Football: Beck instils belief at beleaguered Boro

Middlesbrough 6 Chester City 0
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The Independent Online
Chumps in the League; champs in the Cup. Middlesbrough's fluctuating fortunes were highlighted by their belittling of Third Division Chester in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday. If only, Bryan Robson must be praying, his side could replicate their cup form in the Premiership.

Boro have won only one of their last 15 League games, but have been ruthlessly efficient in five cup ties, plundering 24 and conceding just two goals in the Coca-Cola and FA Cups.

Liverpool visit the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday night for the Coca- Cola Cup quarter-final and, and Mikkel Beck, who along with his attacking partner, Fabrizio Ravanelli, is responsible for half Boro's cup strike- rate, is in a bullish mood.

Beck predicts the Premiership leaders will succumb, as did Newcastle, beaten 3-1 in the fourth round of the Coca-Cola Cup thanks to second-half goals from Beck and Ravanelli.

"We've played well in the Cup up to now and you couldn't really ask for better preparation for Wednesday than winning 6-0," Beck said. "I think we'll give Liverpool a very tough match. They'll have to play very well to get a good result off us here."

Beck and Ravanelli had gone five and seven games respectively without scoring before the Chester game but they were both on the mark on Saturday.

Ravanelli scored twice to take his season's tally to 18 and Beck claimed Boro's fifth goal after Craig Hignett and Neil Cox had both found the net. The rout was completed by Phil Stamp's strike 11 minutes from time.

Beck is adamant there will be no repeat of last month's 5-1 Premiership mauling at Anfield on Wednesday night. "When we played at Anfield we had a lot of injuries. This time the same won't happen," he vowed.

That kind of fighting talk will hearten Bryan Robson, relieved that Ravanelli and Beck had boosted their confidence with goals and impressed by Emerson's work-rate in midfield. Yet this will have been tempered by a lack of discipline which saw Hignett sent off in the second half for foul and abusive language.

Goals: Ravanelli (21) 1-0; Hignett (26) 2-0; Cox (44) 3-0; Ravanelli (50) 4-0; Beck (56) 5-0; Stamp (79) 6-0.

Middlesbrough: Walsh; Cox (Fleming, 46), Whyte, Vickers, Liddle, Emerson, Hignett, Mustoe (Stamp, 46), Beck (Fjortoft, 56), Blackmore, Ravanelli.

Chester City: Sinclair; Woods, Jenkins, Fisher, Whelan, Alsford, Shelton (W Brown, 85), Priest, Milner, Rimmer, Noteman (G Brown, 85). Substitute not used: Giles.

Referee: G P Barber (Warwick). Bookings: Middlesbrough: Liddle, Mustoe, Fjortoft; Chester: Whelan. Sending- off: Hignett.

Man of the match: Emerson. Attendance: 18,684.