Middlesbrough were on the wrong end of a terrific comeback as Rochdale ran out 3-2 winners at Spotland last night. Boro fielded a young team, and First Team Coach Jonathan Woodgate heaped praise on the youngsters.
Middlesbrough led 2-0 thanks to goals from Ashley Fletcher and Harry Chapman, but a second-half comeback meant Boro’s young side lost the tie with the last kick of the game.
Calvin Andrew pulled one back for the hosts, before a fortuitous goal from Brad Inman drew the home side level. Midfielder Oliver Rathbone managed to scramble home from close range to ensure the win went the way of Rochdale.
Middlesbrough’s First Team Coach and former-Boro defender Jonathan Woodgate told BBC Tees that the team tried their best, and said that there was plenty of positives to take from the game. He picked out attacking midfielders Lewis Wing and Harry Chapman, who have both impressed during pre-season with Middlesbrough, and they could be knocking on the first-team door this coming campaign.
“I thought Lewis and Harry did well. They have both been with us during pre-season and they have knuckled down. Both have given everything they have got.
“Lewis is a machine, he can run all day but he can play as well. Fair play to what the U23 coaches have done for him because they have done a fantastic job coming in from Shildon since Ron Bone spotted him.
“Harry has done great too. That was his first 60 minutes since his hamstring injury last year after his loan at Blackburn. He will only get better as well and did really well.
“It’s up to the manager whether they get a chance. They are good players but they need to keep going and stake a claim and I am sure the chance will come if they do.”
There was also opportunities for defenders Enes Mehmutovic, who played at right-back, and teenager Nathan Wood, who started the game at centre-back.
“Enes was outstanding too, he is normally a centre-half, and Nathan has just turned 16. He is a good kid, not big time, he will keep his feet on the floor, he keeps asking questions because he wants to get better. He will be a good player.
“They have a long way to go, they are starting out like me when I was a youngster. As youngers they need a chance and I am a believer in giving youth a chance.”