Football: Ravanelli arousing irritation

Middlesbrough 2 Charlton Athletic 1

As Bryan Robson begins the week trying to lure David Platt to the Riverside, the want-aways from the club received another push towards the exit - despite this fortuitous victory.

After spending the close season hawking his talents around Europe, Fabrizio Ravanelli was welcomed back with a physical punch-up involving his team- mates on Thursday and a cold chorus of boos from his supporters on Saturday.

Although he wore their red shirt, his heart clearly was not in it. It was not until five minutes after the break that he roused himself to first berate his team-mates for failing to read his delicate flick and then abuse a linesman who had the audacity to flag him offside.

Ravanelli's only other contributions were to miss an open goal from three yards - substitute Phil Stamp getting the blame for providing an inch- perfect rather than a millimetre-magnificent cross - and to score the last-minute winner. That the White Feather has not lost his golden touch is his only escape route.

Emerson, though, does not even have that. He started last season as the most complete midfielder in English football. Awesome strength, surging acceleration, delicate touch. All have deserted him now as he chases the shadows of the ordinary talents and ordinary names of the First Division - the Jones boys Keith and Steve, and John Robinson and Steve Brown gave him the run-around on Saturday.

Which leaves Paul Merson. Bought, in his own words, to play either up front or right midfield, he started on the left and struggled to connect with Mikkel Beck. The Dane was out of his depth in the Premiership and appeared only to tread water in the First Division. Whenever Merson found him, he dallied until the danger had gone. Only when he had departed, substituted in the 73rd minute, did Merson push forward and Middlesbrough overwhelm Charlton's ninth-minute lead.

Robson reckoned Saturday was a kick up the backside for his showboaters. "If they thought they were going to play nice, pretty football they got their answer in the first 45 minutes," he said. For Charlton, prompted by Clive Mendonca's wiles, could have been three ahead by the break.

While Robson tempts Platt with "a financial package" and pursues Oldham's left-back Carl Serrant, he will also have noticed Richard Rufus, who skilfully contained Ravanelli and Merson.

"I see all these big-name transfers and foreign signings but English talent like Richard should get recognition," his manager, Alan Curbishley, said. "He was a match for anyone. Outstanding. Not that I'm trying to sell him... "

Goals: S Jones (9) 0-1; Festa (80) 1-1; Ravanelli (90) 2-1.

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Roberts; Fleming, Vickers, Festa, Kinder; Blackmore (Hignett, 30), Mustoe, Emerson, Merson; Beck (Stamp, 72), Ravanelli. Substitute not used: Liddle.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Petterson; Brown, Rufus, Balmer, Barness; K Jones (Nicholls, 73), Newton, Kinsella, Robinson; Mendonca, S Jones (Bright, 75). Substitute not used: Kerslake.

Referee: T Leake (Darwen).

Bookings: Middlesbrough Emerson. Charlton S Jones, Brown.

Man of the match: Rufus.

Attendance: 29,414.

FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer Trustee opportunities now available at The Society for Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Volunteer your expertise as Tr...

Early Years Educator

£68 - £73 per day + Competitive rates of pay based on experience: Randstad Edu...

Nursery Nurse

£69 - £73 per day + Competitive London rates of pay: Randstad Education Group:...

Primary KS1 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam