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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own