Football: Queudrue brings Boro's long hangover to an end
Middlesbrough 1 Queudrue 35 Blackburn Rovers 0 Half-time: 1- 0 Attendance: 30,564
Sunday 06 February 2005
It was enough to regain sixth place in the table, which had been lost to Bolton's lunchtime takeover, and to revive their European ambitions which had become frustrated by their failure to take more than two points from the 15 previously available to them this year.
Yes, from this performance, if they are the sixth-best team in the country, English football is in as big trouble as Blackburn were nudged perilously near the precipice by their third pointless and goalless game in succession.
Middlesbrough's absentee list may be almost as long as their team sheet - Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink the latest victim of flu - and now there's Parlour's suspension to serve, but they never found any rhythm, and could have been robbed of their victory when Paul Dickov collapsed under Michael Reiziger's challenge.
"The lad's bundled into the back of Paul, and it's in the area,'' said the Blackburn manager, Mark Hughes, "but the calls that need to be made aren't going for us at the moment.''
The Middlesbrough manager, Steve McClaren, was nonplussed. "Sometimes it doesn't matter how you win it, the result is all important. But we deserved it. The attitude of the players was magnificent, especially as we ended with five academy players on the pitch. We said to the players, make sure you celebrate it, but then we looked around and were wondering who we would play in midfield next week against Bolton.''
The first half hour of the game was so poor that the only noteworthy moment was Parlour's booking for taking crude retribution on Robbie Savage, who had just cleanly, if forcibly, won the ball from Bolo Zenden.
The goal came in the 35th minute, just after Stewart Downing had scraped the outside of the post. Downing, awaiting his England call-up, waited for his overlapping full-back Franck Queudrue, who then turned inside Aaron Mokoena and arrowed a shot across Brad Friedel. It was the Frenchman's third goal in a fortnight and Downing's most telling moment in a match where he could not rise above the scrappiness.
Of Downing's England call-up, his manager said: "I thought in October, November time, it was too early for him because he had not done it consistently enough, but if he gets it he has deserved it.''
The second half was no more inspiring than the first. Blackburn attacked - not a thing of beauty, and only fairly effective. Mark Schwarzer smartly tipped over Dickov's header in the 54th minute, and Gareth Southgate was ruffled enough to fluff two consecutive clearances.
Emboldened, Hughes withdrew Mokoena in favour of a second forward, the 20-year-old Jemal Johnson, but on the break it was Middlesbrough who had all the clear chances.
However, a combination of air shots and Friedel's bulk intimidating Middlesbrough's strikers ensured that the hosts did not increase their lead. And so, following Parlour's sending-off, the game ended in an extraordinarily frantic senselessness.
Latest in Sport
Ben Stokes and the strangest injuries in sport
Michael Schumacher ski accident: Sebastian Vettel pays tribute to F1 legend with special helmet for Australian Grand Prix
Six Nations 2014: How can England, Ireland and France win the title?
Manchester United v Liverpool: How will rivals handle European role reversal?
Nicholas Anelka sacked by West Bromwich Albion: Parting is such tweet sorrow for French striker
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Best films on Netflix: 32 movies that will put an end to your scrolling
- 3 Istanbul protesters take 'Ellen selfie' from the back of a police van
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...