Middlesbrough and Strikers played out an entertaining goalless draw at Anderson Park in the Junior section of this year’s competition. Middlesbrough will be the more disappointed of the two sides after dominating the game, especially after Strikers were reduced to 10 men in the second half.
Boro’ were on top right from the first whistle, with Sam Robinson and Joe Gibson combining well down the right flank to cause havoc in the Strikers penalty area. Jack Robinson then had an effort well blocked by the defence after a deflected cross located him in the penalty area.
Despite a stellar defensive effort, Strikers were creating very little going forward. They nearly had a chance from a Silva through ball, however the offside flag was raised.
They were given a chance to take the lead shortly after, when Bobby Jones brought down Silva in the box. Wood-Gordon failed to deal with a ball over the top, and keeper Jones made the decision to dive at the ball, only to make contact with the Strikers forward. Silva stepped up to take the spot kick, however he could only blaze it over the crossbar.
Gibson and Sam Robinson were both lively for Middlesbrough, using good skill to keep Strikers on their toes. Both players had put in teasing crosses into the penalty area, however there were no reds shirts to connect.
The teams came out for the second half and normal service was resumed. Boro were immediately on the attack, with Strikers’ keeper Juarez getting down well to keep Stapley’s deflected shot out.
The game turned when Strikers were reduced to 10 men. After a brief scramble in the penalty box, the referee pointed to the spot when he adjuded Seth Corbin to have handled the ball on the line. The defender was dismissed, but Juarez again saved the day with a stunning penalty save to deny Sam Robinson, getting down low to his left.
The save briefly pumped a new lease of life into the Strikers attack, with the impressive Terry Stephenson pulling off a last ditch tackle to keep the Americans at bay, before Pedro Reyes struggled to keep his composure when through on goal, only rolling the ball into Jones’ arms.
Harry Green forced some good defensive work form Strikers with a couple of decent efforts from range, forcing Juarez to make comfortable saves.
Report by Andy Gray (@AndyGrayNI)