Boro lifted as double by Viduka brings end to drought

Middlesbrough 3 - Manchester City 2

Kevin Keegan lives just up the road from the Riverside, but the Manchester City manager took the neighbourly approach a little too far as his side proved ideal doormats for two Middlesbrough players in desperate need of a goal.

Mark Viduka and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink have grown somewhat uncomfortable at the increasing regularity of manager Steve McClaren's endorsements of their goalscoring credentials in the face of lengthy droughts, in the Australian's case a three-month barren run which has proved by far the most barren of his time in this country.

However, all that was put right as Viduka claimed goals in each half, the prelude to Hasselbaink curling home a stunning 30-yard free-kick after 65 minutes to end a nine-game non- appearance on the scoresheet.

"It's been a long run without a goal," said Viduka of his 12-match purgatory. "It's difficult when things are not going for you, it can hit your confidence. But Jimmy and I are working well together, the manager has stuck with us and he's been very supportive and it was good to do the business."

Hasselbaink's impotence in front of goal has been a mere two months, and he revealed: "I'm happy that we both scored, it was very important for us to keep going through the drought, and even more importantly we gained another three points."

There was a telling domestic sub-plot to this tale of Antipodean-Dutch redemption, in the shape of Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing, whose latest display of artistry down the left finally persuaded the normally reticent McClaren to concede to the growing clamour for the midfielder's inclusion in the full England squad.

McClaren said: "If he keeps playing like that, Sven Goran Eriksson's got to pick him, because he was tremendous. He was a great outlet for us."

That glowing endorsement was backed Keegan, who resides in the millionaires' estate of Wynyard, six miles from the Riverside: "I don't think either side performed, but Viduka was the difference along with the young lad Downing, who everyone is tipping for England.

"From what I've seen here, the sooner they get him in there, the better. He looks to be the answer to me and he's learning very quickly."

Viduka pounced nine minutes into either half, deftly chipping the opener over David James after being teed up by a powerful Downing burst, before propelling his seventh goal of the season into the top corner via the outside of his right boot following a clinical exchange of passes with his forward partner. Robbie Fowler restored parity six minutes before the break, taking advantage of sloppy marking to fire a crisp shot into the roof of the net as Middlesbrough failed to deal with a route one punt by Sylvain Distin.

Bradley Wright-Phillips upstaged brother Shaun by scoring his first Premiership goal within five minutes of his introduction, wrong-footing goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer with a neat close-range finish which had Keegan drawing inevitable comparisons with the teenager's step-father, Ian Wright. It set up a needlessly nervy end to a first win in three games for the hosts, who closed to within two points of fourth placed Manchester United. McClaren added: "It was a bit nervous at the end, and I didn't need that. We shouldn't have been hanging on and we nearly paid for it."

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer; McMahon, Southgate, Cooper, Reiziger; Parlour, Zenden, Nemeth (Doriva, 46), Downing; Hasselbaink (Bates, 90), Viduka. Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Job, Davies.

Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Mills, Distin, Dunne, Jordan; S Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski (Flood, 76); Fowler, Macken (B Wright-Phillips, 76). Substitutes not used: Waterrus (gk), Sommeil, Onuoha.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Proust as Captain Laure Berthaud in 'Spiral'
tvReview: Gritty, engaging and well-acted - it’s a wonder France’s biggest TV export isn’t broadcast on a more mainstream channel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Carmichael in still from Madam Bovary trailer
film
News
i100
Sport
Serena Williams holds the Australian Open title
sportAustralia Open 2015 final report
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.

Day In a Page

Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing