Ultimate test of Robson's resolve

Middlesbrough 0 Everton 2

For the manager of a side who have taken only one point out of their last 10 games, Bryan Robson was remarkably composed after Middlesbrough's latest defeat, at home to Everton.

"The mood in the dressing- room is very upbeat," he said. "We've just about ended our run of injuries and suspensions and next week I'll be able to field virtually a full strength team at West Ham. There will be no more excuses after next Saturday."

Maybe Robson was whistling in the dark, but up stepped his captain, Derek Whyte, to reinforce the message. "We had five key players missing today, but we kept our passing game going, particularly in the second half. We played the game as it is meant to be played, not the long ball game. We are starting to get it right."

Those of us who had watched Middlesbrough's pretty passing getting them nowhere against resolute opposition wondered if we had been watching the same game. It was not until Robson sent on his latest Brazilian import, Branco, with about 10 minutes remaining that the Everton defence looked remotely worried.

They had been defending a two-goal lead comfortably for most of the second half until Branco let go a 30-yard drive that flashed narrowly past the post.

Prior to that, no one in the Middlesbrough side seemed to have a clue about how to find the net. The best chance of the half fell to Jan-Age Fjortoft, who clipped the bar from seven yards with only the keeper to beat.

Everton snatched the lead through Tony Grant, who scored from a narrow angle after Gary Walsh had pushed out Graham Stuart's header via the crossbar.

On the stroke of half-time, Andrei Kanchelskis applied the killer punch. He seized on a headed clearance from Dave Watson and set off pursued by three Middlesbrough defenders. Curtis Fleming was the man who clipped the flying winger's heels in the box. Andy Hinchcliffe crisply converted the penalty.

Goals: Grant (28) 0-1; Hinchcliffe (pen, 45) 0-2.

Middlesbrough (4-3-3): Walsh; Cox, Barron, Whyte, Fleming; Kavanagh (Branco, 79), Mustoe, Moore; Hignett (Hendrie, 79), Fjortoft, Barmby. Substitute not used: Blackmore.

Everton (4-3-3): Southall; O'Connor, Watson, Unsworth, Hinchcliffe; Grant, Parkinson, Ebbrell; Kanchelskis, Ferguson, Stuart. Substitutes not used: Limpar, Amokachi, Kearton (gk).

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).

Booked: Everton: Unsworth, Parkinson, O'Connor.

Man of the match: Unsworth.

Attendance: 29,807.

Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Worldwide ticket sales for The Lion King musical surpassed $6.2bn ($3.8bn) this summer
tvMusical is biggest grossing show or film in history
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
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

Business Analyst/ Project Manager - Financial Services

£60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client in the Financial...

Cover Supervisors needed in Cheshire & Shropshire

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunities for Cover Supervisor...

Welsh Medium Teacher

£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...

Primary Tutors needed in Chester

Negotiable: Randstad Education Chester: Primary Tutoring in Cheshire West &amp...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
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