POKER FACE FOR BOOED MARVIN
NOT even a small smile drifted across the face of Marvin Emnes after he clinically rolled a finish over the line deep into stoppage-time to prevent Middlesbrough from losing a second game in three Championship fixtures.
The Dutch striker, who has started the last two matches on the bench following the arrival of £1m man Albert Adomah, clearly had his own thoughts about his non-selection and some of the boos from the fans which greeted his second-half introduction at the Riverside Stadium.
Only he will know how he was feeling, but after grabbing his first goal of the season to stop Blackpool from maintaining their 100 per cent start to the campaign, his manager hopes it is the first of many.
Tony Mowbray, the Middlesbrough manager, is on the look out for attacking reinforcements, but if he can solve the Emnes problem then the Teessiders could already have a 20-goal a season gem.
Mowbray said:“Marvin Emnes is a very technical and talented footballer. He’s had a few issues over the years but he’s dealt with them.
“The fans showed some unhappiness towards him against Accrington and that’s knocked his confidence a bit.
“But when that ball was dropping out of the air, there was no one else I’d have wanted on the end of it.”
And Mowbray felt it would have been unfair had his team lost.
He added: “For all the football that was played, two set-pieces made the difference. That’s the nature of the league, it’s just so tight.
“If you look at our side, it’s clear we desperately need some cutting edge.
“Lukas Jutkiewicz has done well for us but he and Marvin need some support.We’re tying to bring people in to do that.”
A largely uneventful opening 83 minutes came to life in the closing stages after Blackpool had taken the lead.
When Rhys Williams conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area for a high challenge on Middlesbrough fan Neal Bishop, Paul Ince's side had a fantastic chance to take the lead.
The opportunity looked to have gone when Barry Ferguson's dead ball hit the wall, but then the loose ball fell invitingly for Sunderland-born Chris Basham to slot over goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler's line.
At that point Middlesbrough looked short of ideas and unlikely to sneak a draw, but then Emnes – introduced on the hour for midfielder Jozsef Varga – was on hand in the area himself to turn over the line. On that occasion goalkeeper Matt Gilks had failed to deal with Adomah's ball in to the box and the man who hit 18 goals two seasons ago delivered to save a point.
Paul Ince, a former Middlesbrough skipper in his playing days, was far from happy despite earning a point without both of his star wingers Thomas Ince and Matt Phillips.
The Blackpool manager said: “Gilks is devastated because he’s made a mistake but I told him, when he makes a mistake, we all make a mistake.
“I’m sure he’ll save us plenty of points this season.
“I was delighted for Bash, him being a North-East boy.
“You could see how much it meant to him and, when Boro equalised, you could see he was gutted.
“He’s got a great attitude and works so hard all the time.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be a 5-5 or anything exciting because of the personnel we had.
“We had two of our wingers missing, so we knew we were going to have to keep it tight and play for the second ball.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footymad.net/
DEADLOCK BROKEN: Chris Basham gives Blackpool the lead
CRUNCH: Jozsef Varga is challenged by Neal Bishop