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?
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: Legal Secretary

£17000 - £17800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to work ...

Recruitment Genius: Ad Ops Manager - Up to £55K + great benefits

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a digital speci...

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Recruitment Genius: Implementation Consultant

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global leading software co...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent