­eree thought it was just a trail­ing arm,” said Pow­ell. “Some­times it can be quite bla­tant, it was a karate kick on him. Some­times I would like my play­ers to be pro­tected – all play­ers, all 22 – but he made his de­ci­sion. He gave a yel­low, so he seen it, if he wasn't go­ing to pro­duce a card I could un­der­stand it. But if he can pro­duce one for an arm in in the face … if that's what he feels it war­ranted then we have to move on.”

Mow­bray thought it was just a “com­ing to­gether” of the two play­ers, but ref­eree Paul Tier­ney's de­ci­sion to leave White­head to play on helped Mid­dles­brough.

Boro goal­keeper Ja­son Steele – who later had to be re­placed with an an­kle in­jury – de­nied Charlton's Danny Green. Then Jutkiewicz grabbed the for­tu­itous win­ner. When Lead­bit­ter's cor­ner was floated in, Ben Hamer in the Charlton goal mis­judged it.

Varga headed the cross back in to the area and Jutkiewicz was the only one to get a de­cent touch and head in to an un­guarded net. Pow­ell said: “Some­times you have to dig in for a well earned point, it was more huff and puff and we didn't get that spark I ex­pected.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HIGH FLYER: Lukas Jutkiewicz scores the first goal for Mid­dles­brough

his goal HERO: Jutkiewicz cel­e­brates

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