Football: Boro take Pride without Gascoigne

Derby County 1 Burton 41 Middlesbrough 3 Deane 9, Ziege 20, Ricard pen 66 Half-time: 1-2 Attendance: 24,045

ANOTHER TURBULENT passage in the life of Paul Gascoigne ended with a twist in the story at Pride Park, when the 32-year-old midfielder failed to appear in Middlesbrough's side, sparking immediate speculation that he might have been too distressed to play after the jailing of his best friend on Friday. His absence was not to his team's detriment but leaves the England coach, Kevin Keegan, with even less time in which to judge whether he is ready to return in next month's European Championship qualifiers.

On the field, Middlesbrough quickly gained the upper hand and were always in control after goals by Brian Deane and their German international wing- back, Christian Ziege, within 20 minutes. Deon Burton raised Derby's recovery hopes but the visiting side, spurred by Paul Ince's midfield drive, gained more breathing space through Hamilton Ricard's penalty.

But what of Gascoigne? It had been a difficult week for him, what with the tabloids accusing him of a drinking binge (Tuesday, at Hugh Grant's movie premiere) and then his renowned soul-mate, Jimmy "Five Bellies" Gardner, sentenced to six months in prison (Friday, at Newcastle Crown Court).

But neither of these events was to blame for his not taking part, according to Bryan Robson, the Middlesbrough manager. Gascoigne had been treated for a "tight hamstring" last Wednesday and was now suffering from sciatica but was "always going to be left out anyway" as part of a planned rotation of his midfield players.

"Three games in a week is hard for players to cope with, especially at the start of the season," Robson said. "Paul Ince missed the first game and Andy Townsend has only started two. Gazza was fine mentally and could probably have got through the game but I was always planning to rest him."

Robson did not explain his failure to mention this plan ahead of yesterday's match and when asked whether Friday's court case had affected the player, he replied: "I'm not even going to talk about that. I don't know where this thing about Gazza's mental state has come from. He's fine and anyone who saw him against Wimbledon last week would have no doubts over his physical fitness."

Gazza or no Gazza, it mattered little to Middlesbrough against a Derby side who seemed more distracted than their opponents. The visitors drove forward at every opportunity and an unsettled Derby defence yielded goals to Deane after nine minutes and Ziege after 20.

The defending of the first was poor. O'Neill's corner from the left was headed towards his own goal by Burton, stabbed at by Ricard and finally blasted in by Deane from close range. Little could have been done to prevent the second, although Jacob Laursen's tug at Deane's shirt was unnecessary. The result was a free-kick from 25 yards, to the right of Mart Poom's goal, which Ziege curled into the top corner with the aplomb of a David Beckham or Gianfranco Zola.

Derby did wake up after that. Mark Schwarzer saved Boro once by beating out a fierce volley from Mikkel Beck but had no answer when Burton, making a first appearance of the season, drilled an angled shot into the roof of the net from 10 yards four minutes before half-time.

The second half saw new personnel and tactics from Derby, with an ineffective Francesco Baiano removed, along with Beck. The revisions forced the visitors to spend longer in their own half but all was undone after 66 minutes when the Derby defender Horacio Carbonari was ruled to have hauled down Ricard in the penalty area. The Colombian rose to his feet to take the kick and stroked the ball home as Poom dived in the wrong direction.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an I...

Recruitment Genius: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen