The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Joe Thomas To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

SHAY Given signed off at the River­side Sta­dium with an­other clean­sheet but his op­po­site num­ber Jack But­land en­sured Middlesbrough’s goalscor­ing woes con­tin­ued.

But­land’s fine de­but per­for­mance be­tween the posts fol­low­ing his loan move from Stoke City on Thurs­day helped se­cure Leeds United a point which was not re­ally good enough for ei­ther side’s fad­ing play-off am­bi­tions.

But Leeds would not even have re­turned to York­shire with a point had it not been for the 20-yearold’s shot stop­ping which en­sured Boro set an un­wanted club record along the way.

It is now more than ten hours since Middlesbrough last scored a goal, the long­est bar­ren spell in front of goal in the Teesside out­fit’s his­tory.

Yet head coach Ai­tor Karanka was not blam­ing his play­ers af­ter watch­ing his team cre­ate a num­ber of good chances only to be thwarted by ei­ther But­land or poor fin­ish­ing.

Karanka said: “It’s an­other point and an­other clean­sheet – but an­other game with­out a goal.

“We played well and showed a very good at­ti­tude on the pitch, we tried to win the game and that gives me con­fi­dence for the fu­ture.

“If we con­tinue to play like that then the goals will ar­rive for us. The man of the match for the other side at the mo­ment al­ways seems to be their keeper. We need to keep our con­fi­dence up.

“Ob­vi­ously we’re strug­gling to score goals but con­fi­dence isn’t an is­sue.”

Middlesbrough even fielded three strik­ers – Kei Ka­mara, Cur­tis Main and Danny Gra­ham – in the hope of end­ing the drought, de­spite Karanka’s de­ci­sion to leave out winger Mustapha Carayol for poor at­ti­tude to train­ing and matches.

Yet it took them un­til three min­utes be­fore half-time to first test But­land. The Eng­land young­ster made a fine one-handed save to deny Ja­cob But­ter­field from dis­tance.

Af­ter the restart there were fur­ther chances, with Gra­ham and Al­bert Adomah go­ing the clos­est for Middlesbrough and de­nied by But­land on a cou­ple of oc­ca­sions.

Leeds boss Brian McDer­mott, keen to fo­cus on foot­ball rather than the on­go­ing talk sur­round­ing Mas­simo Cellino’s takeover, was de­lighted with But­land’s con­tri­bu­tion.

McDer­mott said: “He made a cou­ple of re­ally good saves, he came for crosses, he kicked it well we put him un­der a lit­tle bit of pres­sure with our back passes which he dealt with very very well – he’s 20 years of age and he’s played 86 games al­ready so he’s very ma­ture, he’s hun­gry and he wants to be on that plane to Brazil with Eng­land.

“You don’t want to lose a game like this es­pe­cially late on – they had a chance and might’ve scored we had a bla­tant penalty turned down in the first-half when Noel Hunt was pulled back and I thought we had an­other one from a handball. The lads were go­ing mad at half-time it was a nailed on penalty.

“We were re­silient. Jack’s come in and kept a clean­sheet and made a cou­ple of re­ally good saves.We lost a cou­ple of play­ers from our back four so we’ve got to be pleased with a point.”

Leeds also had a cou­ple of half chances, but found Given in no mood to con­cede ei­ther. The Ir­ish­man now re­turns to As­ton Villa af­ter his three-month loan and he se­cured his tenth clean­sheet from 14 matches.

Karanka added: “Shay de­serves all the best. It's been amaz­ing to work with him. He’s a great per­son and a great pro­fes­sional - a true ex­am­ple.

“I’d like to thank him for his time here and my English isn’t good enough to ex­press my ad­mi­ra­tion for him.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

STAR TURN: Leeds’ Jack But­land saves from Al­bert Adomah while Lee Peltier looks on

BLOCK: Kenneth Omeruo gets his body in the way

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