It was an impressive result on Saturday for Middlesbrough as they beat hoodoo team Portsmouth 3-1 at Fratton Park to leap back into the play-offs.
Now the Boro have got two back-to-back home games against Yorkshire outfits Barnsley and fierce rivals Leeds United. We can match both of these teams for desire and fight but the thing lacking is goals at home, and even winning convincingly for that matter.
The last time Boro actually beat a team by two goals at home this season was against the now hugely impressive Birmingham City, way back in August.
In fact the only victories Boro do have at home this season, as well as the Brummies, are against Brighton, Watford, Hull City, Derby and Nottingham Forest. Nine victories away from home are the reason Boro are sat as high as fifth at the moment; if it weren’t for them who knows where the Reds could be languishing.
Of course, injuries haven’t been kind to the Boro this season with key men Barry Robson and Nicky Bailey missing from broken hand and knee ligament injuries respectively. Throw in the long term injury for Scott McDonald and you can see why Boro haven’t been firing on all cylinders.
The main reason for the disgruntled Riverside faithful is that the Reds haven’t been able to get it done against the teams closest to them.
The only victories Boro have managed at home against promotion rivals were against Brighton and Hull City in the golden period of December where Boro picked up 13 points from 15, the two points dropped of course was through conceding a late leveller against Peterborough.
The most disappointing defeats this season lay solely at the Riverside’s Ayresome Gates, as West Ham, Burnley and Reading all came away from the North East with 2-0 victories.
Here are some interesting stats for you:
– Marvin Emnes is Boro’s top goal scorer with 15 goals, but only 5 of those have come at The Riverside.
– Middlesbrough have scored only three goals once at home all season and only scored twice four times.
– Scott McDonald and Marvin Emnes have scored the most goals at the Riverside in the league with five, Barry Robson is next with three. Away from home collectively they’ve got nineteen.
This is grim reading for Boro fans, but Tony Mowbray tends to play counter-attacking football at other Championship grounds, whereas when teams travelled down to the Boro they sit and wait for Boro to break them down which is proving difficult for Mogga’s men.
Mowbray will be hoping the acquisition of Adam Hammill will help the Boro break down his former club Barnsley on Tuesday night.
Wins in the next two home games are imperative in the promotion battle as the Teessiders see their hardest test to date coming up with trips to Birmingham, West Ham, Brighton and the rearranged game at Ipswich Town in a manic March. The other fixture in the month is a home game against struggling Bristol City…what could possibly go wrong there?!
Hopefully in a months time I will be writing about maximum points home and away and a consolidated place in the play-offs…maybe even the automatic positions!
But this is Boro we’re on about here; we will probably finally crack it at home and gather maximum points at the Riverside for March…but then go on to lose all our away games. Typical Boro – we wouldn’t want it any other way!
Written by Scott Easby, We Are Going Up’s Middlesbrough blogger.
Scott tweets at @SEasby12