• Dana Malt

A Real Kick In The… Face?

Ouch. That stung.

Just as Boro were looking to kick-start a run after a spirit soaring victory over Nottingham Forest, Jarrad Branthwaite said ‘here’s my stud, enjoy’.

Now before I get into a prolonged shitpost rant about that incident, I will say this: Boro were poor. Slow, sluggish, wasteful, off the pace. We didn’t deserve to win, but I don’t think we deserved to lose.

I’m usually not one to hone in on an incident like we saw today, because I’m usually of the belief that you should never let a refereeing decision decide the game for you.

But that was farcical.

A outstretched high boot to the face of a jumping Dael Fry, which was dangerous and reckless. Did Branthwaite mean it? No. Does that really matter? In this case, no.

Here’s what the rules state:

“A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.”

Here’s a screengrab of the incident:

By the letter of the law, it should’ve been a sending off and a penalty - something that would have changed the entire complexion of the game.

It’s frustrating. Let’s be honest, Neil Warnock is never usually happy with the performance of an official but he was seething today, and you can see why.

To look at the game as a whole, it felt like a draw would’ve been the right result.

Neither side were getting their front players on the ball enough, the link-up players were fading in and out, but both defences seemed to have the key to the door and weren’t letting it go.

That was until Boro switched the lights off completely - on themselves.

A Rovers attack that should’ve been dealt with easily by a usually competent defence turned into a right old mess.

Wood was drawn out to Armstrong, which is fine if there’s someone to cover the space left behind, but as McNair went to help Bola stop the cross Spence stopped tracking Rothwell and Howson.exe stopped responding altogether, leaving a FIFA-esque cutback for the Blackburn number 8 to score.

In fairness, he probably could have stitched Fry’s eye back on with the amount of time he had in the box.

It was very poor from Boro, and very uncharacteristic considering the standards they’ve set themselves this season.

A lot of people are blaming Spence, and he has a big part to play in that goal, but there’s so much wrong with it that I think it’d be unfair to throw the blame solely at one player.

It’s a shame too, because it looked like Boro had upped the tempo at the start of the second half, but they faded away badly, and nothing was falling for us.

Players were slipping, getting in the way of each other, and at one point Bola accidentally intercepted his own teammates’ pass. It was one of those days.

To rub salt in the wounds, Boro lost not only Dael Fry to injury, but Marcus Tavernier as well, who was substituted with a groin strain.

In my last post I mentioned that Taverner is ‘the heartbeat of Boro’, such is his influence on this team. Hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he can be back soon.

All in all, a frustrating affair, and as it’s my sister’s birthday today I’m going to over-indulge in cake to celebrate and to eat my feelings away.

Up The Boro.

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