Football: Gascoigne adds fizz to bubbling Boro

Middlesbrough 1 Deane 40 West Ham United 0 Half-time:1-0 Attendance: 34,623

MIDDLESBROUGH, THE league draw's specialists who have developed an uncanny knack of snatching one point when all three seemed in the bag, tried their hardest to give two more away yesterday but were saved by the underside of the bar.

This was West Ham's third visit to the Riverside and they must have approached it with some trepidation, having leaked four in both previous appearances and being sunk by a similar score at Leeds the week before. And within the first 20 minutes Middlesbrough could have racked up their regulation four - and perhaps even more. That would have thwarted West Ham's reshuffle and rejuvenation, and prevented the biggest noise in the second half being the groan of anxiety that greeted the fourth official's board when it showed three minutes of injury time in which to hold on.

In the first half, though, Boro had been brilliant and Paul Gascoigne shone. He might have dried out but his inspiration has not dried up. His passing, be it a flick with the outside of his boot or a dynamic drive on the volley, was superb. And in the 15th minute when he and Andy Townsend combined to capture Stan Lazaridis in possession he was quickest to his feet and tried a cheeky chip that cleared both keeper and bar.

The league's leading scorer, Hamilton Ricard, had been rampaging at the Hammers from the 33rd second when he was unceremoniously hauled down by Steve Lomas. Towns-end swiftly swung in the kick and somehow the sliding Brian Deane failed to get the necessary touch.

In one stunning three-minute spell Middlesbrough could have scored three. Ricard played Deane in but Steve Potts nicked the ball away; Ricard then overhead-kicked a spectacular cross which Steve Vickers placed precisely on the post, and finally Gascoigne made a mockery of Ian Wright on the half-way line, sent Dean Gordon free down the left but his perfect cross was headed inexplicably wide by Deane. Fortunately, though, Deane atoned for his profligacy in the 40th minute when he flew through a forest of players to convert Townsend's corner.

But there was still unease at the Riverside at half-time. Wright had had two dangerous breakaway moments, one which Mark Schwarzer had advanced well to block and another that had been intelligently tidied up by Vickers. But Middlesbrough had drawn six of their previous nine league games and in their last two had surrendered leads to Newcastle and Arsenal in the dying minutes, so the doubts remained.

As the second half started, Middlesbrough failed to maintain their mayhem. For West Ham, John Moncur replaced Marc Keller. Frank Lampard pushed further forward and Trevor Sinclair went wider. In the 55th minute Lampard's run earned their first corner. Six minutes later John Hartson's shot was deflected narrowly wide. In the 71st minute Lampard found Wright free on the edge of the area but the veteran marksman disappointingly dribbled his shot at Schwarzer.

Closer and closer came the Hammers until in the 76th minute Hartson, distressingly unmarked, chested down Lampard's corner and slammed his shot against the bar. "Normally they manage to squirm in from there," complained Harry Redknapp.

Bryan Robson withdrew Ricard and sent on Phil Stamp to batten down the hatches. Gascoigne and Townsend retreated to the corners in a bid to fritter away precious seconds, and in the 87th minute Mikkel Beck's header was splendidly touched over by Shaka Hislop.

No surprise, then, the roar when the referee eventually gave the Riverside some relief with his final whistle.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL DBA (2005/2008/2012, projects, storage requirements)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...

Copywriter - Corporate clients - Wimbledon

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Copywriter - London As a Copywrite...

Horticulture Lecturer / Tutor / Assessor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...

Retail Lecturer / Assessor / Tutor - Derbyshire

£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried