Football: Boro break away duck

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The Independent Online
Manchester City. .0

Middlesbrough. . .1

IF MANCHESTER CITY were after some redress from Middlesbrough - the team which knocked them out of both cups last season and beat them again last month - they certainly didn't show it. Unimaginative in midfield, somnambulent up front, they were a shadow of the side which had won 10 points from the last four games

Middlesbrough deserved their first away points of the season. After grappling with the early problems posed by Fitzroy Simpson, they began to threaten down the flanks. Yet they were fortunate to score four minutes before the break when young Gary Flitcroft, trying to clear, turned Jimmy Phillips' corner over the line.

With Niall Quinn suspended and David White obviously suffering from a Santander hangover, the home attack was comfortably contained by Alan Kernaghan and Derek Whyte. As expected, City threw men forward in the second half, but for all their possession, the better chances were created by the visitors who, with Tommy Wright and John Hendry buzzing, could well have scored twice. It needed a fine save from Tony Coton to beat away Kernaghan's shot and Wilkinson was inches away from touching in Robbie Mustoe's low cross.

It was not until quite late when White began to stir from his slumbers that City became more animated. But the Premier League leading scorer shot too high from a good position and soon after, when he did lose his marker, Whyte, the defender chased him doggedly and stopped him in his tracks.

Manchester City: T Coton; I Brightwell, T Phelan, P Reid, K Curle, M Vonk (A Mike, 66 min), D White, G Flitcroft, M Sheron, F Simpson, R Holden. Subs not used: A Hill, M Margetson (gk). Player-manager: P Reid.

Middlesbrough: B Horne; C Morris, J Phillips, A Kernaghan, D Whyte, A Peake, R Mustoe, W Falconer, P Wilkinson, T Wright, J Hendrie. Substitutes: B Slaven, J Gittens, I Ironside (gk).

Manager: L Lawrence.

Referee: R Lewis (Great Bookham).

Goal: Flitcroft og (0-1, 41 min).

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