Freedman has plenty of food for thought after McDonald's happy steal

Middlesbrough 2 Bolton Wanderers 1

the riverside

Having been handed the top three clubs in the Championship as his opening trio of games, Dougie Freedman, the new Bolton Wanderers manager, always knew his introduction to the job would be a testing one. So it proved as the Scot, from a seat in the main stand, saw his side surrender a lead to hosts enjoying their best run of form for almost a year. With the top two, Cardiff City and Leicester City, due at the Reebok Stadium, things don't promise to get easier.

Freedman has now suffered a second defeat here in the space of two months – Crystal Palace went down by the same scoreline in August.

However, things might have panned out differently had Lee Chung-Yong taken an arguably easier chance than the one with which he had just put the visitors ahead as half-time approached. A two-goal advantage could very easily have proved to be insurmountable.

As it was, all Bolton had to show for their efforts was the South Korean's chipped finish from 10 yards, the midfielder's first goal for 18 months, as the ball fell invitingly to him from Faris Haroun's mis-control, to show for their efforts.

It left them vulnerable to a stirring second-half comeback, one inspired by two predatory finishes from Scott McDonald, who has returned to the fold after settling his differences with Boro's manager Tony Mowbray.

The Australian, a substitute for the hamstrung Marvin Emnes, slid Middlesbrough level from close range midway hrough the second half when Bolton's goalkeeper Adam Bogdan diverted a shot from Ishmael Miller into his path.

The winner arrived with five minutes remaining, McDonald applying a deft glancing header to one of several inviting crosses from Emmanuel Ledesma, whose introduction at half-time proved significant.

"It's been a stop-start season for Scott," Mowbray said. "But the bottom line is that he's a very good player and the challenge for him now is to keep scoring."

Freedman, 38, took a back seat, albeit one of the more plush ones in the Riverside's directors' box, after his confirmation in the post 48 hours before kick-off left him little time to have any useful input for this fixture.

The way he was regularly scribbling in a notebook suggests he feels there are plenty of areas with room for improvement from a side sitting in the bottom half with only a single away victory all season after relegation in May.

Chris Eagles sent a 25-yard effort narrowly wide for Bolton, but it was Middlesbrough who carved out the clearer openings. Miller, an increasing influence as the contest wore on, was unlucky with a close-range header and an angled drive.

Bogdan also produced a fine save from Emnes after Faris Haroun dispossessed Tyrone Mears to release the Dutchman.

Lee scored against the run of play and should have made it two when he caught out Andre Bikey, but his shot sailed well over and Middlesbrough made the most of their escape to provide further evidence that they have every hope of emerging victorious from their imminent Capital One Cup trip to Sunderland.

Cardiff arrive in Lancashire on Saturday for Freedman's first home game in charge.

"Dougie's got a full week to train with the players and that gives him a chance to implement his ideas and do things his way," Jimmy Phillips, the caretaker manager, said.

"We had the chances to get the second goal to really put the pressure on Middlesbrough so it is disappointing.

"Dougie is inheriting a side that is playing with a lot of confidence, but the goals against column needs to be improved. We need to be stronger in defence."

Middlesbrough (4-4-2) Steele; Parnaby, Hines, Bikey, Friend; Reach (Ledesma, 46), Leadbitter, McEachran (Halliday, 87), Haroun; Emnes (McDonald, 23), Milller.

Bolton (4-4-1-1) Bogdan; Mears (Ngog, 88), Ricketts, Ream, Warnock; Lee, Spearing, M Davies (Pratley, 78), Petrov (Afobe, 65); Eagles; K Davies.

Referee Gary Sutton.

Man of the match McDonald (Middlesbrough).

Match rating 5/10.

Attendance 16,200.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment