Robson defiant as Boro slump to defeat

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The Independent Online

The under-fire Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, last night appealed to disgruntled fans for more time as the club slumped to their fourth straight defeat, losing 1-0 at Wimbledon in the Worthington Cup third round at Selhurst Park.

The under-fire Middlesbrough manager, Bryan Robson, last night appealed to disgruntled fans for more time as the club slumped to their fourth straight defeat, losing 1-0 at Wimbledon in the Worthington Cup third round at Selhurst Park.

John Hartson's 85th-minute penalty was enough to heap more misery on the embattled Robson, but the manager continued to strike a defiant tone. "I'm disappointed we went out of the Cup as, no disrespect to Wimbledon, it was to a First Division team," he said. "I thought we produced enough chances to win it.

"The chairman has given me full backing," Robson continued. "He realises the situation. The new players I've brought in have not been available and he feels it will be fine when we get them back. You can't spend all the money I have and have all the players on the treatment table, not on the pitch."

West Ham United sustained the upsurge in their fortunes as goals from Davor Suker and Paolo Di Canio saw them safely through to the next round at the expense of Blackburn Rovers at Upton Park.

The Irons' manager, Harry Redknapp, hailed a mature performance from his young defender Rio Ferdinand as pivotal to the victory. "He's different class," Redknapp said. "Rio is one of the best defenders I've ever seen and he never gave Blackburn a sniff. I've never seen him beaten one on one and his pace and vision was top drawer."

Suker also excelled and broke the deadlock with an instinctive volley in the 66th minute after Frédéric Kanoute had headed Di Canio's corner goalbound.

Di Canio secured the victory as he converted a rebound from his own retaken penalty in the 83rd minute. The Italian had been fouled by Darren Dunning to win the spot-kick.

In Scotland, Rangers ended their losing streak and progressed into the semi-finals of the CIS Cup courtesy of a 2-0 success over Dundee United.

Goals from Kenny Miller and the stand-in captain, Barry Ferguson, were sufficient to end a run of three successive League defeats for the Ibrox team.

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